Neil Young and Dennis Hopper
for a typical forty ton humpback to breach the ocean’s surface — and breach is taken to mean at least 40 percent of its body is out of the water — it needs to reach speeds of 29 km/h. on rare occasions, the whale will completely launch out of the water; rarer still is the photographer who manages to capture it.
reasons for the behaviour are debated and varied, and range from mere pleasure, to courtship, to shedding the skin of parasites. calves (like in the sixth photo) can often be seen breaching for long periods of time, and it’s not uncommon for an adult to make multiple breaches; the most recorded is 130 jumps in 90 minutes.
photos by (click pic) steven benjamin off the coast of port st. johns, south africa; flip nicklen in alaska and british columbia; tom soucek in fredrick sound, alaska; jon cornforth in alaska; jean waite off hawaii’s na pali coast; masa ushioda in hawaii; matthew thorton in tofino, bc; and christine callaghan in newfoundland’s bay of fundy (see also: previous breaching post)