Whale watching photos taken near Santa Barbara part 2

Three humpbacks, one shot

Part two (don’t worry there will only be three parts) of amazing whale sighting on the ACS Whale Watching trip features the humpback whales that gave us quite a show. This trip was the first time I’ve seen synchronized swimming or fluking. Four humpback whales swam very closely together, they took time hanging at the surface close to the boat and then each whale dove for a deeper dive one after the other fluking every time. I’ve never seen so many flukes (whale tails) in one day because the same group did this over and over. Simply breathtaking. There was a general consensus on the boat that they should enter the summer Olympics. (The photo on the above left captures three of those humpack whales, you can see how close together they were.)

Humpback whale head

Since it was humpback heaven, I took some creative liberties and tried to get some extreme close-up shots, most of these photos did not turn out. However, I like the one to the right, a humpback whale gliding through the water. All you can see is part of the head and back, but the blow hole really stands out. The dark navy blue of the humpback whale exudes power, a perfect contrast to the cool ocean surface.

And below are two of my favorite humpback flukes from the trip. One is pretty standard, but the other is crazy cool. Look closely and you’ll be able to see there’s a big chomp in the flukes. This humpback whale most likely encountered a killer whale at some point during its life and lived to tell the tale or display the tale on its tail. It’s like an ocean warrior badge of honor, evidence of crossing paths with the ocean’s top predator and living to fight another day and sharing the story along the way. (Do I know for sure this missing piece was caused by a killer whale? No, but killer whales do prey upon baleen whale calves, most commonly gray whales and sometimes humpbacks too. But the only way to know for sure is to ask the whale…)

Humpback whale tail with bite


Humpback whale flukes


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