It was a close encounter and a veritable whale of a time for whale watchers in the Bay of Fundy when an adult humpback performed some unexpected, real-life acrobatics. The bay off Nova Scotia, Canada, played host to the boat tour and its captivated audience; the footage and photos that have been shared with the world are almost too good to be true.
Sandy Seliga of Toronto caught the best of the whale’s extraordinary, airborne backflipping on film. Seliga had had whale watching on her bucket list for some time, and she’d hoped to see some whales during this Canadian vacation. Seliga got even more than she’d bargained for! “Moments like the one captured in this video are what motivates us to continue the marine conservation work we do,” said the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, with whom Sandy shared the video.
The CCNB, in turn, proudly shared the video on YouTube. The astounding footage quickly went viral with more than 70,000 views and nearly 2,000 shares in fewer than 24 hours.
The CCNB had previously voiced their concerns that TransCanada’s proposed Energy East Pipeline could make the region’s ocean waters “a lot busier and riskier for whales,” so Seliga’s footage could not have come at a better time for ardent supporters of marine conservation. “We are so thrilled to see the Bay of Fundy and its magnificent whales get this incredible exposure,” the organization added.
Today we were sent this video of a magnificent Humpback whale breaching the surface of the Bay of Fundy on Friday. Sandy…
Sandy’s video wasn’t the only slice of fame that the incredible backflipping whale won that day; the adult humpback’s breach was also captured by Penny Graham, who ran the same Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tour out of Brier Island that Seliga was a part of. Graham posted her extraordinary images on Facebook.
Graham had been battling thick fog on tours prior to this one. “Fog is one of our natural wonders down here,” she shared, “it just keeps us wondering what it’s going to do.” During foggy spells, Graham preferences cutting the engine on the boat so that her whale-watching guests can listen for the whales coming up to breathe; in the absence of clear vision, audible clues adopt a far more significant role in whale watching.
On this fortuitous occasion, however, Graham’s group found a mother humpback whale and her calf. After the group watched in awe for some time, the boat turned around to leave but was stopped in its tracks by a loud noise ahead of the vessel. “Now, what a show that whale was putting on,” Graham recalled, after the tour group cut the boat’s engines. “It was just non stop!” Graham shared an estimate on Facebook; the whale breached about 30 times. “I’m not a scientist, but I honestly believe that whale was having just as good of a time as we were,” she added, happily.
“It’s a moment I’ll never forget,” Graham later told the CBC. “It’s not that we haven’t seen breaching before, but it was the angle. That whale was heading toward us, and it was in the air upside down.” In Graham’s photos, the epic flip is artistically framed by a shower of sea spray and a veil of that ubiquitous Canadian fog. “I started whale watching in 1984 with my husband Roy when he was alive,” Graham continued, “and never before have I captured a whale in that position.”
“I do not ever get tired of this,” Graham concluded. “You have to expect the unexpected.”