By Alexander Greensmith
THIS MAN was stunned when he received a high five from a thirty-ton whale.
Remarkable footage showed one lucky guy hi-fiveing a 40-foot-long whale as a crowd of whale-watchers gasped with excitement.
The footage is courtesy of Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel manager, Toni Colombo, from Maui, Hawaii, USA. An iPhone was used to shoot the clip which has over 40,000 views on Instagram. Setting off from Lahaina Harbor, Hawaii, USA, the North Pacific humpback whale was spotted two miles from shore, where it hung out for half-an-hour just four-feet away. When a whale swims within a close distance to a boat, it is colloquially reffered to as ‘whale mugging’.
“On this day, dozens were slapping their tails and spouting. No sooner had Captain Joel Kenney turned off our engines when this curious humpback began making its way slowly and gracefully towards us,” said Toni.
“The humpback whale lifted its pec fin and started showing off for us, seemingly aiming to high-five a guest who was surprised at the graceful manoeuvre, but the guests knew not to touch the whale. We were all so amazed by this encounter and once again the gentleness and body awareness of these giant creatures.
“Each year over ten thousand humpbacks move to the shallow and warm waters of the Maui Nui Basin, making it prime for awesome aerial performances such as these. They migrate to mate and give birth before returning to Alaska later in the year.
“This incredible experience reminds us how alive the ocean is, and how everything we do impacts it and the creatures that live there. Any chance you have to reduce single-use plastics, recycle, and use reef-safe sun cream, please take the time to do it. These big guys need all the help they can get.”
Humpback whales are protected in Hawaii and all federal protection laws were adhered to during this filming. Ultimate Whale Watch did not approach this whale closer than 300 feet; this whale approached the vessel by its own free will, in which case the vessel is required to refrain from moving to protect the whale.