Going whale watching can be a gamble of sorts. You’re never guaranteed a sighting, and sometimes all you get is a little peek of a dorsal fin, a little flick of a tail, or perhaps a small puff from a blowhole.
Or, you’re this guy and get three stunning humpback whales all breaching at once.
On August 17, Edmond Giroux boarded a whale watching expedition with Ocean Explorations Zodiac Whale Cruises, which typically takes passengers off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Though, this isn’t your typical pleasure boat ride.
As the company’s site describes, each tour is overseen by tour director Tom Goodwin, a biologist who is currently working toward his graduate studies in environmental education. The company has become a large part of his studies and often participates in research projects, and invites guests to participate as well.
With that in mind, the company warns its tours are not for the “faint of heart,” as each excursion takes place in a large rigid-hull inflatable zodiac — similar to ones used by marine biologists — to bring people closer than ever to the whales.
In an extended clip shared on Ocean Explorations’ Facebook page, you can hear Goodwin expertly predict just when and where the triple breach will take place.
As to why these magnificent creatures display this breaching behavior in the first place, a 2017 study by University of Queensland marine biologist Ailbhe Kavanagh theorized that breaching and slapping are a part of the whale’s long-distance and close-range communication.
“Even though these whales can produce calls that travel great distances, if there’s a lot of noise, it might be easy to drown out,” Chris Parsons, a cetacean biologist at George Mason University in Virginia, not associated with this research, told Hakai Magazine. “Leaping up in the air and splashing down is equivalent to the really keen kid in a classroom jumping up and down waving his arms.”
Next time you’re out for a tour hopefully the whales need to make a long distance call too.