Video: Humpback High-Fives Shocked Whale Watcher

by Chris Haney
video-humpback-high-fives-shocked-whale-watcher

A lucky man on a whale-watching tour in Hawaii got his money’s worth in an up close and personal encounter in February. The man and the other whale-watchers were left stunned when he received a high-five from a thirty-ton humpback whale.

The remarkable video was taken two miles off Lahaina Harbor, Hawaii, earlier this year. Yet the footage has just now been shared online. It shows the North Pacific humpback’s enormous pectoral fin rising out of the water next to the boat. You can hear how excited the whale-watchers are in the video.

The 40 foot-long sea creature swam close to the boat for around half and hour, said whale-watch manager Toni Colombo, who filmed the video.  

The footage shows the fin moving closer, as several people on the boat raise their hands. The humpback appears to high-five one lucky man sitting at the front of the boat.

More Details of the Humpback Whale Encounter

“On this day, dozens (of whales) were slapping their tails and spouting,” said Toni, manager of Ultimate Whale Watch and Snorkel. “No sooner had Captain Joel Kenney turned off our engines when this curious humpback began making its way slowly and gracefully towards us.”

When a whale swims closely to a boat, it is often referred to as “whale mugging.”

“The humpback lifted its pec fin and started showing off for us,” Toni continued. “Seemingly aiming to high-five a guest who was surprised at the graceful maneuver.”

“We were all so amazed by this encounter and the gentleness and body awareness of these giant creatures,” added Toni. “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. 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 and recycle, 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 the huge fish within 300 feet. The humpback approached the vessel by its own free will. Therefore the boat is required to refrain from moving to protect the gentle creatures.

The short video has racked up more than 40,000 views on Instagram.

[H/T Daily Mail

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