Among the largest animals on Earth, humpback whales are a spectacular wonder to behold. Weighing as much as 40 metric tons and growing up to 56 feet in length, these mammoths of the sea might appear intimidating but they actually couldn’t be friendlier.
Gentle and non-aggressive by nature, humpbacks are a popular target for both scuba divers and whale-watching boat tours. Those on these tours are warned beforehand, however, that the massive marine mammals are so friendly and curious that they won’t avoid the boat or its passengers. Instead, they’re known to swim right up to the strange metallic sea creature for a closer look.
One such tour, Monterey Bay Whale Watch, provides an even more unique experience, as they encourage “well-behaved dogs” to join them on their trips. Furry passengers brought on board get to spend the day with Skipper, the boat owner’s peppy Australian shepherd.
Skipper is only one year old but is already a true sea voyager. He’s perfectly comfortable on the gently rocking boat and if and when he spots a whale, he treats the encounter with due reverence. On one of his most recent adventures, Skipper got closer to a humpback whale than ever before, the face-to-face interaction quickly going viral on Facebook.
Whale Watch Tour Rep Recounts Adorable Encounter
As a regular passenger on board the tour boat, Skipper is no stranger to whales and dolphins. The close encounter with the humpback, however, was an entirely new experience for the polite pup. He first spotted the whale several yards away from the boat, running to get a better look when a crewman pointed out the approaching humpback.
The giant cetacean then swam inches from the intrigued Australian shepherd, but Skipper never lost his composure. Rather than barking at or backing from the shockingly large animal, Skipper simply watched in awe as water and air shot from its blowhole.
“It is very rare that whales come that close to the boat. But it happens occasionally,” a spokesperson for Monterey Bay Whale Watch based in Monterey, California, told Newsweek. “The boat was in neutral and the whales chose to approach us.”
According to the spokesperson, humpbacks are never aggressive toward the tour boat. However, their behavior does vary, just like any other animal. “Sometimes we will see competition groups between male humpback whales,” they said. “Sometimes this friendly behavior, and sometimes a lot of feeding so they can have full stomachs traveling back.”
But no matter what mood the whales are in that day, Skipper always has a fantastic making new memories with his owner and his titanic ocean friends.
“Skipper is mostly there to just be a cute dog and make the passengers smile,” the spokesperson said. “Skipper is a young, curious, and energetic pup. He loves people and is always interested in the whales or dolphins. Though this is the first time he has really gotten up close and personal with a whale!”