Frequent whale watchers know that spotting a whale can be a rare occurrence — you can’t control where the whales will go or what they’ll do, you just have to hope for the best.
If Edmond Giroux crossed his fingers to see some whales during a whale-watching expedition with Ocean Explorations Zodiac Whale Cruises off the coast of Nova Scotia on August 17th, his prayers sure got answered. He did not see one, but three humpback whales breaching in unison.
But this isn’t your ordinary whale-watch cruise. The company warns that its tours are not for the faint of heart, as each voyage takes place in a large rigid-hull inflatable zodiac — the same boat used by marine biologists to bring them as close as possible to the whales. Tour director Tom Goodwin, a biologist currently working toward his graduate studies, can be heard predicting the triple breach in this video on Ocean Explorations’ Facebook page.
Marine biologists have theorized that this unique breaching behavior is part of the whales’ long-distance and close-range communication. Chris Parsons, a cetacean biologist at George Mason University, told Hakai Magazine that sometimes, whale calls by themselves aren’t an effective means of communication, especially if there’s a lot of other noise. He said, “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.”
If getting attention was the whales’ goal here, they certainly succeeded.