Amazing Photo of a Humpback Whale Breaching a Boat Length Away

While working as a fishing guide in Tofino, British Columbia, Matthew Thornton captured this wild photograph of a humpback whale calf leaping out of the water an extremely short distance away (estimated at 10-30 feet). In his submission to the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, Thornton writes,

On our way in from fishing for halibut we noticed a few humpback whales playing in the distance and we stopped part way in to watch. It was quite an experience to see something completely airborne so close to the boat. The lucky thing was I got the photo I submitted. A fellow boat also got a picture of the whale close to mid air and it was also all caught on video. Was an amazing day.

Here’s the video he’s referring to — it’s just as amazing as the photograph.

At least it was a friendly whale calf and not a great white shark:

If either of these things happened to us, we’d probably need to change our pants!

Image credit: Photograph by Matthew Thornton

  • Dave Persaud

    Thats pretty damn cool..

  • Mike Milne


  • gabe sturdevant

    Look mom, I can fly.

  • Sandra Walker

    The Great White has to eat, too, and as heart wrenching as these videos are, the bottom line is the the shark’s treatment of its “meat” is not worse than ours.

  • Piercing

    Amazig photograph, I never thought a whale could do that!

  • mike penney

    It’s a bird

  • Justin

    Looks to me like there’s a cord tied to the bird and the seal in both cases….

  • Donna Carol

    It’s a baby whale, and wanted to play with the humans.