Humpback whale breaches are a fairly common sight in areas where the mammals are feeding and socializing.
Images showing breaching humpbacks are so commonplace that you can find them on just about every website or social media page devoted to whales and other marine mammals.
But a double breach, or a perfectly synchronized breach, is a rare sight and extremely difficult to capture with a camera, because it’s such an unpredictable event.
That’s why Kate Cummings, who on Thursday captured the image atop this post, said she was “still full of adrenaline” hours after her expedition with Blue Ocean Whale Watch out of Monterey Bay.
Cummings, who is co-owner and naturalist for Blue Ocean Whale Watch, said she snapped the photo a half-mile from the entrance of Moss Landing Harbor.
“One of these two whales had swum over to our boat 15 minutes earlier and breached right off the bow, then it swam off and met up with another whale and both swam over to the boat together and dove down,” Cummings said. “Thirty seconds later they were both flying out of the water! I'm happy to know I can scream and take a photo at the same time!”
Cummings gave credit to Capt. Jim Davis and explained why via Facebook message: "Funniest part about it is I was looking at my camera to see if I caught the first breach when Jim said to me, "Stop looking at your photos, dumb dumb, the whales are going to breach!' I probably wouldn't have gotten the photo if Jim hadn't said that!"
The image was posted on the Blue Ocean Whale Watch Facebook page with this description:
"Good thing there's no audio attached to this photo because I was screaming my lungs out when it happened!
"Most definitely the most beautifully synchronized double breach we've ever seen... and only 100 feet from the boat. Any closer and they wouldn't have fit in the frame!"
We probably can expect the image to replace the single-breaching humpback image currently on the cover of the company Facebook page.