Whale breach

I don’t know who took this video or how they got it, but it’s amazing, with the camera put in just the right place at the right time:

Now why do whales do this? (I think this is a humpback.) The best hypothesis to date, at least for this species, is communication; read about it here.


  1. Posted October 14, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink


  2. Blue
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    W H O O O O A !

    One so would not view anywhere upon my particular longest larboard’s landscape
    any such deal as this fantastic one !

    In the right place @ the right time is … …
    wull, starboa, er, quite r i g h t !


    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      “One so would not view anywhere upon my particular longest larboard’s landscape
      any such deal as this fantastic one!…”

      This reads almost as a poem to me. I hope you do write poetry. All my puny powers of expression can dredge up is, Whoa, Nellie, now that’s spectacular.

      • Blue
        Posted October 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Om’golly, that iz the loveliest compliment
        I have received A L L year, Ms Haniver !
        M’golly !

        I do not. I do not write poems.
        I wrote two books once; and
        one song’s lyrics at one time
        but no poems. Actually.

        Once I read Mr Frost’s couple … … and
        w/knowing of his catastrophically sorrowful
        life which, o’course, ‘went’ into his, why,
        I for myself was flummoxingly … … done
        … … w so trying to do so !

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_and_Ice_(poem) and
        = these couple, Ms Haniver !


        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted October 14, 2017 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

          Thank you, Ms Blue, for the links to the Robert Frost. “Fire and Ice” is for me a haunting and deceptively powerful poem. I wasn’t familiar with “Two Tramps in Mud Time.” I will have to revisit Frost.

          You may not think that you write poetry, but I think otherwise. When I read what you’d written, I said, hey, that’s poetry — there’s a poem there, but it wasn’t done, and I wanted more (I started playing with line breaks). Perhaps I’m just tripping, but I find a distinct and unique poetic/linguistic (lexical and semantic) sensibility, in this and some of the other comments you’ve posted in the past — (as if) a poem was begun in a sentence or two, unconsciously/un-selfconsciously), and who knows where it would lead if the thought or phrase were pursued as an observation or reflection on whatever it is that first brought you to express that thought (or, contrarily, develop into something else). I think of what’s called “hermetic poetry,” in the best sense of the phrase, i.e.: “wherein the language and imagery are subjective, and where the suggestive power of the sound of words is as important as their meaning.” And that last quotation must be stressed, which puts your linguistic sensibility so refreshingly beyond so much contemporary poetry, which has only surface meaning and reads like pedestrian prose.

          In this light, might I share a favorite article of mine, “The Word-Hoard: Robert Macfarlane On Rewiring Our Language of Landscape” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/27/robert-macfarlane-word-hoard-rewilding-landscape.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    So maybe this is the reason. Does it also work for fish? On a lake that has lots of Carp in it you can see the carp jumping from time to time. They will come clear out of the water.

  4. Posted October 14, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink


  5. Charles Sawicki
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Nice! How about parasite removal as a reason?

  6. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I would have crapped my wetsuit.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 14, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Can you please explain to me whence origin of and grammar behind expressions such as as “he peed his pants,” “I would have crapped my wetsuit”? I’ve wondered about this ever since I began to see that construction on the Internet. With the “in” elided, it I have to strain to make it make sense. Maybe Language Log will have an answer.

      • Posted October 14, 2017 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        No idea. I was not even conscious of the naturalness of leaving out the ‘in’.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    The source video [which has interesting audio] for the gif is by Aussie photographer Beau Pilgrim: “… fully grown adult male Humpback Whale breached landing metres away… Location: Vava’u, Tonga”

    Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7ZON5ztSsc

  8. Posted October 14, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Do any other whale species besides the Humpback perform that amazing breaching behavior?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      @ Eric Salzman All cetacean species seem to breach – even the mighty, 190 tonne blue whale breaches, kind of, but in her case one hardly sees sky beneath her as she does so. I can’t find instances of a full grown blue whale twisting in the air, or doing anything else fancy – probably physically impossible when one weights in at SIX humpback equivalents

      Young humpbacks are known to breach for extended periods whereas adults only breach for a few minutes.

      Some sharks & some rays [close shark relatives] also breach – the videos of rays breaching are nice as they look designed for the job! 🙂

  9. Hal SCHER
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Link doesn’t work.

    Dr. Hal Scher 45 Sheppard Ave. East, Suite 900 Toronto, ON M2N 5W9 Tel: 416 315 1903 Fax: 905 660 1601


  10. Posted October 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I’ve watched a YouTube vid of a whale going breach crazy after being freed from netting by a couple of boaties… which looked decidly like euphoria.
    Communication is probably one reason but this beastie was doing it for the camera and global game.

  11. Posted October 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    A whale breached multiple times near my zodiac raft years ago, and each time it appeared to be looking at us. I think it was doing it out of curiosity about us.

  12. Posted October 14, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    yeah, thats a humpback.

    not being flippant, but I honestly think they do it because it feels good. It seems to me that humpbacks breach much more when it’s windy. I have also heard they do it to knock barnacles off their skin.

    • Mike
      Posted October 15, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      You beat me to it,have just tweeted the same thing,I’m convinced they do it because they can,and it’s FUN!!

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted October 15, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        I wholeheartedly agree with you. It’s gotta be the best kind of fun.

  13. Posted October 15, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

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