Humpback whale surfaces near fishing boat in US, results in stunning photo

A majestic humpback whale rose above the waves before narrowly missing a fishing boat as it crashed back into the water at Monterey Bay, California, in the United States.

The moment was captured in time by photographer Douglas Croft, 60, and whale watcher Kate Cummings, according to Caters News.

Pictures of the incident have made its way around various media outlets, and a video, posted by whale watching tour agency Blue Ocean Whale Watch on its Facebook page on May 1, has since been shared more than 280 times.

Netizens have showered praise on the video with many saying "wow" and "awesome".

Facebook user Kitty Berghem-Kantor said: "On the job, getting paid and a show like that - what a lucky fisherman!"

Another user Carla McKnight added that you never know what is lurking beneath the water.

Mr Croft told Caters News: "It was quite exciting! Salmon season coincides with the time when humpbacks are returning to Monterey Bay to feed for the summer and there were hundreds of boats on the bay fishing.

"This whale had breached a couple of times before this and many times they'll just keep doing it."


He added that he had gone below the deck to shoot from a porthole close to the water line, which resulted in the perspective of looking up at the whale, as seen in his photographs.

According to Mr Croft's Facebook page, he "didn't really pick up a camera till 2010", but added that being outside in nature had always been a passion.

Ms Cummings, who took the video, said: "It was fun capturing this video. The whale had already breached multiple times much further away from the fisherman."

She said that sometimes when whales breach multiple times, they are heading in a specific direction when underwater building momentum for the next breach.

"I figured the next breach would be around the fisherman because the whale was heading that way and sure enough! Though I didn't expect the whale and the boat to line up so perfectly," added Ms Cummings.

Breaching is a form of surfacing behaviour where most or all of the whale's body leaves the water.

Many species do this, but some, such as humpbacks, appear to breach more frequently, according to New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Scientists are not sure if this breaching behaviour serves some purpose, such as cleaning pests from the whale's skin, or whether whales simply do it for fun.

Humpback whales are in the same family as the largest beings on earth, the blue whale, and can grow up to 14 to 19 metres in size, and weigh about 36,000kg, according to National Geographic.

Humpback whales are powerful swimmers, and they use their massive tail fin, called a fluke, to propel themselves through the water and sometimes completely out of it.