Humpbacks’ surface behaviour can be very acrobatic: breaching, tail-lobbing and pectoral fin slapping are common. We have the pleasure of hanging out with one particular active – if not off-showing – calf: it breaches continuously for about half an hour, seemingly having a fabulous time, every now and then popping its head out of the water as if to make sure we are still paying attention.
And then there are the truly magic moments, such as when the initially shy calf can’t contain its curiosity and comes out from its hiding place behind its mothers back. After cautiously floating to the surface to take a breath and have a look around, it comes right up to Lucas and the two begin mimicking each other’s movements. Or the instance when three whales take Lucas in the middle and seem undecided as to what to do with (or to) this ever present human who can dive deeper than most. They decide to ignore him.
On our last day in the final hours far away from the shore, a beautiful calf with a distinct black and white pattern comes right up the camera for inspection and generously provides us with the money shot before swimming back to its mum. Seeing them both turn and come towards me I am attempting the impossible feat of fitting these leviathans onto the tiny screen of my iPhone before they disappear into the depths of the ocean. I am left with is the distinct feeling that this moment will be hard to top in future adventures.