A sneaky whale pops up behind sightseers as they look the wrong way.
By - 305FUN
[Here](https://i.imgur.com/0Fjx9ql.jpg?desktop=1) is a higher quality and less cropped version of this image. [Here](https://www.esmithimages.com/nature-wildlife) is the source. More of his work can be found [here](https://www.esmithimages.com/). For the story behind the picture, [here](https://www.digitalphotopro.com/technique/camera-technique/how-i-made-it-the-story-behind-eric-smiths-surprising-whale-photo/) he explains:
> In March of 2020, the week before the world shut down, I returned to Baja’s San Ignacio Lagoon to photograph the migratory gray whales. I had been there in 2017 and it changed my life. The ability to have such close contact with those amazingly intelligent and friendly creatures was like nothing I had ever experienced. Every morning, small groups of visitors board small motorboats known as pangas, to see the whales. In this photograph, a panga with people from my camp were approached by a mother and her baby, known as “a cow and calf pair.” The calf made an appearance near the bow of the boat causing everyone to look forward. A second later, the mother emerged a foot behind the stern in behavior called a spy hop. She slowly and silently stuck her head high above the water to look around. I was in another panga a few dozen feet away and caught the moment right before everyone realized she was so close. When everyone turned around, she quickly sank below the surface. Cheering and hysterical laughter ensued.
So crazy to think about their level of control in the water
Thinking about animals that know how to move in water like that freak me out. Like.. me in water is the equivalent to an elephant in an autumn forest freaking out and stomping on the leaves and sticks and kicking dirt and debris everywhere. Lmao. Then a giant whale can quietly sneak up behind and be like "you ok bro?" Like this picture and I just don't know how to feel about it.
Yeah but we're way better in water than they are on land. Most whales can't even walk. Bunch of wet idiots.
Yeah but do
You can say that again.
>freaking out and stomping on the leaves and sticks and kicking dirt and debris everywhere
Did I meet you on my last guided snorkeling tour? ;)
Scuba diving instructor and dive guide... know just what you mean ;)
I think it's often worse with snorkelers because they are often not used to being in the water at all.
For scuba diving it's a bit of a mixed bag I guess. Some dives are excellent with great people and others... not so much. On my last (relatively shallow) dive one guy was out of air after 15(!) minutes and had to be escorted to the surface. We continued the dive for another 40ish minutes after that.
Then you get these people with lots of dives under their belt doing absolutely idiotic stuff. One member of the team ran out of air so the guide signaled us to stay put while he took him back to the boat. One guy who supposedly had done 400+ dives didn't get it and panicked when the guide left (even though we were there with him, he wasn't by himself). So he popped up to the surface from the reef wall we were at and climbed on top of it (the top was almost touching the surface) to look for the boat.
There are actually elephants that live in forests, saw it in a documentary long ago, it’s really cool because they basically just follow the pathways their ancestors made true generations.
I’ve had one come up 6-12ft under my boat. You could feel the ripple of them surfacing rock the boat and see it under the water. Luckily it surfaced at an angle and broke the waterline ~15-20 ft away, because we were in a dinky zodiac along a jagged, wave pounded cliff line with no way to get out of the water without swimming for a mile in deep ocean in either direction along the coast to hit a place we could crawl out of the water. The captain was white as a sheet; his family was on board too, and his younger brother, another boat enthusiast, promptly strapped on a life jacket and started drinking to calm the heck down. Previously only the kids had been required to wear floaties. Found out later that both brothers knew if the boat got knocked there’d be zero chance of radioing for help before the boat capsized, as they hadn’t had coms up and running/open before the whale showed up. The area was known for sharks, and while they weren’t too interested in humans, if we hit the jagged rocks trying to scramble out of the sea there would be blood in the water, which might tempt the few shark types who didn’t give humans a wide berth. I remember they turned on all their equipment after that and left it on despite the noise. Best boat trip ever.
I had a similar experience! We were whale watching on a little rickety motor boat and a humpback mother and calf swam under us. It looked like a school bus was passing underneath us. It was terrifying but also one of the cooler experiences of my life.
thank you! :)
Thanks for the citations! Ive used a bunch of the photos you provide sources for as desktop backgrounds. You make reddit better one post at a time!
I’ve been there twice by boat. It really is a magical place!
Whales are mega trolls.
The whales eyes are far from its mouth, so it has to come a long way out if the water to see
Even when it does so, it's eyes don't focus well in air, so it has to be very close to see anything
I bet she quickly sank below the surface, right when she realized a propeller was slicing her neck open
“ what you guys lookin at??”
"Trying to spot some whales, shut the fuck up, you'll scare em away"
Reminds me of the time I walked around a corner on a trail in Muir Woods National Monument (forest of coastal redwoods...not quite giant sequoias, but real close). Guy says in a hushed tone, shh, there is a deer right there. I yelled REAL loud "**YOU MEAN THAT ONE RIGHT THERE!!!**". Everyone gives me the stinkeye, well everyone but the deer who didn't even look up from munching on something. I'm like yeah, he knows we're here, he doesn't care because he sees five thousand people a day.
My GF wanted the deer to look at us so she could get a pic. I took four or five dry branches in my hands and said, on three, be ready.... One, Two, Three, **SNAP** as I broke them. That was about the only thing that got his attention. I even tried a **HEY DEER!** first and he didn't even flinch.
Also, if you want to get closer to a deer just make your presence known. Otherwise it will think your stalking it and want to hunt it.
Also blasting Florida Georgia Line from your Bluetooth speaker will make your ill intentions known to the deer as well.
Why would the deer care if you want to date your sister?
"Hi guys. Whatcha doin?"
"Oh hey Isabella! We are searching for wheals today!"
🎵 Doofenshmirtz out on the ocean 🎵
I think you basically just tow it, you don't try to get it onboard
I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.
"Got any games on your phone?"
"He's behind me isn't he?"
“Guys I don’t see it, what’s the thing we should be lookin at?”
IRL whale version of this scene from [Indiana Jones](https://youtu.be/Np4OojYGixI?t=90s).
I THINK I SEE EM!!!
"hey, hey guys watch this, im going to make these humans crap themselves"
I would literally shit my pants hahaha
Sweet mother fucking Jesus Christ. Why did I watch that.
Please tell me you got that Julie….WHAM!
My soul would just leave my body if I turned round and saw a whole ass whale just breaching the surface
That one guy looking right at him.
It seems he hasn't spotted him. Looks kinda clueless..
looking at the photographer
“What you looking at? The whales are in front of us!”
[It's real] (https://www.digitalphotopro.com/technique/camera-technique/how-i-made-it-the-story-behind-eric-smiths-surprising-whale-photo/)
My guess is that it was swimming up the the surface vertically very slowly.
Edit: in the article it says that it's something whales do called a "spy hop"
Yeah, just ask your mom
Dammit I just wasted my award
I don't really care about awards anyway, I appreciate it tho
American tourists. Definitely clueless.
This pic was taken just a *fraction* of a second before "HOLY SH\*T!!"
He’s looking at us lmao
Did somebody say thatoneguy?
"We're gonna hit that rock!"
"Have you guys thought about getting the extended warranty?"
It's behind you!
Photo credit: Eric J. Smith
"We have been trying to reach you about your cars extended warranty."
Reminds me of a small dialogue in Witcher 3 where this guy been looking for a whale his entire life and misses out on seeing it because he is talking to Geralt in that exact moment that the whale breaches
This seems like a very small boat for that size of whale.
Exactly my first thought. He comes up a few feet over and those elderly sightseers are going to take a bath.
In my hometown the whale watching cruises are on pretty big boats, and all the tourists look like they're wearing neon orange space suits, they've got so much head to toe safety gear on. The difference is wild. But I guess to be fair I guess you're gonna die a lot faster in the waters of the PNW vs Baja.
If this is where I think it is, Scammon's Lagoon, or someplace close, the whales are quite used to interaction with humans and in these little boats called pangas. If it's not Scammon's, bad on me but it obviously is a whale sighting boat. (scammon's is down in baja)
! (Metal Gear style)
This is kinda terrifying. Now I want a version of Jaws with a whale instead of a shark
It's called moby dick
That book is an absolute masterpiece.
It's the most alright book I've ever read. I'm sure the sections on whaling have some symbolic relevance to the text but I couldn't figure it out so it read like a bunch of filler text.
if you dont like the cetology chapters you're a nerd
With TV's and picture books and all sorts of media we are all able to know what whales are and look like. How they swim and behave. We take it for granted. Readers when the book was published would mostly have no clue. So the book does its best to describe whales so people can visualize them.
Not really, it's just telling you what stuff is so you don't ask dumb questions later on in the book.
Then you want [Orca](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076504/). The one from '77; not the one from last year.
His AMA was so fun!
oh I missed that, will go look for it thanks
why not both. Whale sharks are a thing
Gummed to death....
I really liked The Fast and the Furious, but what if we made that movie and instead of street racing, we replaced it with surfing?
I really liked Point Break, but how bout instead of parachutes and surfing, we set it in Italy with tiny cars?
I really liked that movie Cars, but what if instead of a talking car, it is a Doctor who gets stranded in a remote town?
There was a guy on here just a few days ago who did an AMA about how he was accidentally eaten by a humpback whale last week, made the news and everything. Both he and the whale are ok, didn’t mean to eat him.
The behavior is called spy hopping, great whites do it too, and in the book Jaws this exact thing happens where, Brody, Hooper, and Quint and looking over one side of the boat for the shark and Brody glances over his shoulder for a sec and the shark was right there, staring at them.
The one guy looking and thinking "if I say anything they will capsize the boat"
"Excuse me, but have you heard of our lord and savior Poseidon? If you don't move your boat I can help you meet him."
“Worst tour ever. We didn’t see a single whale, in fact I’m starting to doubt that whales exist. 1 star!”
WHY! WHY DO THE WHALE PICS KEEP FINDING ME! I'M TERRIFIED OF WHALES!
Why? They don’t go out of their way to harm people, and as long as you don’t go onto boats on the ocean they can’t accidentally harm you either.
It's the sheer size of them. I'm frankly just afraid of most things in the ocean.
That image looks photoshopped to me. An ocean-going boat like that would have a big freaking outboard motor hanging off the rear of the boat to push around a boat that size with 7 people plus gear. The guide (guy in blue hat) obviously has his hand on the tiller.
That whale is occupying the space where the outboard motor should be.
Plus, the angle of the shadow on the stern, presumably cast by the whale does not quite match the angle of the shadow on the woman's arm that is hanging over the edge.
This was what I was thinking as well, it’s a well documented photo though- but it’s hard to believe that whale does not currently have a motor inside him the way this looks.
Could also be the angle and flattening dimension.
The photographer most likely has a 250+mm lens to photograph this from a distance and with that type of lens, distances appear smushed, so the whole could be further from the boat than it looks.
Edit: looking at it again I’m almost positive that is what is happening. As others have pointed out, that boat is likely 20-25ft but looks shortened in this photo. Similarly, all 7 people look like they are on the same plane with little depth between them. That whale is a few feet from the boat but it doesn’t look it. Still certainly close, but high mm will mess with your eyes that way.
Fuckin Palpatine over there just staring like... what?
Ah its just a rock ok we have no dangers
What are those hex bolt like thing near its jaw, like a bunch of them.
"BYE BUDDY. Hope you find your dad!"
I wouldn't be surprised if it's discovered that whales like to do this to sightseers often.
That one guy bear the back is just like “hop up”
That is an impressive shot!
*Lobster diver pops out of mouth and proceeds to guide tour*
How are birds pooping on whales?
I wasn’t even sure it was possible for a whale to be sneaky
But here it is
I can hear it giggle as he (or she) is tricking those tourists. "Heheheh"
"Terrible experience. Didn't see any whales at all."
This is so much better than taking a picture of a whale alone. Now they all have a photo WITH a whale.
Guy holding the camera with the white tshirt looks like Jim Lahey
Rub a dub dub, too many people in that tub! Whale goes flash, people go splash, and big shark teeth go gnash, gnash, gnash!!
Whale hello there.. :)
That one guy is going to talk non stop about the whale he saw and no one is going to belive him lol
Worst whale watchers in history 🤣😅
I visited Sri San Ignacio bay in 2007 and it was an incredible experience.
Now if the whale was facing the other way and spouted out its blowhole at just the right time, it would be a sneaky, cheeky whale.
Spell it out a bit more because I still don’t get what I’m looking at. Is it a guy in a gorilla suit riding a unicycle?
Playing fire breathing bagpipes. Yes, you got it.
Wait, let me dig out my powerpoint presentation consisting of text block slides that I will read to you word for word, it should help.
This has all the feeling of Warner bros. cartoon.
The barnacles on the whale’s mouth look like hexagons or nuts. Maybe it’s actually a steampunk whale spying on them!
Photoshop. That whale would be grinding on the outboard motor if it were real
Or a long lens that is smooshing the perspective?
Looks shopped to me too, look how calm the water is around the whale and also there's no shadows
There's literally proof it's real further in the thread.
That tiny ass boat to look for giant whales
I wonder if that guy looking right at the camera even sees the whale through his hate.
What hate? What the ?
I feel like I’m going to want a bigger boat if I’m trying to see whales
Whale: what are we looking at? Fellow humans
Yikes! One tailswish and this is a whole other photo!
Im a rock...nothing to see here
A whale of a peek-a-boo! Peekaboo!
Amazing photo, even the guy looking at the camera seems to be missing the whale
Lmao I wonder how that one guy felt as he stared right into the whale's soul!
This reminds me of those photos where
"This is the first camera"
*How they take the picture then?
"Oh hey you guys lookin for whales? I love lookin for whales!"
Dude in green: "Hey Whaley, have you seen any ***wuuuuaaaahhhhh?!?!***"
"Psst! Wanna buy some whale drugs??"
I swear they do this shit on purpose. I saw a whole 2 tail flippers on my Alaskan cruise but the second I looked away, one did a full breach and all I caught when I looked back was the splash. They fuckin know. Tricky water ungulates.
What's that rock doing in the middle of the ocean?
Peek a boo! I see you! Do t you don’t see me!
There is another whale they are looking at. It's cropped out
Whale that sucks
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear
*We're gonna need a bigger boat*
“Would you like to buy some cookies?”
My scariest moment on these boat watching tours, our boat was maybe 2-3x the size of the one they are on. A male orca swims underneath us, it's fucking tail was the length of our boat, this was big mother fucker even for an orca. I was the only one who saw it it flicked its fucking tail to swim and the fucking boat MOVED ~20-30ft. Then it fucking jumped out of the water.
IF it did that a little earlier. EVERYONE on that boat would've been dead.
The biggest thing that HAS EVER LIVED, is a whale. EVER. Dinosaurs included.
“Sneaky whale”. That’s new
“Hey guys! What you looking at?”
One guy saw it
They are like giant puppy dogs that want to play.
Poor whale probably has cancer even though he just bought his first house.
We gone need a bigger boat!
“Did you guys hear that one of you swam inside one of us? Crazy.”
Incredible.. what happens next?
Opened to look for this comment. Was not disappointed. A++! Would read again!
“I’ve been trying to reach you guys about your car insurance.”
Sneaky whale is sneaky