Off the coast of Hawaii, a couple of divers were swimming when an extremely unusual event occurred. They were swimming close to a pod of humpback whales when one of them, weighing 79,366 pounds, calmly extended its enormous flipper in their direction.
The white-bellied female whale reached out with her fin to shake hands (or give the diver a high-five). The human piqued her interest in the same way that the diver did. She calmly and gently assisted him as they continued to swim.
Huge whale like this one. If I do say so myself, she is a little intimidating because she is about the length of a double-decker bus. She was, however, overjoyed to be swimming alongside the divers. Because they were vying for the attention of the female whale, the male whales became a little more aggressive.
But they still allowed the divers to get close and swim up next to them.
The underwater gathering was photographed by Tokyo, Japan-born photographer Masa Ushioda, who recently relocated to Hona, Hawaii. This particular female humpback whale, which had a white belly, was very amiable and curious about us humans, according to Mr. Ushioda, 43. She repeatedly reached out and touched us with her pectoral fins. She was surrounded by aggressive male whales who were fighting for access to this white-bellied female.
“The female whale was exceptional,” Mr. Ushioda continued. “There are many docile whales, but they don’t frequently come in for physical contact, so this made it extra special. She is just posing for me in every photo, so you can see how amiable she is. Along the way, the female whale was showcasing her amazing ballet dancing.
But when one of the whales decided to blow bubbles, which “sounded like a bomb,” it startled the two whales. It appeared to be an attempt to warn nearby males to back off. What a fantastic adventure; I envy what these divers were able to do. Would you venture so near to whales?