Like fishing, wildlife photography is all about being in the right place at the right time, and one Alaskan fisherman recently got both his timing and placement so spectacularly right that he was able to capture the most extraordinary footage of a humpback whale up close.
To be fair, he was probably in what most people would consider to be the wrong place for whale spotting – a marina. Much to his surprise, however, the enormous animal suddenly lunged from the water just a few feet away from him, its giant jaws agape as it hunted its regular prey of krill and other small fish.
Speaking to Caters TV, fisherman Cy Williams, who captured the footage, described the scene as “breathtaking,” adding that he “genuinely thought it was going to hit the boat or the dock as it was so big.”
As the video shows, the whale’s presence is preceded by the appearance of bubbles on the surface, blown by the animal itself as part of a hunting technique designed to trap prey inside a ring of bubbles. The whale then attacks its food from underneath, forcing it up towards the surface where it finally gobbles it up.
The scene, which occurred at Knudson Cove Marina in Ketchikan on May 2, is highly unusual given that whales tend not to come this close to shore. However, it is certainly not out of the ordinary to see humpbacks in the waters around Alaska at this time of year, as they tend to migrate north in large numbers to feed each summer.