People often speak of whale watching, with the phrase meant to convey the act of traveling to sea on a boat for the purpose of observing whales in their natural habitat. What most people perhaps may not realize is that as much as people watch whales, they also watch us. Any animal in the wild must maintain some level of vigilance, however minor any given potential threat might be. It is natural, therefore, for animals to watch us as much as we watch them.
Pictured here are three humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). The young calf is clearly looking straight at me. The adult female to the right, his mother, is watching both her offspring and me. And in the background, there is a male escort whale accompanying the female and calf. He is keeping a figurative eye on everything taking place.
The only way to capture images of intimate moments like this with intelligent, watchful marine mammals is to understand and respect that the whales are watching every move you make. Trust is a prerequisite.
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