A group of whale watchers almost missed a moment of life after a whale surreptitiously surfaced behind their boat while they were looking the other way.
They all faced the other way, got their cameras ready to watch the whales, and almost missed the incredible encounter right behind them.
Thankfully, one of the groups turned around in time to spot the giant whale a few feet away before it disappeared back into the ocean.
You can see the boat’s celebrations after managing to capture the wonderful encounter.
These photos were taken from a boat directly behind, showing the incredible scene in action.
Smith, who was on the boat, said the whale “slowly and quietly raised her head high above the water to look around. I was at another panga a few dozen feet away and caught the moment just before people realized she was so close.”
The images showing the near-miss were taken by Eric J Smith, the 49-year-old photographer from LA, who was in the boat behind.
“When everyone turned around, she quickly went under the water. Cheers and hysterical laughter ensued.”, Smith added.
“Photographing whales requires a lot of luck, but the key is to stay alert and ready. During a whale-watching trip, it’s easy to get complacent because there’s a lot of waiting. It seems like the moment you let your guard down, a spectacular breach occurs.”
What a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime encounter!