Humpback stuns whale watcher by giving him high-five with massive fin

Humpback stuns whale watcher by giving him high-five with massive fin

This lucky man was stunned when he received a ‘high-five’ from a thirty-ton humpback whale.

The remarkable footage was filmed two miles off Lahaina Harbor, Hawaii, in February this year and has now been shared online.

It shows the North Pacific humpback’s huge pectoral fin rising out of the water next to a boatload of cheering whale-watchers.

The 40ft-long creature had been swimming just four feet away from the boat for around half and hour, said whale-watch manager Toni Colombo, who filmed the video.

The footage shows the fin moving closer, as several people on the boat raise their hands and the humpback appears to high-five the man sitting at one end of the RIB.

Toni, who is a manager at Ultimate Whale Watch and Snorkel and is from Maui, said: ‘On this day, dozens were slapping their tails and spouting.

‘No sooner had Captain Joel Kenney turned off our engines when this curious humpback began making its way slowly and gracefully towards us’.

When a whale swims within a close distance to a boat, it is colloquially referred to as ‘whale mugging’.

Toni added: ‘The humpback whale lifted its pec fin and started showing off for us, seemingly aiming to high-five a guest who was surprised at the graceful manoeuvre, but the guests knew not to touch the whale.

‘We were all so amazed by this encounter and once again the gentleness and body awareness of these giant creatures.

Each year over ten thousand humpbacks move to the shallow and warm waters of the Maui Nui Basin, making it prime for awesome aerial performances such as these

They migrate to mate and give birth before returning to Alaska later in the year.

‘This incredible experience reminds us how alive the ocean is, and how everything we do impacts it and the creatures that live there.

‘Any chance you have to reduce single-use plastics, recycle, and use reef-safe sun cream, please take the time to do it. These big guys need all the help they can get.’

Humpback whales are protected in Hawaii and all federal protection laws were adhered to during this filming.

Ultimate Whale Watch did not approach this whale closer than 300 feet. The whale approached the vessel by its own free will, in which case the vessel is required to refrain from moving to protect the whale.

An iPhone was used to shoot the clip which has had more than 40,000 views on Instagram.