Astonishing moment as humpback whale leaps out of water alongside tour boat

Jodi Frediani, a whale photographer, skillfully captured the moment from a nearby boat in the waters of Monterey Bay, California.

9-year-old boy approaches an unfamiliar police officer and discreetly hands over a note

Witnesses aboard a boat dedicated to whale watching were treated to a magnificent sight when a humpback whale breached in close proximity to their vessel.

In Monterey Bay, California, a remarkable series of photographs immortalizes the awe-inspiring occurrence, featuring Murph, a 4-year-old female whale.

Murph’s majestic leap out of the ocean showcases her colossal body towering above the boat, providing a captivating spectacle for the camera-ready whale enthusiasts on board.

In one particularly captivating image, Murph seems to be just feet away from the tour boat, her flipper seemingly waving towards the vessel. After an impressive display, Murph gracefully flipped her tail and descended back into the water, creating a substantial splash as she departed.

The remarkable event was skillfully captured by Jodi Frediani, a 74-year-old whale photographer who was fortunate enough to witness the spectacle from a separate boat nearby.

9-year-old boy approaches an unfamiliar police officer and discreetly hands over a note

Prior to the incident, two whales had been gracefully swimming and indulging in anchovies near Frediani’s boat. With 18 years of experience swimming alongside and photographing humpback whales, Frediani has encountered similar breathtaking scenes in Monterey Bay. In 2018, she had the opportunity to capture another remarkable event when a different humpback whale approached a tour boat at close range.

According to Frediani, humpback whales are not known to deliberately threaten humans, as they are skilled at avoiding stationary boats in the water. In a previous interview with PEOPLE, she explained that encountering humpback whales up close does not elicit fear in her, but rather, it fills her with wonder and delight due to their impressive power and grandeur.

Frediani further explained that humpback whales can often find themselves in close proximity to boats when they are in pursuit of fish.

“Most people scream and squeal when a whale suddenly pops up close to the boat,” Frediani said. “We try to follow the guidelines, staying 100 yards away, but the feeding action is very fluid, and sometimes the fish try to hide under the boat. Then the following whales may suddenly lunge close by.”

With her photographs, Frediani aims to encourage people to take steps towards the conservation of humpback whales, their food sources, and the oceans.

Monterey Bay Aquarium reports that humpback whales are frequently observed in Monterey Bay from April to late December before migrating to warmer waters near Mexico during the winter months. These whales typically feed on small fish, krill, and shrimp-like crustaceans.

Under the Endangered Species Conservation Act, humpback whales were classified as “endangered” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1970.

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