Diver Gets Up Close To The Rarest Whale And Her Calf, Takes Spectacular Images.
While diving in Argentina, one diver got to experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment. While swimming through the waters, the diver came across one of the rarest marine mammals. A moment like this doesn’t happen often, so he quickly captured the entire interaction. You’ll be blown away by the images taken of such a spectacular moment.
20. Rare Whale
The southern right whale is the rarest large whale species in existence. For most of their existence however, they have been hurt by humans which is how they received their unique name.
19. Unique Name
Whalers first started calling the southern right whale the ‘right whale’ because of how slow and friendly they are. Due to this, right whales were incredibly easy to hunt down. This led to a serious problem…
During the early 19th century, right whales were hunted in large numbers. Thousands upon thousands were killed and the right whales almost went into extinction. That was when a new law was passed.
17. New Law
In 1935, a new law was passed in order to help protect the southern whale from extinction. New protection laws were put into place. Since then, the southern whales number’s have begun to steadily increase.
16. Different Threats
Thanks to the protection laws, southern whales are no longer hunted for their blubber and meat. However, there are still various other threats that harm this species, such as ship strikes and pollution This is why this breed is still considered so rare.
15. Diving Trip
Diver, Justin Hofman, was on a recent voyage in Península Valdés, Argentina. Hofman happens to be the undersea specialist on the National Geographic Explorer, the vessel upon which he took his trip. So what was significant about this area?
14. Greatest Number
According to the UNESCO, “the Península Valdés is on the World Heritage List as a home for the endangered southern right whales.” This means that the area is greatly protected as there are many southern right whales swimming around.
13. Getting Permission
Hofman and his expedition team had to ask for permission to explore the area. They were eventually granted special permission to dive in the nature reserve of Peninsula Valdés. Hofman was excited for the expedition.
12. Diving In
The day finally came for Hofman and his team to go on their diving adventure. Hoffman brought along an SLR camera and an underwater video camera with him. Then he set off into the deep water…
11. Swimming Around
Hofman dove into the water and started to swim around. He made his way toward the bottom of the ocean when he was suddenly greeted by a magnificent sight! Right there in front of him was a 50-foot whale and its calf.
“I was picturing the event almost every night before getting to sleep,” Hofman explained. “I was almost obsessed with the right whales because I knew we’d only get one chance.” Hofman’s permit was only for one day so he knew he had to make the most of it.
9. Huge Gamble
“Valdes Peninsula [off the coast of Argentina, where the shots were taken] is an incredibly windy place that can be closed down any day of the year, so us having the permit for only one day was a huge gamble.” Still, Hofman managed to get incredibly lucky.
Being able to be as close to the southern right whales as Hofman was is an unbelievable situation. Hofman also started to get nervous as he didn’t know how the mother whale would react to him being so close to her calf.
7. No Harm
“Your heart is in your throat, to say the least,” Hofman said when describing the experience. Hofman wanted to make sure that the whale understood that he meant it no harm. That was when the calf started inching toward him.
6. No Reaction
The calf continued to swim toward Hofman and he immediately grew nervous of the mother’s reaction. However, the mother continued to remain very calm throughout the entire reaction. Hofman couldn’t believe his luck.
5. Eye To Eye
Hofman was making direct eye contact with the mother whale and she seemed relaxed throughout the entire interaction. The diver continued to sit on the bottom of the ocean with the whales and filmed the situation.
4. So Close
“Almost all [the images] are within six feet,” Hofman explained. It is almost unbelievable to think about just how close Hofman was to the whale and its baby. However, some people have been questioning the legitimacy of the encounter.
“I’ve gotten a lot of emails and comments about the over/under shot being fake,” Hofman said. “I promise everyone that this is not a composition of two photos and was only possible with the help of a skillful boat handler who placed the boat in the perfect position.”
“The fact that these mothers were so trusting in us, either that or they didn’t see us as a threat at all, but the fact that we could sit on the bottom was a pretty powerful experience,” Hofman stated. It is certainly one that Hofman will carry in his memory forever.
1. Huge Beauty
The beauty of the whale was captured perfectly by Hofman and his camera footage. As a diver, Hofman managed to engage in one of the rarest experiences ever.