Blowing bubbles while riding on top of his mother, this little male humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae australis) sustained significant injuries to his entire body when he was very small, quite likely as a result of a coordinated attack by pack hunters, possibly false killer whales. Fortunately, he survived and grew up to be a healthy, happy young boy by the end of the calving season.
I came across him quite soon after he had been attacked. His right pectoral fin was ripped half-way through, half his dorsal fin had been bitten off, and there were large scars all over his body. Not surprisingly, both he and his mother were wary of everything at the time.
Over the next 33 days, I encountered this pair nine times. I watched the calf heal, both physically and psychologically.
By the end of that period, both mother and calf grew to be comfortable with me, allowing me to swim alongside and observe moments like the one pictured here, with the young calf resting atop his mother as the pair cruised through the ocean.
Each time I tell his tale, I recall the anxiety and relief I felt through his ordeal, and hope that he's now healthy and strong. Some day, if I ever meet the calf again (who will be grown up of course), it won't be difficult to recognize him.
As an aside, I met the adult female again three years later, together with a beautiful baby girl.
This is a Limited Edition Collector's Print in a series of 50. Each print is numbered and chopped with my logo. Sizes listed are the dimensions of the printed image in inches (see FAQ for equivalent sizes in centimeters). There is an additional white border around the image to allow for framing. A complete list of image and paper sizes can be found in the FAQ.