A diver “shaking hands” with a 52-foot whale had it all captured by a diving friend off the coast of Hawaii.
The divers were swimming about 50 feet underwater near a group of humpbacks when one that weighed an estimated 79,366 pounds offered a flipper, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
Photographer Masa Ushioda, of Tokyo, had moved to Hona, Hawaii, and he took the pictures of the underwater meeting near his new home.
“This particular female humpback whale — with the white belly — was extremely friendly and very curious about us humans,” Ushioda, 43, told the paper. “She extended her pectoral fins to us repeatedly and sought for physical contact. Other male whales around her were dangerous, as they were fighting each other to gain access to this white-bellied female.”
The friendly whale can be seen elegantly swimming on her back as she shows off her dancing moves while gliding through the water.
“The female whale was exceptional,” Ushioda said. “There are many friendly whales, but they don't often come in for physical contact. This made it extra-special. You can tell in the photographs how friendly she is. She's just posing for me in every picture. The female whale was showing off her spectacular ballet dancing along the way.”
However, one of the whales stunned the pair when it decided to blow bubbles — and it “sounded like a bomb.”
It was apparently a bid to tell amorous males nearby to back off.
“All of a sudden, she broke serene silence by blowing bubbles in a forceful way — it was like the explosion of an underwater bomb,” Ushioda said. “Since the seawater is over 800 times denser than air, the impact of the sound wave was amazingly loud and alarming.”