A California photographer who shared some of his most spectacular whale images Wednesday let his followers in on an intriguing secret.
Doug Croft, who works for Blue Ocean Whale Watch out of Moss Landing in Monterey Bay, confessed that the images accompanying his Facebook post were not captured from either of the vessel’s two decks – but from its restroom.
“When I’m deck boss, I spend my time on the main deck [with passengers],” Croft wrote. “When I’m on the boat for fun, I spend a lot of time below deck, in the head. The porthole in the bathroom severely restricts field-of-view, but the low-to-the-water perspective more than makes up for it.”
The image atop this post was captured in April 2019, when a 40-ton humpback whale breached only 15 yards from the stern of a small boat as its captain trolled for salmon. The massive cetacean fell backwards, away from the fortunate angler.
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The second image, showing surface-feeding humpbacks close to the coast, won the 2018 NOAA Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest. The third, showing a lone breaching humpback whale in a graceful arch, was displayed in the State Capitol in Sacramento and featured in Outdoor California Magazine.
Croft allowed For The Win Outdoors to feature his images in this post.
Regulars aboard Blue Ocean’s vessel, High Spirits, know to bring their cameras into the head while answering nature’s call.
Kate Cummings, captain and naturalist, told For The Win Outdoors that the narrow porthole affords a unique perspective because it’s so low to the water.
“It’s also more satisfying when you nail a shot from the head, considering the added challenge of shooting through such a small area. You also can’t beat the comical bragging rights.”
Croft’s Facebook post generated several comments, including one that he jokingly wrote: “If I were designing a whale-watch boat, it would have multiple bathroom windows.”
High Spirits is a 60-foot twin-deck vessel that’s presently running with limited loads, in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.
Humpback whales, along with a vast array of other marine mammal species, are commonly spotted in Monterey Bay.
–Images courtesy of Doug Croft
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