Today aboard the Aurora we had a 1-out-of-100 type of trip with continuous breaching and flipper slapping!

We arrived to the crystal-clear waters near Thacher Island, where we initially spotted some splashing in the distance. This splashing turned out to be breaches from male humpback veteran Hornbill.

Hornbill breaches.

Hornbill treated us to five to six full, spinning, head breaches, which were predictably always after a quick fluking dive. He spent the majority of our trip flipper slapping, sometimes belly-up (one of my favorite behaviors).

The water was so glassy that you could see his flippers slowly breaking the waves, reflecting like a mirror, and then causing a small puddle of rain each time after he slapped. A different humpback passed by at one point, and we saw another distant breacher, but Hornbill stole the show today. A special treat for the season.

As a proud member of Whale Sense (, we are committed to responsible whale watching practices.  All photos were taken in compliance with established guidelines and regulations. 

Photo gallery for the Whale Watch