Humpback whales come across on the surface as decidedly acrobatic: they break through the surface of the water, waggle their flukes and smack down on the water with their pectoral fins. One particularly active - somewhat cocky – calf surprises us with multiple sightings. For a good thirty minutes, it seems to be really enjoying itself and even checks from time to time that we are still paying suitable attention to it.
Then we have the magical experience of watching a calf, so shy at first, yet unable to resist its own sense of curiosity any more and peeping out from behind its mother for the first time. After a cautious trip to the surface, a diligent intake of air and a swift look around, it then swims directly towards Lucas – and the two mimic each other's movements, one after the other. And again, when three whales allow Lucas into their midst but then seem unable to make out this curious human guest with staying power, who can also dive so much deeper than any other they've experienced. In the end they decide to ignore him.
On our last day just before sundown and a long way offshore, a larger calf with striking black and white markings is daring enough to swim directly up to the camera, presenting us with the perfect shot before returning to its mother. Suddenly, both mother and calf swim up to me as a pair - and I try to achieve the impossible: take a picture of these two giants on my tiny iPhone. When, shortly after, they disappear into the depths of the ocean for good, I am left with one sensation and one thought: it's going to be incredibly difficult to top that.