It was first thing in the morning, just off Santa Catalina, when the call 'whale nine o'clock' came over the tannoy. Robert rushed on deck. He was on a whale-watching holiday in Baja California, Mexico, and had already had incredible encounters with humpbacks, blues, fins and greys. So he was primed and ready with his camera. Slicing through the velvet-smooth water towards the boat was a minke, which was not what they had expected. Minkes are uncommon in the region. Even more surprising, she seemed to want to make contact with the whale-watchers. For more than an hour, she played around the boat, sometimes rolling onto her side and looking up at the people craning over the side or going under the boat to dazzle them with underwater and surface blows. It was an unforgettable experience, crystallized in this photo, which reflects the grace and beauty of a mammal completely adapted to its marine environment.
Nikon D3S + 200-400mm f4 lens; 1/2500 sec at f8; ISO 3200.
Santa Catalina, Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur
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