A whale-watching tour group were transfixed when they witnessed a humpback whale slapping its fins on the water at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, on August 23.
Perth-based videographer Scott Slawinski was out on the boat with the tour group to capture some promotional material for the tour company Ningaloo Discovery. He caught this incredible drone footage of the whale as it lay on its back and slowly slapped its pectoral fins.
Slawinski said the whale slapped its fins for around an hour as the tour group watched on.
Slawinski added that it’s not certain why whales act in this way: “There are different theories about why they do that: whether it’s cleaning barnacles off them, or it’s a behavior thing … Truth is, nobody really knows.”
New Scientist magazine has reported on the theory that whales use the mannerism to communicate with one another over long distances, forming messages through their slapping. Credit: Scott Slawinski via Storyful