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Whale of a picture caught on camera

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A photograph of a humpback whale breaching off South Shore (Photograph by Sue Correia)

An amateur photographer got the shot of a lifetime when she captured a humpback whale leaping out of the water off South Shore.

Sue Correia said yesterday: “I didn’t think the photo was that great – it was so far away, probably about 100 yards off the reef line and I couldn’t get a clear photo, but it was a cool experience.

“I knew something was going to happen as they were slapping their fins and tails. There were about three or four of them and they were out there for about an hour.”

Ms Correia posted the photograph on the Facebook group 441 Photo Bermuda on Monday.

The post attracted close to 400 comments and almost 2,000 reactions.

Ms Correia took the shot from her house on South Shore near Spittal Pond on a Fuji XT3 camera - but did not have time to take the camera out of manual mode.

She added: “I barely had time to change the settings. I put it into the tracking setting so I could catch them in movement.

“I got some shots then my memory card was full and I thought I had missed it.

“I ran inside to dump some photos I went back out and they started to breach.”

Ms Correia, the co-owner of Swizzle Inn with her husband Jay, said she took photographs for the bar and restaurant’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

She added: “Photography has always been a passion and hobby – it’s not like a career or anything, just something I love to do.”

Whale-watching season in Bermuda runs from March to April, but they are often spotted off the coast at the start of the year and have been know to stay past the official season.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority’s website said about 10,000 humpback whales migrate through Bermuda's waters each year.

Andrew Stevenson, who has built up a database of whale IDs by photographing their tails, also posted shots of the marine mammals on Monday.

One of those he photographed was confirmed as the 1300th whale that he identified in Bermuda in 2014.

He has identified about 1,750 individual whales in Bermuda over the past 15 years and said that about 25 to 30 per cent of them were return visitors.

A whale tail by Andrew Stevenson. Mr Stevenson said that it was the same whale he spotted in 2014 (Photograph by Andrew Stevenson)

Mr Stevenson said: “I am putting a lot of time and effort into trying to understand what they are doing.

“I spent six hours on the water and got two tails – one of which we saw in 2014. It was the first whale I saw that season too.

“I would love for people to send me IDs when the opportunity arises. Some of the best IDs come from contributors. The whales’ tails are unique finger prints, so I would appreciate it if anyone who captures a clear photograph can send it to me.”

Mr Stevenson said he believed that the early whales seen in Bermuda were on their way south and those spotted over the official season were headed north.

Mr Stevenson can be contacted on spout@logic.bm or at 777-7688.

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Published January 13, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated January 13, 2021 at 7:55 am)

Whale of a picture caught on camera

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