An Australian photographer as captured a shot that is blowing up across the Internet: a seal surfing on a humpback whale. Why? To get easy access to the fish the whales were dinning on.
Robyn Malcolm was on a whale-watching expedition off the coast of Eden in New South Wales when they saw a pod of humpback whales feeding on small baitfish. Malcolm snapped photo after photo without really registering what she was seeing.
It was only later, while looking at the prints, that she realized she caught a glimpse of such a rare event. Amidst the frenzy of sea animals bobbing up and down and splashing around, a seal snuck in to get some for himself.
“We’d seen some amazing whales coming out of the water, everything was happening so quickly,” said Malcolm. “It was when I went back through the photos that I realized that I’d actually captured the seal on top of the whale.”
This is not the first instance of a seal surfer. Geoff Ross of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife services commented on the story. Once, he witnessed a seal trying to get away from a killer whale. “The seal hopped on the back of the pectoral fins of a humpback whale,” said Ross.
Ross explained that when whale feed, they force the fish to clump together forming “very tight bait balls”.
“Anything that makes it easier to catch fish, seals will be involved.”
Seals aren’t the only animals that catch a ride from time to time. Mashable compliments this story with a number of photos including a weasel flying on a woodpecker near London and a raccoon riding on an alligator in Florida.