By Jack Williams
This once-in-a-lifetime video was captured by a pair of stunned sailors, who were fortunate enough to witness a baby whale taking its FIRST BREATHS.
The beautiful drone footage shows how the mother humpback whale helped lift its hours-old calf above the surface of the water, allowing the newborn to breathe through its blowhole for the first time.
The scene was captured off Uonukuhihifo, an island in the Ha’apai group of Tonga, and was filmed by Amy and David Alton.
The pair headed towards the whales after noticing the mother behaving like they had never seen before: floating atop of the water, hardly distinguishable.
Initially, Amy and David, both 33, thought the whale was in distress, but as they moved closed they began to see what was unfolding
It was difficult to make out the calf, Amy said, because the animal’s dorsal fin was curved – a result of the birthing process, which sees the fin straighten after a few hours.
This confirmed to the couple that the newborn could not be more than a few hours hold.
The moment was captured on July 31, 2017, but Amy and David, who are sailing around the world on a six-year voyage, only recently uploaded the footage to their social media channels.
Their travels come under the tagline “Out Chasing Stars,” and capturing whales in Tonga has been one of many fascinating experiences the pair from Texas have had since setting off in October 2014.
Amy said: “David was watching our drone’s view from a small iPhone screen, so he didn’t know how truly amazing the footage was until I got back to the boat, and we immediately pulled the video up on the big screen.
“We see them [whale calves] constantly playing next to their mothers, breaching and tail slapping – basically just learning how to be a whale.
“But to see that newborn calf, which must have been just hours old, is amazing.
“We felt incredibly lucky to catch this, and the Ha’apai group of Tonga is stunningly beautiful.”