Diver Craig Capehart filmed a magical rare moment just off the southeast coast of South Africa. There he witnessed a giant 40-ton humpback whale leap completely out of the water. The whale appeared surprisingly agile for such a large animal and awed other boaters as it splashed down. The majestic beast performs an act known as chopping. Researchers believe gaps are a way for distant groups to communicate, as opposed to tail and fin swipes, which are intended for close-range communication.
Although it is considered a violation whenever a whale's body is at least 40% above sea level, it is quite rare for its entire body to fly out of the water. This makes Capehart's close-up video a unique gem. “It appears that no adult humpback whale has ever been recorded fully leaping out of the water! A really very rare event,” writes Capehart. "Dolphins and even great white sharks have been seen flying out of the water, but this is the first time for an adult humpback whale!"