PORSTMOUTH, N.H. – A New Hampshire man celebrating his birthday on the ocean with his three daughters captured video of something so rare that even marine scientists are jealous — three humpback whales leaping from the water in near perfect unison.
“It was such an uplifting thing to see. Just incredible," Robert Addie said.
The Portsmouth man, now a home remodeler, spent decades on the water as a commercial fisherman in Massachusetts and Alaska. In that time, he said he's seen thousands of whales.
But he never witnessed anything like Monday's whale encounter on a tuna fishing trip off Cape Cod. The excursion with his daughters was for his 59th birthday, as well as to celebrate his safe return from a humanitarian aid trip to Ukraine where he came under heavy artillery fire.
During the fishing trip, he was trying to film some humpback whales about 300 yards (275 meters) from their boat and was having no luck, until he got what he called a “whale ballet.”
“A triple breach is unheard of and a synchronized triple breach is even rarer,” he said. “It’s once in a lifetime. Just very fortunate. I feel God shined down on me to allow me to to capture that.”
To add to the thrill, seconds after the three whales breached and twisted through the air, a juvenile whale did the same thing. Whale experts later told Addie that the aerial maneuvers may have been an attempt to remove parasites or aid digestion.
He has another theory: “I have a feeling that maybe they were teaching or training” the younger whale.
Those same experts also know how rare the spectacle was.
“Even some of the whale experts that have reached out to me, they’re all jealous because they’ve never seen it," Addie said.