It looks like a giant eel! Photographer captures rare moment world's weirdest whale breaches the ocean surface [DailyMail 2012-07-04]
[Photo] Odd: Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera brydei) are known for their erratic behaviour, often surfacing the water at irregular intervals. They also change directions for no known reason
They are known for their erratic behaviour and ability to change direction for no apparent reason.
So capturing a Bryde's whale breaching the surface of the ocean on camera is incredibly rare.
But as these stunning pictures show, photographer Andy Murch was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time when the majestic animal leaped out of the water and soared through the air.
Mr Murch was on a boat in the Sea of Cortez off the coast of La Paz, Mexico, when the mature whale breached the surface.
Its long elongated body made it look like an enormous eel flying through the air.
The 45-year-old snapper said: 'The whales were swimming fast under the boat prior to breaching.
'It appeared that this one was enjoying the pressure of the wave created by the movement of the boat through the water.
'After shadowing the boat for a minute or two, the whale breached once right off the bow and then disappeared.'
Mr Murch, from Vancouver Island, Canada, added: 'It was fantastic to discover how rarely breaching Bryde's whales have been photographed.'
Bryde's whales feed on plankton, crustaceans and schools of fish, which they engulf in their huge mouths.
The Sea of Cortez is popular with those hoping to get a glimpse of the animal.
They often surface the water at irregular intervals and change directions for unknown reasons.