Behaviours of the humpback whale are fascinating to observe and photograph. However, not many are as explosive as the Peduncle Throw. While swimming with a humpback whale in Tonga, a young female did exactly that, 5 meters away from my camera. This powerful manoeuvre is executed when the humpback pivots its head downwards and throws the lower portion of its body, including its flukes and peduncle sideways across the surface of the water in a quick and powerful thrust, resulting in a huge splash of water. This behaviour has been described to be an expression of defence, aggression or play. After the breath-taking moment, the humpback took a dive into the shallows leaving the boom of the peduncle throw still echoing inside me.
Mok Wai Hoe is a photo enthusiast with a special interest in underwater photography and marine life. He has been placed in photography competitions, such as Ocean Geographic Photos of the Year and Our World Underwater, with his most notable accolade being the Master of Ocean Geographic Competition Wyland Award. His images have appeared in several issues of Ocean Geographic, with a special feature of "OGX Emerging Pro Wildlife Photographer" in issue 35/16. In 2015, Mok was inducted into the Ocean Artists Society.