An Australian photographer, who spent nine years trying in vain to photograph Migaloo the albino whale, was finally credited for his long-running tenacity on Friday when he captured all 50 tonnes of the remarkable ʙᴇᴀsᴛ north of Newcastle.These unique photos of Migaloo, which was spotted in Sydney on Thursday, were captured by experienced photographer Ray Alley off the shore of Nelson Bay in New South Wales. The all-white Migaloo, which is migrating north for the winter from the icy waters of Antarctica to the tropical warmth of north Queensland, stopped at Nelson Bay for a rare display of showmanship.Mr Alley captured a magnificent panograph of the ʙᴇᴀsᴛ ʙʀᴇᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ two to three kilometers offshore, his torso totally arched out of the water. It was the first time the 54-year-old had boarded a whale-watching boat since giving up the quest for Migaloo in 2009.Still ʀᴇᴇʟɪɴɢ from the impact of this incredible photograph, he told Daily Mail Australia that it was the “holy grail” of his 27-year photographic career: ‘I expected to see him today, because I ɢᴏᴛ the call from one of the guys at Imagine cruises saying ‘we’ve ɢᴏᴛ him’. But to get a full breach, it’s kind of like seeing Madonna drop her gear on stage, you really want it to happen but you don’t expect it too.’
Mr Alley stated that the photograph ‘eclipses’ his previous best photo of three humpback whales ʙʀᴇᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ off the shore of Nelson Bay in 2004, a phenomenon known as a triple breach. It was recognized as one of the most incredible photographs of the time, maybe the only image showing three humpback whales ʙʀᴇᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ in the same frame.
Mr Alley, who has worked hard over the years, including spending six to seven days on whale watching boats during the peak migration season, said Friday’s voyage was well worth the wait for Migaloo. He stated that it might be something he never gets the chance to do again. At the peak of his career, Alley would spend six or even seven days straight on the boat Imagine trying to get photos of whales during the migratory season.The whale watching exercise on Friday was a popular day for Nelson Bay vessels, with everyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the great white whale in motion. Alley attributed Migaloo’s unexpected breach, which occurred roughly an hour after tailing him around, to the departure of a ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴇᴛɪᴛᴏʀ cruise ship, Moonshadow Cruises, which turned and went for land minutes before Migaloo came out for air.Migaloo’s distinctive albino look is shared by only one other white whale in the world, a Norwegian. On Tuesday, he was spotted for the first time this year by a member of the public near off the coast of Green Cape in southern NSW.On Thursday, he was spotted numerous times again, with camera teams obtaining spectacular pictures of the 35-year-old off the coast of Sydney. As Australia’s much-loved white whale completed his three-month migratory voyage from Antarctica to North Queensland and back, he was photographed and filmed ʙʀᴇᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ in waters off Botany Bay, Cronulla, and Bondi.Migaloo was swimming in a ‘ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴇᴛɪᴛɪᴏɴ pod’ with four other Humpback whales as they tried to ᴊᴏsᴛʟᴇ one another for the leading position while heading north through Sydney.Migaloo, just one of two white humpback whales in the world, breaches in the foreground with a stunning afternoon backdrop of Sydney’s CBD behind him