Whales Caught On Camera Creating Rainbows With Their Blowholes

Whales are incredible creatures. You might even say “magical,” and after watching these creatures create rainbows with the mist from their blowholes, you wouldn’t be wrong.

Groups of humpback, blue whales and gray whales were spotted by three different drone-mounted video feeds off the coast of Newport Beach, California.

“We don’t always see this rainbow appear from the breath of the whale, but if we’re at the perfect angle on the right day with our drone, we can capture this rare occurrence,” Jessica Roame, marine education program manager at Newport Landing Whale Watching, Davey’s Locker and Newport Coastal Adventure, told the Mercury News. “It’s unusual and difficult.”

Source: YouTube/NewportWhales
A rainbow forms in the water vapor shot out of a whale’s blowhole.


The same results cannot be reproduced with ordinary sea spray. The mixture of air, water, and mucous coming out of the whales’ blowholes isn’t enough to do it on its own, either. But, thanks to the whales’ warm bodies, turning some of the water into a fine vapor, the perfect conditions can be created for a rainbow to form when sunlight passes through.

Source: YouTube/NewportWhales
These rainbows require just the right conditions.


Roame found the videos while compiling a collection of tour highlights. Travel restrictions, school closings, and stay-at-home orders prompted by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have forced businesses like Newport Landing Whale Watching to rethink their profit model. Roame has been helping her company stay the course by offering virtual classes in lieu of school trips.

“We’ve made the best of our current situation, by bringing a fun interactive whale lecture into the classroom virtually, allowing students to ask me anything about whales,” Roame said.

Source: YouTube/NewportWhales
Drones with cameras caught the video of these “rainbowing” whales.

Students may not be stepping on a whale watching charter boat anytime soon, but they will all be able to enjoy seeing this unique natural phenomenon from the safety of their own homes.

See the rainbowing for yourself in the video below.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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