If whales don't come to mind when you think of rainbows, they really should:

The chromatic closeup was captured off the coast of Lahaina, Hawaii when curious humpback whales decided to investigate a tourist boat returning from a day of scuba diving. Greg Gallent, a tourist on holiday from New York, was lucky enough to have his camera out and ready when the magic happened. 

"The whales were originally around three hundred feet away, but started getting closer and closer and soon they were directly next to the ship," Gallent told Caters News. "We were completely awestruck and didn't think it could get any better, then suddenly they spouted rainbows into the air."

And while there's certainly a little magic about the sight of a massive whale rising majestically out of the deep to shoot rainbows, there's nothing otherworldly going on here. As we noted the last time a humpback decided to spout some colour, these giants can project their breath up to 13 feet (approximately four metres) into the air. When they do this, their breath often carries a fine mist up with it. Add a sunny day and the right viewing angle, and hey presto – rainbows!

Fortunately for enthusiastic whale watchers, these are not just one-off humpback stunts. Here's a grey whale in Depoe Bay, Oregon getting in on the act as well:


Top image: Gary Lloyd-Rees/Flickr