It may sound like something from the imagination of Lisa Frank, but caught in the right light, whales can exhale a rainbow.
According to Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary, the whales can hold their breath for up to 45 minutes, but usually surface every 7 to 15 minutes. Earlier this month, photographer Mark Girardeau and friend Jason Anderson captured drone footage of a humpback whale surfacing to exhale. Humpback whales actually have two blow holes located on the top of their heads, and when they breath out they release warm air from their lungs. In the mist formed by the exhalation, you can see a happy rainbow in the drops. The whale was spotted off the coast of Newport Beach, California.
But this isn’t the only example of the seemingly magical occurrence. Here’s another whale rainbow, seen from a whale watching cruise in Nova Scotia.
A number of photographers have also captured whale rainbows.
There are also examples of other species of whales breathing out rainbows, like this orca:
Surfacing from the ocean to spray rainbows isn’t the only fascinating ability of humpback whales. These animals can sing different songs to each other, and can migrate thousands of miles across the sea using impressive navigational skills.