Humpback whales spotted off the coast of the UK - including a baby

  • Watch: Webcam captures whale breaching the surfact

Humpback whales have been spotted breaching the surface just off the coast of Cornwall.

There have been multiple sightings of the mighty creatures, including around the Lizard Peninsula and near Penzance.

The National Coastwatch Institution's webcam at the Queens Hotel in Mounts Bay captured the spectacular above footage of a whale yesterday (1 December).

Workers at Polpeor Cafe, on Lizard Point, were also excited when they spotted an adult and a juvenile whale together.

Kaci Clayton was working at the cafe when customers told her about the sightings - and she managed to get footage of the juvenile whale breaching the surfact.

  • Watch baby humpback whale swim off the Cornish coast

She said she rushed outside and was able to capture the moment one of the whales breached the surface of the water.

"I was just coming off my break and I heard my manager shouting my name so I came with my phone and saw the whale," she said.

"I've been working at the cafe for five years and I've never seen anything like it, I've seen dolphins before but never a whale. It's amazing you never think you'll see that while you're at work."

Sightings of humpback whales have, until fairly recently, been extremely rare in Cornwall.

Pi the humpback whale has returned to the shore of the scilly isles Credit: Gareth Tibbs - Above & Below Imagery

But Cornwall Wildlife Trust has recorded more than 75 sightings of them around the coastline since 2019.

Whales were also spotted just off the Isles of Scilly by photographer Gareth Tibbs.

He has been taking pictures of whales off the coast for more than two years and has even named some of the ones that have returned.

He said: "We do get whales that come past the islands. There was a humpback spotted one evening last year but this one, called Pi, arrived in Dec 2020 and was here until Feb 2021 before heading off. This is the first confirmed sighting of him on the island since then."

Marine conservation officer Abby Crosby said: “We were incredibly excited to hear this news.

"Only in the past few years have humpback whale sightings really shot up. Before then, it would’ve been extremely rare to spot one around the UK.

  • “People may not realise how incredible our seas are, even in the winter months.

Credit: Gareth Tibbs/Above and Below imagery

"It’s magnificent to see these creatures up close but, as always, we’d like to encourage people to put wildlife first, be respectful and keep their distance, should they be so lucky as to have an encounter with one of these amazing creatures.” 

Typically sightings of humpbacks increase over the winter months and so the Seaquest Southwest team, which is part of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, is hoping for a flurry of whale sightings over the next few months, as the marine mammals return to our shores.

All sightings of wildlife including humpback whales should be reported to Cornwall Wildlife Trust.