A humpback whale rescued after being trapped in fishing nets for several hours has shown no ill effects from her ordeal by putting on a stunning show for tourists.
The 20-tonne mammal – known as Doris – thrilled onlookers as she frolicked off the coast of Cornwall at Falmouth Bay.
Sightseers on a local wildlife cruise were treated to the sight of the gentle giant breaching the surface a total of 25 times.
Keith Leeves, who has run AK Wildlife Cruises for many years, described the moment as ‘pure joy’.
“We know it’s the same whale that got herself entangled in nets in Devon because we could see rope burn marks on her.
“So we know this is Doris.
“But thankfully she was freed by the RNLI and conservationists and there she was putting on a magnificent show on her journey to the Atlantic.”
Last month the 45ft humpback got tangled in whelk pot lines off the South Devon coast around 100 miles away.
She was in danger of drowing from exhaustion as she got herself into difficultes at Blackpool Sands near Dartmouth.
But she was saved in a three-hour rescue as the RNLI and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue joined forces with local fisherman.
A team of nine eventually managed to board a fishing boat and haul the whale to the surface to expose her tail and cut the rope tangled around it.
Capt Lees said whale sightings were becoming increasingly common around this time of year.
He added: “Last year we sighted humpback whales off the coast of Falmouth on April 8.
“But this year they returned on April 11. I was convinced that we’d see them again. and we did which was truly incredible and amazing.”
Capt Leeves, who has seen porpoises, common dolphins, minke whales and many other species of sea mammals over the years, said this was extra special.
He said: “Doris breached 25 consecutive times. She certainly put on a magnificent show for us. She was very relaxed.
“We kept our safe distance. But this was pure bliss to watch.
“She showed her tail then would dive back down and disappear for a few minutes before coming back up and whoosh! She’d breach and do it all again.
“She did it 25 times which was amazing.
“Doris safely passed through our waters and gave everyone onboard something truly special, magical and incredibly exciting memories which will no doubt stay with us all forever.
“Long may these truly beautiful, charismatic and endearing humpback whale swim and return yearly to our Cornish and Devon coastal seas.”