A South African photographer captured a once-in-a-lifetime image when a submarine photobombed her shot of a whale in mid air

Business Insider SA
Image by Tracy-Lee Wise.
Image by Tracy-Lee Wise.
  • Local Simon’s Town resident Tracy-Lee Wise has captured a once in a lifetime image of a whale and a photobombing submarine. 
  • While whales and the submarine are often spotted around these waters, images of the two so close together and in the same frame are rare.   
  • Reddit readers identified the submarine as being the SAS Manthatisi (S101). 
  • For more stories go to  

Simon’s Town resident Tracy-Lee Wise captured a once in a lifetime image after she photographed a whale in mid-air being photobombed by South African submarine. 

“I have been hoping to capture a whale breaching for the last few weeks, but as they are so unpredictable haven’t had much success. It came together so beautifully in a way that no one would be able to plan with having the whale breaching and the submarine so close together. It all boiled down to right time, right place,” Wise told Business Insider South Africa. 

While whales and the submarine are often spotted around these waters, images of the two so close together and in the same frame are rare.   

“Due to so many sightings of whales along the coastline lately between Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek I had spent the day heading from beach to beach to try and capture them. It was my fourth trip down to Long Beach, Simon’s Town for that day, which is when I spotted a whale swimming close to the shoreline,” said Wise. 

See also: Police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks around the world are taking aerial photos of their equipment in a viral 'Tetris challenge'

“In the beginning it wasn’t very active, only being able to see its back as it swam along before it disappeared completely. Then suddenly, without warning, it started to breach in front of the submarine and that is when I started snapping away,” said Wise. 

The photobombing submarine, identified by readers on Reddit as being the SAS Manthatisi (S101), was making its way out of the Simon's Town harbour when it interjected Wise’s shot.  According to the thread, the sub is smoking because it is running its diesel generator to charge its batteries needed for use underwater.

See also: 25 stunning photos of synchronised swimmers taken at the perfect time

“The moment happened so suddenly, I just took the opportunity to try and get the best shot possible and capture the beauty of a once in a lifetime moment,” she said. 

As the pic started to spread over social media one reader, whose husband was on board the submarine, kindly sent the post on to the crew. 

Tracy-Lee Wise
Source Facebook.

Wise started taking photographs 6 years ago with a tiny hand held Samsung camera and enjoys taking scenic and wildlife photographs.  

Receive a daily email with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa:

Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo