Want to see Humpback Whales? Go to Maui in the winter. The whales are plentiful there at this time of the year.
This whale was photographed from a general whale watch tour boat, but the smaller ocean raft type of craft. The smaller boat allows a closer-to-the-water perspective, is faster (often), and is easier to quickly change shooting sides in.
The 70-300 L was the right choice for a lens. Though a majority of the time 300mm was not long enough, it was hard to properly frame this focal length in the rough ocean.
Whale photography can be very challenging. Being able to predict what the whales are going to do and where they are going to do it is the biggest challenge - at least for us non-whale-experts. The whales suddenly show up above water. You quickly frame and shoot what was there a few seconds ago.
This Humpback was especially cooperative as it was in this position long enough for the photo to be captured. And the water was quite calm in this location.
Whales are moving and so is the boat, so relatively fast shutter speeds are typically needed for shooting whales.