Beautiful humpback whale sings as he surfaces beside swimmers
Humpback whales are one of the earth's most beautiful and majestic creatures. They are also one of the most complex. Their communication is beyond our understanding in many ways. Researchers have found that the sound of their voices can carry for more than 100 miles through the ocean and each song can contain more information than a large novel. Studies have shown that the songs repeat at specific intervals and that they are far from being random or meaningless strings of sounds.
This large male humpback was travelling with another whale through the islands of Tonga. The whales come here for breeding and to give birth in waters that are safe from predators such as orcas and great white sharks. Almost all humpback whales are born in or near Tonga.
Tonga is one of the few places in the world that allows swimmers to enter the water with the whales, but swimmers must be accompanied by a qualified and registered guide. It is the responsibility of the guide to ensure that the enthusiasm of the guests does not make them forget the 5m (15 foot) distance rule. Whales cannot be touched or harassed in any way and the guides here take this very seriously.
Humpbacks inspire awe in all who see them. For those who have been close enough to hear and feel the vibration of a whale song, it is life changing. These animals are dwindling due to human interference. To lose them forever would be beyond tragic.