Sailor films encounter with humpback whale and her calf

Emerald Pellot

If you've ever wanted to see a humpback whale playing with her calf up close, Captain Marjan Golobic has fulfilled your wish.

Captain Golobic caught the footage while he was passing through Vava'u island during a global circumnavigation expedition. Tonga is a breeding ground for humpback whales. They train their calves to swim there before they're strong enough to enter the open ocean. 

The crystal blue water is what makes it possible for the footage to be this stunningly clear. As Golobic gets closer to the whales, every detail on their bodies seemingly comes into focus. The bumps on their heads — which are actually hair follicles called tubercles — are so vivid you could probably count them. There are even visible scratches and blemishes on the two creatures. 

Golobic was likely able to get so close because snorkeling with humpbacks is one of many natural features of Tonga. The Polynesian country allows visitors to swim with the mothers and calves. 

Tonga's tropical waters attract migrating humpback whales from their feeding grounds in Antarctica. Mothers and their calves remain in the area from July to November to allow the newborns to grow in strength and stamina. The calves need to be in tip-top shape to make the journey back south. 

Vava'u, a coral formed island, is where locals and visitors go to observe the majestic creatures from above and below the water's surface. Needless to say, this is definitely something you'll want to add to the bucket list. 

If you enjoyed this article, check out this unreal video of a giant panda giving birth to twins.

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