The ocean is full of wondrous creatures, but few are capable of changing your perspective on life. Gavin Bladen, captain of the 44.2m HEMISPHERE, says: ‘It’s hard to put into words the emotions you experience when you swim with a humpback whale for the first time. Humbling, a mutual respect and trust, a degree of communication, a thrill, a palpable bond, and a chance of a lifetime. If I place you in the water with a full-grown whale and her calf, you’ll be flooded with emotions that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.’
Imagine a mother humpback and her young calf calmly hanging near the surface. After about 10 minutes, the mother decides to let her baby venture nearer. It turns sideways to make eye contact with you, and in that moment everything else fades away. It’s just you and this curious, 6m (20ft) baby humpback, eyes locked, floating together in a warm, tropical sea.