By Jamie Smith

This series of photos show sperm whales sleeping vertically – giving them the appearance of underwater pillars.

Florida paramedic and professional underwater photographer, James Ferrara, caught the stunning shots of an entire pod of six of the mighty mammals resting near the surface in Dominica.

James said: “It was surreal being that close to these gigantic, magnificent creatures.

Pic by James Ferrara/Caters News

“We had seen one or two whales at a time all trip, but it was amazing having them all come together at once.”

Sperm whales usually stay close to the surface, but dive to depths 2,500 feet to feed on squid.

At the surface, they either rest or socialise with their family members.

Pic by James Ferrara/Caters News

James added: “This was quite a special moment for me, because not many people in this world have the opportunity or will ever do something like this.

“To share the water with this many sperm whales at once will be something I will never forget and cherish forever.”