By Lucy Harvey

This series of impressive shots captured the moment lucky whale watchers got up close and personal with the gigantic animals.

The whales pop out of the water to say hello to the watchers who had been waiting so patiently for theto make an appearance.

Laurel Stiles, a retired teacher from Gardnerville in Nevada, USA, captured the moment a sailboat full of people all appear to miss a waving humpback whale ofthe coast of the Hawaiian island Lanai, near Maui.

@mike_korostelev / CATERS NEWS
Laurel was a few miles from the coast of the Hawaiian island Lanai, near Maui – where she lives for two months of the year – when she saw the friendly whale repeatedly breaching.

Oskar Lehner took the fantastic footage of people on a boat tour having an extremely close encounter with grey whales in Laguna Oja de Liebre in Guerrero Negro, Mexico.

The group of whale watchers encountered a group of playful grey whales and their babies after the majestic mammals pushed their boat around.

Wildlife photographer, John Goodridge, has captured the magnificent moment a pod of playful humpback whales truly got UP CLOSE and personal with a boat full of delighted tourists while on a whale-watching cruise out of Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia.

The Yorkshire native – who moved to Australia 25 years ago – said it was one of the ‘best days’ of the entire whale season due to how incredibly close the mammals came to the boats.

A pair of happy humpback whales have been captured performing a mesmerising rare DOUBLE BREACH directly in front of a boat full of stunned tourists.

Photographer Rachelle Mackintosh snapped the incredible moment while on a Go Whale Watching cruise operating out of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She said: “It was truly a once in a lifetime show and at one point the whales were so close I could even smell their breath.”

whale has managed to disguise itself as a giant rock while pulling up next to a boat during migration.

Franco Banfi took the images to illustrate the lengthy migration these whales endure across Baja California, Mexico on the Pacific coast. Barnacles grow across the whales’ skin which in this instance has caused the whale to appear rock-like.

A drone has captured incredible footage of a grey whale pushing a boat. The playful whale – who is bigger than the boat – can be seen pushing it gently with his nose.

Jose G. Ruiz Cheires, who lives in Baja California Sur, Mexico, captured the epic footage whilst visiting the grey whale sanctuary. He said: “The whale went underneath the boat and came out on the other side to interact with the tourists.

A drone has captured the incredible close encounter an expedition team had with a pod of orcas. These giants of the sea can be seen swimming past the group in the boat near Sakhalin Island, Russia.

The images were captured by expeditions leader, Mike Korostelev of Moscow, Russia. Mike said: “We had been searching for orcas in the area to snorkel with for six days.

A baby whale amazed snorkelers by popping up to say hello. The interaction was caught on camera by freediver Erez Beatus in Ha’apai, Tonga.

The group of snorkelers are clearly surprised as a humpback whale breaks free of his pod to breach the surface. Erez said: ” We floated on the surface as a mother rested below the surface while her baby occasionally came up to breathe.

The interaction was very gently and relaxed so none of us was expecting it when suddenly the baby swam past me and breached right between me and one of the guests.”

A pod of friendly whales got up close and personal to a boat full of stunned tourists to give them a majestic aerobatic display full of every trick in the book.

Photographer, John Goodridge, captured the pictures out of Sydney Harbour, Australia and said: “The mesmerising show of confident whales lurching themselves out of the water just feet from tour boats was the best he had seen this season.”

This is the spectacular moment a humongous humpback whale lurched out of the water right next to a boat full of excited tourists.

The magnificent shot was captured by marine biologist Cassandra Smith while on a Whale Watching Sydney cruise that was operating near Bondi, New South Wales, Australia.

Whale hello there! A boat full of tourists were delighted when this pod of whales swam over to greet them – and one lucky photographer managed to get quite the unique vantage point.

Mike Korostelev, who runs the conservation company Whale Watching Russia, took the fantastic snaps in the Pacific Ocean near Tonga. After interacting with the whales from the boat, Mike decided to get into the water to capture some incredible photos.

Eric J Smith captured the funny scene as these avid whale watchers nearly missed the moment of a lifetime when a sneaky whale popped up right behind their boat – as they looked the WRONG WAY.

The group were pictured waiting patiently with their cameras poised during a trip to San Ignacio Lagoon, in Baja, Mexico, but very nearly missed the spectacular encounter by looking in the opposite direction while the whale was less than a foot from their boat.

These whales appear overjoyed at seeing humans for the first time in months as they make their majestic return to Australia’s coastline.

Photographer John Goodridge said there was an air of excitement on the Go Whale Watching cruise that finally set sail once again out of Sydney Harbour, New South Wales. He said the magnificent whales seemed just as thrilled to see the boat full of eager tourists as they were to see them

This newborn humpback whale calf showed off for his mum during the annual migration return – by breaching just metres from a boatload of tourists.

Jonas Liebschner captured these incredible shots of the ‘frisky’ mammal while on a whale-watching cruise at the entrance to Sydney Harbour, Australia.