Humpback whales come to Tonga to breed and give birth because the waters are free of sharks and orcas that prey on the baby whales.
The Polynesian island nation is also one of the few places on earth where humans can get in the water with humpbacks.
Although there are strict rules about approaching whales, the mammals will, out of curiosity, approach humans.
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Their massive bodies dwarf our own, but they seem to know their own strength, as there are many cases of whales intentionally showing their gentle side by avoiding inflicting injury.
This very lucky swimmer was visited by a playful male humpback, who seemingly was rolling over for a belly rub.
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It repeatedly rolled on its back, exposing its underside and swimming close to her—and the encounter went on for a full 18 minutes.
Their meeting was caught on film, along with the woman’s ecstatic screams of joy when it was all over…
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