A diver was left stunned when he received a high five on the flipper from a playful huge humpback whale.
Mike Korostelev, 35, from Moscow, was on a photography trip in Tonga last month when he was lucky enough to capture the magical moment.
The photographer was shocked he got so close to the gentle giant- and even more so when the beautiful creature returned a high five.
Mike Korostelev was on a trip to Tonga, a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, last month when he captured the incredible moment a whale appeared to high five a diver’s flipper
Photographer Mr Korostelev said the playful whales kept coming close to divers (pictured left corner) while they were swimming
Mike said: ‘Sometimes the adults just don’t notice you, but the baby whales are very curious and try to play with you. So this means you are all the time being hit with flippers or tails.
‘This time something unusual happened. A couple of adult whales got curious and started to play with the divers.’
In his amazing video the huge whales can be seen getting very close to the humans, even touching the men’s diving flippers in what looks like a high five gesture.
The whales linger around the divers and let them get up close as they take pictures and look in awe at the humpbacks.
The photographer also explained how ‘sometimes the mums have an escort – an adult male whale who guards the mum and kid.’
Mr Korostelev said the experience was unique and made even more unusual by the fact the whales were adults as normally it is the baby’s who are more curious
The divers said the whales even lingered around when they tried to get back to the boat
He said: ‘The whales behave differently with humans – but they are never aggressive.’
Mr Korostelev said the scene was so unique, he had never seen anything like it in his eight-year career.
He added: ‘It’s a very unusual feeling when two creatures as big as a bus are playing with you.
‘When we were in water they were making circles around us, ‘stood up’ vertically and hugged us with their huge five metre long flippers.
Humpback whales are known to spend the months of July through to October in the warmer waters of Tonga to give birth to their young
‘When we wanted to head back to the boat, they wouldn’t let us go. We had a feeling they really liked playing with us.’
After a journey north from the icy depths of Antarctica, southern humpback whales use the waters of Tonga to give birth to their young.
From the months of July through to October, the humpbacks spend their time in the heated waters before making the journey back to the Arctic waters.
Tonga is an archipelago of 169 islands in the South Pacific Ocean.