Few animals are as majestic and awe-inspiring as whales. Their sheer size, coupled with their underwater elegance, makes seeing just a hint of one breaking the ocean's surface a life goal for many of us. Among the more well-known of these glorious giants is the musical, acrobatic humpback. "This photo was taken in August off of the island of Vavau in the Kingdom of Tonga," says photographer Karim Iliya, "moments after this juvenile humpback whale took a sharp turn to avoid smashing into me. See more of his story in anew episode
ofThis Happened Here
on Discovery's newSeeker network
"The babies are these curious clumsy little creatures that can fill you with so much joy that your heart feels like it will explode from your chest," Iliya said.200-Year-Old Whale May Hold Clues to Long Life
Not every interaction is so calm and peaceful. When you swim with whales, sometimes you get a playful juvenile, but other times you can find yourself in the middle of an all out frenzy. This is what happened to Iliya after jumping into the water, not knowing battle-scarred adult male humpbacks were fighting over the right to mate with the lone female.Killer Whales Spied From Drone's Eye View: Photos
"Four large male humpback whales emerged, two of them broke off and started smashing into each other blowing bubbles, tails whipping around," Iliya said. "They came closer and closer all the while fighting, a 5-meter-long tale whipped near my face, and the thought occurred to me that I would be pulverized between these two school bus sized animals."Sperm Whale Caught on Camera in Rare Encounter
"Looking back on the images that I had taken I see that the whales were looking at me, even as they fought. It is a true testament to the gentleness of these giants that they would take the time and effort to avoid crushing this tiny little creature before them. "VIDEO: Whales Get Sunburned, Too
"The thing that I loved most about photographing humpback whales is the level of interaction that you have with them. They are highly intelligent creatures with distinct personalities and will convey a range of emotions and attitude like curiosity and playfulness, or even annoyance."Killer Whales Learn How to Speak Dolphin
Four dead sperm whales have washed up on beaches in eastern England, coastguard authorities said Sunday, a week after similar deaths across the North Sea in Germany and the Netherlands.
They are thought to be from the same pod as a dead whale on Hunstanton beach, 25 kilometres (15 miles) across The Wash bay, which stranded and died on Friday.
That young adult male was part of a group of six in The Wash.
“It is unknown where the rest of the pod are at this stage,” the MCA said Sunday.
The whales are around 15 metres (48 feet) long.
“We believe that the three whales at Skegness died at sea and then washed ashore,” said coastguard Richard Johnson.
“We are advising members of the public to stay away from the beach.
“We have informed the Receiver of Wreck and we are expecting an officer from the Zoological Society of London to attend the scene and carry out tests on the whales.”
Doctor Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, said the whales probably swam south looking for food but got disorientated.
He believed they could have been part of a large pod, some of which beached in the Netherlands and Germany.
The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales, and the largest toothed predator.
It can measure up to 20 metres (67 feet) long and weigh over 50 tonnes.
It is 10 years since a northern bottlenose whale swam up the Thames in central London, bringing thousands to the riverbanks to see the extremely rare sight.
The whale died during a rescue attempt on January 21, 2006.