Tourists have no idea a 50-tonne whale is hanging out under their boat

Nadine Kalinauskas
December 20, 2013

Whale-watchers in Argentina couldn't spot the whale: it was too close.

In fact, the 50-tonne southern right whale and her calf were hiding under their little boat, setting the scene for some incredible photographs by wildlife photographer Justin Hofman, who just happened to be nearby in the water.

"Being in the water with a whale is the most humbling experience I've ever had underwater," Hofman told the Daily Mail. "Not only are these animals massive, but they are long-lived, intelligent, cultural beings.

"Swimming along with a curious right whale calf was nerve-racking [sic]. At any moment I thought 'mom' was eventually going to get annoyed with me and swat me with her 15ft tail — and I'd be a goner."

"Yet, with every passing minute we felt more comfortable around each other and they became curious about us and would make closer passes," he added.

Southern right whales flock to the warm shallow protected lagoons of Peninsula Valdez, off the Argentinian coast, each year to raise their offspring.

(Photo from Hypervocal)