Nov 22, 2016

'Hey, will you play with me?'

A physiotherapist turned award-winning photographer has captured humpback whales as they play along the Tongan coastline in a series of show-stopping images.

Rita Kluge, who moved from Germany to Sydney's Northern Beaches, spent the 2015 whale season swimming in the deep blue waters near Tonga and Tahiti with whales, sharks, turtles and dolphins.

Ms Kluge, who is an avid surfer, told The Guardian she fell in love with whales when she first moved to the New South Wales coast.

'To look into a whale's eye is life-changing and humbling. Well, it's the same with dolphins but they are mostly very fast in the water. A whale's eye is unexpectedly looking, just like a human eye, kinda checking you out,' she said.

'You're king of in a trance, like a dream. It's not like the polluted or busy world we live in, it's just pristine and quiet and pretty and still…well, not if surfing with dolphins, of course.'

'I had a totally unreal moment when a four metre humpback calf, about two to three months old, was going straight towards me. I thought, wow, that's so cool! Then he stopped right in front of me and I started to giggle. He was standing upright, he looked like he was asking "Hey, will you play with me?"'


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