As soon as the yacht entered the passage in Vava'u in Tonga, it was surrounded by humpback whales, prompting the passengers to jump into the water when they thought it was safe.

Australian free diver Will Rosner, who has been traveling the world for 18 months, was among them, and fortunately he had his camera rolling.

Rosner, 24, captured the moment a humpback whale raised up out of the water in front of him. Thinking quickly, he whirled the camera around and got the perfect selfie.

But he wasn't expecting the close encounter to get even closer.

"At one point it literally picked me up out of the water with its tail," Rosner told Caters News.

The moment occurred soon after the selfie moment and is captured in the video though hard to decipher. You do see the whale coming close and raising its back end, but not much else.

Free diver Will Rosner said the humpback whales put on a show for them

Free diver Will Rosner said the humpback whales put on a show for them. Photo: Courtesy of Will Rosner/Caters News

"Me and the crew swam all day with almost a dozen whales, including a docile mother and her very playful calf," Rosner said. "The whale in the selfie photo was the most curious and played with us for 30 minutes. Splashing us with water. Staring me in the eye before it picked me out of the water with its tail.

"It was like a playful dog showing off dance moves. I had no idea I had a good photo until that night when I looked through all the photos and videos."

Apparently, Rosner didn't know that he was almost swallowed whole by the whale, as one tabloid, the Daily Star, declared with a sensational headline.

Actually, Rosner wasn’t close to having a Biblical Jonah moment, but he was fortunate to come out of his close encounter unscathed. The unpredictable nature of whales is one reason most countries frown on swimming with them.

In fact, it is illegal in many countries, mostly for the protection of the whales. But swimming with humpback whales in Tonga is among the tourist attractions.

"It was really up to [the whale] how close it wanted to get and sometimes it got within touching distance," Rosner said. "It really put on a show for us and it was like it was dancing and playing with us."

h/t The Express

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