A GROUP of jetskiiers experienced a "once in a lifetime" encounter with a young humpback whale off the coast of Airlie Beach.
Whitsunday Jetski tours and their guests said the incredible experience happened on their Two Island Safari jetski tour enroute to Daydream Island.
Tour guides Ian Wilson and Levi Shapendonk spotted the whale about 1km away and "decided to have the guests shut down the jetski engines and enjoy the spectacle from afar".
But the curious whale loved the company, as within 10 minutes it had swum to just 60m away from them.
To the jetskiiers' delight, the young whale surfaced just metres from the jetskis - close enough for a whale selfie or two.
"We had our tour group, grouped quite close together and the whale moved from ski to ski for over an hour giving us a show," Mr Wilson said.
"He was so inquisitive and just didn't want to leave us alone."
Mr Wilson has worked with whale populations in different parts of the world, including Tonga where guests often dive and swim with humpbacks and has been in the Whitsundays working on the water for more than six years.
"At all times I was aware of the protection of these amazing creatures, and respectful of the rules, it's fantastic that they're so inquisitive and trusting of us," he said.
"Treating these encounters carefully will surely see many more wonderful interactions during the season.
"I've never experienced anything like this encounter before, it was magical and will go down as one of the highlights of my life on the water."
The young whale certainly wasn't shy, surfacing and blowing air, flicking his tail and casually swimming around the excited onlookers as they filmed him playing in the water.
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