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Diver Shares Incredible Moment With Whale Mother And Baby On The Floor Of The Ocean

Most whale encounters take place on the cusp of where our two worlds meet -- as in a chance sighting of a fluking tail from the shoreline, or a closer look from a boat as they break the ocean's surface to breath. Yet those fleeting experiences, breathtaking as each may be, pale in comparison to actually joining whales in their watery realm.

Few people have ever had the chance to swim among the largest animals on earth, and fewer still have had an encounter quite like this one:

"One of the most incredible experiences of my life, especially underwater, was staring this gigantic mother whale right in the eye and having her look right back at us," says Hofman. "We sat down on the bottom with her and, at one point, she even closed her eye and seemed very relaxed."