While I live in Maui, which is known as the humpback whale capital of the pacific, each year I conduct two workshops dedicated to photographing Humpback whales above and below the surface in Tonga. I go to Tonga because I can that is where I can do it legally. In Hawaii, swimming with Humpbacks is against the Marine Mammal Act, and has still penalties. So, each September since 2006, I have led 2-3 groups to Tonga to swim with, observe, and interact with Humpback whales.
The tours are not about harassing whales just to get a photograph. The entire adventure while dedicated to photography is more about the experience. Once you swim with whales you experience something that resonates deep within your consciousness and you become aware of the relationship whales have with the ocean, and you become a goodwill ambassador that spreads the word. You no longer tolerate hunting whales and become a voice for preserving our environment and preserving our planets natural resources. I call that the icing on the cake.
If swimming with whales is something on your list of must do adventures check out this site, and then contact me. I will be glad to talk story. As of this writing there are still a few spaces remaining on the September 12-23, 2014 adventure.