An amazing encounter off Lady Elliot Island and a moment in time that I will never forget. A mother humpback whale and her calf on their way back down to feed in the plankton rich waters of Antarctica after spending winter in the warmer tropical waters off the north east coast of Australia to mate and give birth. I was snorkelling out in front of the lighthouse at Lady Elliot Island on a day where the ocean was calm and the sun was shining. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I turned to see a mother humpback whale staring straight at me! I was not expecting this and so after recovering from my initial shock, I managed to remember to capture some images as well as take time to be grateful for such an amazing experience. There were thought to be less than 500 humpbacks left when they were being hunted in Australian waters back in the early 1960’s. The good news is that recent estimates of humpback whale numbers are in excess of 20 000 animals roaming our sea.