40-tonne whale joyfully jumps out of the ocean

These jaw-dropping images show the moment a humpback whale leaped majestically from the ocean, “waving” to a tourist boat before crashing with an almighty splash.

The photographs, taken off the coast of South Africa by marine tour guide Steven Benjamin, captured a sight rarely seen so close.

The 40-tonne humpback put on an incredible aerial display, soaring through the air just meters from a boat as shocked onlookers screamed.

Hello: A humpback whale darted out of the water off the east coast of South Africa, waving to astonished onlookers on a tour guide’s boat.

Having fun like a whale: The humpback whale had been swimming along the surface of the water, but disappeared for 20 minutes before suddenly jumping out of the ocean.

Flying fish: The stunning images were captured by Steven Benjamin, a marine tour guide who happened to have his camera with him at the crucial moment.

The 31-year-old, who was documenting the migration of more than 1,000 whales from the coast of South Africa to the warmer waters of Mozambique and Madagascar, watched as the whale floated in the ocean.

Benjamin thought the humpback’s show was over after 20 minutes hiding underwater, but it suddenly pulled its entire body out of the water, extending a fin to the spectators before falling back down, creating a huge splash.

The giant creature was clearly having fun as the marine tour guide watched from the safety of a boat off Port St John, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

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