Two lucky divers had the experience of a life-time as they came within touching distance of a humpback whale sunning itself off the coast of Waipatiki Beach in Hawke's Bay.

Rangi Vallance said that although he has seen whales in the Bay few times he has never been able to get as close as he did on Monday.

"It was so close, you could have given it a high five, you could even see the barnacles on it and even look straight into its eyes." Vallance said.

The sunbathing whale, just chilling off the coast of Waipatiki Beach, Hawke's Bay. Photo / Rangi Vallance
The sunbathing whale, just chilling off the coast of Waipatiki Beach, Hawke's Bay. Photo / Rangi Vallance

He said he saw the whale with his dad at around 12.40pm after coming back in after a morning out diving.

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"I had the day off and the weather was great so I gave my dad a call and suggested we went out for a dive," Vallance said.

"The visibility was terrible in the water so I didn't even get in, so we headed home and on the way we saw a breach (in the water) so I took the boat a little closer and then yeah, spotted a humpback whale splashing around.

"It looked like it was sunbathing because it was rolling around and soaking in the sun."

Vallance said that the whale was so close that a couple of times he had to pull the boat away just to make sure he didn't disturb it at all.

"I actually had to shut off the engine because we were so close, but didn't seem to mind us being there and we had to keep moving away because it kept on getting closer and closer.

"But it was only about 200-300m off of the beach so anyone who was on the beach would have gotten a great view of it."

After spending around 30 minutes with whale they decided to leave it alone and enjoy the rest of the afternoon sun.

"That is probably the fourth or fifth time I've seen a humpback," Vallance said.

"But every time I get blown away when I see one, it's just amazing."