"Humpback whales don't deliberately threaten humans — they are good at navigating around stationary boats in the water," photographer Jodi Frediani tells PEOPLE


Whale watchers received quite the treat on Sunday when some humpback whales came incredibly close to their tour boat.

It all happened off the coast of Monterey, California, on a Monterey Bay Whale Watch trip — and photographer Jodi Frediani was there to witness the whole thing.

“Humpback whales don’t deliberately threaten humans — they are good at navigating around stationary boats in the water,” Frediani tells PEOPLE. “I am never afraid when I see them up close. Rather, I’m amazed and overjoyed by their power and magnificence.”

While the creatures appear to be mere inches away from the boat, Frediani was using a telephoto lens. Not that tourists still weren’t impressed.

“Most people scream and squeal when a whale suddenly pops up close to the boat,” says Frediani, one of the boat company’s two regular photographers. “We try to follow the guidelines, staying 100 yards away, but the feeding action is very fluid, and sometimes the fish try to hide under the boat. Then the following whales may suddenly lunge close by.”

Credit: Jodi Frediani/Caters News

Frediani says that when the boats are near feeding whales, captains will put the vessels in neutral as to not scare the creatures. “That way there are no surprises,” she says.

Frediani, who has been swimming with and photographing humpbacks for 18 years, hopes her photos “inspire people to want to protect humpback whales, their food source and our oceans.”

“Nothing makes me happier than watching and photographing lunge feeding humpback whales,” she adds. “The magic and surprise as their massive heads suddenly rocket skyward from the deep fills me with joy every time.”