My husband & I went to Tonga to escape the NZ winter. We heard about the opportunity to swim with the Humpback whales - as it was breeding season when they are in the area, and Tonga is one of only a couple places in the world where you can do that. While we were a bit apprehensive, and truly thought about whether we just intruding on them, we ultimately decided to go. We were picked up in a small boat with the driver and two lookouts/guides. The guides were looking to find the whale(s) and when they did and the driver got us close, the guides would jump in and we would follow. We were told immediately to look down, it was all a bit chaotic and unnerving, seeing one of natures most massive creatures swimming below us. But to see them moving so swiftly through the water and hearing them talk to each other- yes, they do talk was a truly magical experience and literally took my breath away - I do believe I hyperventilated at one time.
It may not be for everyone, and each person has to make that moral decision for herself/himself, but for us it was not only the best moment of 2012, but of our lives.