Already it’s been a great year in terms of discovering brand new marine life; from a friendly looking octopus to ghostly whales caught on camera who had previously only ever been traced through DNA from their corpses.

The headline act of many cetacean-viewing boat tours, humpback whales are perhaps the most confident of Balaenopteridae. Often seen attempting many forms of “acro dancing” out of the water, they attract crowds from all over the world to watch them – either by joining them underwater or staying dry on the tour boat deck. We bring you six of the best places to see humpback whales.

Goggle-eyed “dogs” of the ocean, seals and sea lions receive much playful attention from divers who travel the world to see them. Often treated much like their topside doppelgängers, pinnipeds are able to demonstrate an understanding of transitivity and simple syntax, and have been taught simple tricks by travelling circus trainers and zookeepers for centuries. To help you fin-kick your way to finding your very own underwater companion, we bring you eight of the best places to dive with them.

Star of Free Willy, and now immortalised once again in the heartrending documentary Blackfish, do these charming whales really deserve the name “killer”?