Peering solemnly nose-to-nose at each other, this is the Whale Whisperer and his friend - Scar the 10-year-old giant of the sea.
These spectacular images show Andrew Armour bonding with the colossal sperm whale in the warm Caribbean waters off the island of Dominica.
Taken on the weekend, the photographs offer stunning insight into the lives of other pod members travelling with Scar.

Friends: Andrew Armour and Scar the sperm whale consider one another solemnly as they swim in the waters off Dominica last weekend

In one picture a large group of 'socialising' whales come together - giving the impression they are meeting up for a chat.
And in another they arrive in a perfectly formed procession - almost like they are part of an underwater military march.
The jaw-dropping series of images show how a decade spent befriending the gentle giant allows Andrew, 45, to stroke and gracefully swim alongside the 32-foot mammal.
Whale watch operator Andrew, from Dominica, said: 'Our bond began in 2000 when my wife Rhona found him injured out at sea when he was just a calf. We think he might have been attacked by pilot whales but we are not sure.
'His head and dorsal fin were injured and he came to our boat, perhaps seeking some comfort. The most we could do was pet him and his injuries left him with some scarring.

That feels nice: Scar's eyes are closed as Andrew swims alongside him petting him

'From then on he and another young female would approach us whenever they saw our boat. We could even call him over.
'Now he recognises me when I am swimming. I feel like he even knows my voice. I can get very close with him because we trust each other. I even clean lice off him and he lets me do it.
'Other whales in the area don't tend to stay in the same place when humans are around but Scar seeks interaction and seems to enjoy being petted.'
More than a decade later, Andrew is now able to invite other snorkellers and divers along to share in the incredible experience.
Last week he took underwater photographers Eric Cheng, 34, from San Francisco, California, and Tony Wu, 42, from Tokyo, Japan, to witness his amazing encounters with Scar and other sperm whales in his pod.
It meant observers Eric and Tony were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with the huge animal themselves.

Social functions: Other sperm whales in the pod with patches of dead skin flaking off them. Sperm whales often exfoliate by rubbing against one another

'When Tony and I first encountered Scar we had to continuously move out of the way to prevent the large whale from rubbing up against us,' said Eric.
'Soon enough, we overcame the worry that is natural when confronting one of the world's largest carnivores in its native environment.
'We stroked and scratched Scar, who twitched and rolled over repeatedly in what appeared to be enjoyment.
'It's dangerous to anthropomorphise animals - even intelligent ones - but it was absolutely clear in this case that Scar wanted the interaction.'
Anthropomorphism is the human habit of likening animal behaviour to human behaviour.
Eric continued: 'Scar can be now be approached by humans, but it is important to remember his still a wild animal and needs to be treated with respect.'

Just hanging out: Four of the whales suspend themselves upside down in the water

Captivated Tony and Eric spent three days photographing Scar and other members of the pod under the watch of experienced Andrew.
'Each day, the number of whales in the group varied,' said Eric.
'The most we have seen at one time is 13. The pods are made up of adult females, their calves, and male and female juveniles.
'When sperm whales socialise, they often come together head first. Every whale seems to be in physical contact with every other whale, and in addition to the psychological bonding contact may reinforce, their constant rubbing is also a handy way for them to remove dead skin.
'The area around each social group was filled with sheets of dead sperm whale skin, which resembles black plastic bags.
'Also striking was the repeated sonar clicks the whales used to communicate. During social encounters, the sound of rhythmic clicking was overwhelming. It felt like our bodies were shaking.'
Dominica is a small, volcanic island in the southern Caribbean and is less than two hours by plane from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Sperm whales live in the waters around the island all year round.

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