I guess few people are lucky enough to have a close encounter with the whale, especially in the water. We are very fortunate to have one of the most inquisitive of them all actively looking for interaction with people, right on my own door step. Basically, if no one would be in the water, the whales would get bored, and look somewhere else for entertainment.
I have seen several places now, where whales display this kind of behaviour. Often i feel we don't even deserve to be treated with so much joy, after all we have done to this species. I think if we now finally value everything around us, and whales actually do recover, if we eliminate all the other stress factors and dangers they are facing, we will probably get to enjoy their presence a lot more and a lot closer, as whales learn from year to year and increasingly looking for "people' watching tours.