What would you do if you saw a giant humpback whale swimming towards you while you were underwater? I don’t know about you, but there would only be one thought running through my mind, “Why is this whale so big and I hope it doesn’t hurt me!” I probably wouldn’t be thinking that thought though if I knew more about humpback whales. These gentle giants can grow to be around 50 feet in length and 80,000 pounds in weight, yet their diet consists mostly of krill and small fish — not humans.
You may think that because humpback whales are so big, they would never need the help of a human. According to the following story, however, that may not be particularly true…
James Moskito is a professional diver and volunteer that was in charge of a massive effort in order to free a trapped humpback whale off the coast of San Francisco, California, back in 2005. Moskito recalls,
“I was the first diver in the water, and my heart sank when I saw all the lines wrapped around it.”
The humpback whale was trapped in a massive tangle of rope, and it was up to Moskito and other volunteers to save this poor whale,
“Some of the individual ropes went into the blubber two or three inches deep. I put my hand on the whale and I told the whale, ‘OK. This is gonna hurt.’ The whale was so cooperative, it would open its mouth and a guy would put his hand up inside of it and pull pieces of rope out of the baleen, one by one.”
After a rescue that took over 5 hours, the whale was finally free from the ropes that were equivalent to a 3,000 pound trap. What did the whale do in response to these volunteers’ heroic efforts? According to Moskito, the whale swam next to the volunteers and rubbed up against them. Then the whale dove underwater, came back up to the surface, and approached Moskito and rubbed up against him as a show of affection! Moskito says,
“Out of the 26 years I spent in the military doing high-risk and other rescues, there’s been nothing more gratifying than this rescue. Nothing.”
What did you think about Moskito’s act and the whale’s response? We want to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below!
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