|REAL PHOTOGRAPH; |
Example: [Collected via e-mail, December 2010]
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off that they must act immediately. The only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her, a very dangerous proposition. Just one slap of the tail could kill a rescuer. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually she was freed.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around, she was thanking them.. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same."
Origins: At about 8:30 AM on Sunday,
A rescue team was hastily assembled, and by
Moskito said about 20 crab-pot ropes, which are
The crab pot lines were cinched so tight, Moskito said, that the rope was digging into the animal's blubber and leaving visible cuts.
At least 12 crab traps, weighing 90 pounds each, hung off the whale, the divers said. The combined weight was pulling the whale downward, forcing it to struggle mightily to keep its blow-hole out of the water.
The divers told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter that the whale seemingly thanked them for its deliverance once the rescue operation was complete:
"It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it. It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun. It seemed kind of affectionate, like a dog that's happy to see you," Moskito said. "I never felt threatened. It was an amazing, unbelievable experience."
Whale experts say it's nice to think that the whale was thanking its rescuers, but nobody really knows what was on its mind.
"You hate to anthropomorphize too much, but the whale was doing little dives and the guys were rubbing shoulders with it," Mick Menigoz said. "I don't know for sure what it was thinking, but it's something that I will always remember. It was just too cool."
Another image of an ensnared sea denizen has also been used in conjunction with this item, although it too does not depict the event described. This picture shows what was described in news accounts as a different whale photographed trying to escape from a net in which it had become trapped off Australia's Gold Coast in September 2005:
Last updated: 14 August 2015
Fimrite, Peter. "Daring Rescue of Whale Off Farallones." San Francisco Chronicle. 14 December 2005. Shanks, Anna. "Diver's Extraordinary Encounter with 50ft Humpback Whale." Metro.co.uk. 19 August 2009.