Catching a glimpse of a surfacing humpback whale is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. These giant mammals of the sea breach for air for just a few seconds before returning to the deep blue waters.
A professional diver, James Moskito, noticed a humpback whale on the surface of the water — but he could tell something was wrong.
Moskito was working off the coast of San Francisco with a group of volunteers when they spotted the whale. What at first was a moment of excitement, quickly turned to distress and anxiety.
“I remember it like it was just a few minutes ago,” Moskito recalls.
Usually, humpback whales only surface to the water for a moment or two before returning underneath; this whale was spending far too much time on the surface — Moskito found it to be alarming.
“The whale came up on a breath, came up, put its eye above the surface… looked at me, I could tell it was looking at me, and it just stayed there,” James said. James swam out to the whale put his hand on its eye and told the whale, “I’m here to help you, I’m not going to hurt you.”
Moskito decided to take a swim around the whale to try and figure out what was wrong — he was stunned at what he discovered. It was amazing that this whale was even still alive.
The humpback had a 3,000-pound anchor wrapped around its tail and body.
Moskito couldn’t believe what he was looking at; he knew he had to do everything he could to free this whale. Some of the rope had gone into the blubber a few inches deep.
He could sense that the whale was asking for his help by the sad and exhausted look in its eyes.
After working for hours on end in shark-infested, frigid waters, Moskito was finally able to free the whale from the mile-long line that was dragging the mammal down. It was eventually able to swim free.
Once the whale realized it was free, it began swimming circles and figure eights around its rescuer.
The giant sea creature even swam straight toward the other divers as if to give them all a big “thank you” for saving its life. It was clear that the whale was overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion.
It’s horrific to think about how long that anchor might have been wrapped around the poor thing’s tail. It such an amazing relief to know that it’s free.
The incredible moment is relived through the video below, and I’m sure it’s a moment those divers will never forget.
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