Rescue
Family saves humpback whale and capture its majestic “thank you”
What started with a family boating trip ended with a day they will never forget.
Ian Carey
10.12.21

There are so many amazing species that we share this planet with. From time to time, we are able to have real meaningful experiences and communication with them as well. Nature can be a truly beautiful place.

From time to time people will put themselves in danger in order to help an animal in need. Amazingly, sometimes these animals seem to understand what these people did for them. In their own way, they can even show appreciation.

YouTube - Wake Up World
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YouTube - Wake Up World

Family goes on a sailing trip.

Michael Fishbach co-founded an organization known as the Great Whale conservatory and is an avid marine life enthusiast. He was out on a sailing trip with his family and members of his organization when he came across a humpback whale in distress.

YouTube - Wake Up World
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YouTube - Wake Up World

Humpback whale entangled in a fishing net.

Seeing a humpback whale while sailing is usually a joyous experience, but this was different. The whale had become entangled in a fishing net and was barely able to move. At first, the group thought the whale was deceased.

Then they saw it roll over and let out a breath from his blowhole. Michael, his team, and his family knew they had to do something.

They had to save the whale.

YouTube - Wake Up World
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YouTube - Wake Up World

A dangerous situation.

Rescuing an animal in need can often be a dangerous situation. The distressed animal may view their rescuer as a threat. This rescue would have to be done as safely as possible.

YouTube - Wake Up World
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YouTube - Wake Up World

Time was of the essence. The whale was trapped 15 feet below the surface and could not come up for oxygen. Humpback whales typically surface every 4-7 minutes to breathe but have been known to hold their breath for up to an hour.

“When we first approached the whale, she was in horrible shape…The decision to rescue the whale came slowly. We knew there was a risk. But we decided to go for it,” said Michael Fishbach to ABC News.

YouTube - Wake Up World
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YouTube - Wake Up World

A careful rescue.

The team had to both keep the whale calm and use the one knife they had to cut the fishing net. The first thing they were able to do was get the whale’s dorsal fin freed. At this point, Michael says the whale likely realized that they were there to help her.

“She kind of knew we were her chance, we were her lifeline,” Fishbach said.

YouTube - Wake Up World
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YouTube - Wake Up World

It would take an hour but eventually, they were able to completely free the whale from the net.

Then something amazing happened.

YouTube - Wake Up World
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YouTube - Wake Up World

Freed whale puts on a show.

We will never be able to know just what was going through the mind of the whale after she was freed. She seemed to show genuine appreciation for her rescuers and a joy to be alive, however. The whale leaped in and out of the water for the next hour. The family figures she must have jumped out of the water at least 40 times.

“It was a magnificent life form on this planet which was really on the brink of death was free and was just showing its joy of being alive,” Fishbach said.

YouTube - Wake Up World
Source:
YouTube - Wake Up World

In the background of the video, a little girl can be heard explaining what she believed the whale was doing.

“Mommy, I know what she’s doing,” she said. “She’s showing us that she’s all free.”

The family decided to name the whale Valentina. She would eventually swim away from her rescuers but not after having shared some beautiful moments with them.

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By Ian Carey
hi@sbly.com
Ian Carey is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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