It was an incredible experience that none of us will ever forget, said Michael Fishbach, who narrated his encounter with Valentina, a humpback whale entangled in a fishing net.
As I swam alongside the animal, our eyes met. There were no words we could share, but I wanted to let the whale know that we were there to help.
On Valentine's day, 2011, this incredible story was written in history.
The young humpback whale seemed to be dead when the ship approached her, until she forcefull inhaled and signaled that she was alive. As Fishbach approached to assess the situation, he found out that the whale was tightly entangled by fishing nets. The tail was severely entangled, and fins were pinned to the side of its body. The animal could hardly move, and was in deep pain.
An hour or so was needed until perhaps someone may arrive to help, but Fishbach and his companions thought it may be too late. Their brave rescue mission, then, began.
Around an hour of work finally set free the whale from the suffocating nets.
After swimming away from the boat, Valentina gave spectacular breaches to her saviors, as her thank you dance. At least 40 breaches, tail-slaps and fin-slaps were the greatest reward for the rescuers, as the young whale swam into the ocean of freedom.
We all believed it was a show of pure joy, if not thanks.
With Gershon Cohen, Fishbach co-founded the Great Whale Conservancy to help make oceans safe for marine mammals worldwide. His young son, Galean, was part of this impromptu rescue effort and, undoubtedly, is changed by the encounter, reports Global Animal.
You can visit their website www.eii.org/gwc/, facebook page, and join them in helping to save these magnificent creatures.