It is often said that whales are highly intelligent and sweet animals. They’re also incredibly large animals and they can be pretty intimidating to be around. When one woman found herself snorkeling near a whale that was beginning to push into her, she was rightfully intimidated!
20. Whale Biologist
Nan Hauser is a whale biologist that has been studying whales for the past 28 years. She has been both conducting research and also diving in with whales to better understand them. It has been quite the fulfilling career for her.
Hauser also happens to be the president and director of the Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation. This research group has been responsible for researching everything about whales including population levels and feeding behaviors.
18. Snorkeling Trip
Since her job requires her to research whale behavior, Hauser has gone on many snorkeling trips to get close to the animals. However, on this most recent trip, something happened that she will never forget for as long as she lives!
17. The Trip
Hauser had an entire trip planned out for the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. She was expecting for things to go about as they usually do, however, this time something unbelievable happened. The 63-year-old still can’t believe it.
16. Humpback Whale
While snorkeling in the ocean, Hauser was studying the various whales around her. Suddenly, in an immediate way, one humpback whale began to swim toward Hauser quite quickly. This was incredibly scary as humpback whales are huge animals!
15. Huge Animal
The humpback whale that was swimming toward Hauser weighed around 40 tons and was around 60 feet long. Can you imagine an animal of that enormous size rushing toward you? Hauser had no idea why it was happening!
Eventually, the whale made it toward Hauser and began to nudge her forward using its closed mouth. The whale did this for around 10 minutes and even used its pectoral fin to hold onto Hauser and move her out of the water. What was the whale doing?
13. So Scared
Naturally, Hauser was terrified while the situation was unfolding. She had no idea why the whale was nudging her around and she immediately thought the worst. Hauser described the most horrifying thought that she had while in the water.
12. Horrible Thoughts
“I was prepared to lose my life,” Hauser said. “I thought he was going to hit me and break my bones.” Although Hauser was there to study the whales, her and her team were also in the middle of working on a nature film. This is how the team was able to film the interaction.
The whale persistently pulled Hauser out of the water and you can see from her POV that the whale was very urgent about it. Then in the video, you can see another whale trailing behind the one that was pushing Hauser.
10. Out of Water
Finally, the humpback whale had managed to push Hauser completely out of the water. But why had the whale been so persistent? Well, Hauser was shocked when she finally learned the truth.
9. On the Boat
Hauser was finally on the boat, however, she didn’t come out unscathed. She was covered in cuts and scratches from the barnacles that were on the sides of the whale. However, that was nothing compared to what could have happened if the whale hadn’t intervened.
8. Helping Out
It seems that the whale was actually helping to save Hauser’s life. There in the water was a tiger shark and it seems that the humpback whale had seen it and decided to help. Hauser was shocked when she realized what she had just been saved from.
“I wasn’t sure what the whale was up to when he approached me and it didn’t stop pushing me around for over 10 minutes. It seemed like hours. I was a bit bruised up,” Hauser wrote. “I’ve spent 28 years underwater with whales and have never had a whale so tactile and so insistent on putting me on his head, or belly, or back, or, most of all, trying to tuck me under his huge pectoral fin.”
“I tried to get away from him for fear if he rammed me too hard, or hit me with his flippers or tail, that would break my bones and rupture my organs. If he held me under his pectoral fin, I would have drowned,” she continued. She explained that she tried her best not to panic.
5. Avoiding Panic
“I didn’t want to panic, because I knew that he would pick up on my fear. I stayed calm to a point but was sure that it was most likely going to be a deadly encounter. I feel a very close kinship with animals, so despite my trepidation, I tried to stay calm and figure out how to get away from him.”
4. Tiger Shark
Hauser then explained how she managed to not see the tiger shark at all. “I never took my eyes off him which is why I didn’t see the shark right away.” How did Hauser feel about being saved by a whale in the most outstanding way?
3. No Touching
“I never touch the whales that I study unless they are sick or stranded on the beach. In my head, I was a bit amused since I write Rules and Regulations about whale harassment – and here I was being harassed by a whale.”
2. Sharing Footage
Since her and her team were able to catch the interaction on camera, Hauser hopes to continue to share it with many. Her hope is that the footage will help to further educate others on whale and their behavior patterns.
Hauser is incredibly grateful to the whale for the thoughtful gesture. “Maybe the shark wasn’t going to attack me,” she says, “but he [the whale] was trying to save my life.”