A WHALE OF TWO STORIES

Forwarded by Roy Garner

The San Francisco Chronicle treated December 14th readers with a front page story unlike the usual sensation of the press media.

This one was about a female humpback whale that became entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. Hundreds of yards of line had wrapped her tail, torso and mouth, causing her to struggle to stay afloat.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands outside the Golden Gate Bridge and radioed an environmental group for help.

Mick Menigoz of Novato, who organizes whale watching and shark diving expeditions on his boat the New Superfish, got a call for help Sunday morning, alerted the Marine Mammal Center and gathered a team of divers.

The rescue team arrived within a few hours and determined that her condition was so bad that the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her - a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a few rescuers. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

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… pushing them gently around to “thank them.” Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The one who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

Click here for the FIRST STORY.

Coincidentally at almost the same time, a similar event occurred off North Carolina in the Atlantic involving the NOAA, Coast Guard and members of several related agencies. Click here for the SECOND STORY.