It's not every day you come in close contact with a Humpback Whale. Chances are slim to none that you ever will. This group of tourists, however, can say they not only saw one, but also saved its life. On Valentine's day in 2011, they were sailing off the coast in the Sea of Cortez when they came upon a young Humpback Whale that appeared to be dead.
They floated next to the whale for several minutes but saw no signs of life until, suddenly, the whale rose slightly out of the water and forcefully exhaled.
One of the men on the boat decided to go in for a closer look. As he approached the whale he could tell she was severely entangled in a gill net used by local fisherman. He started to free her but the whale started to freak out. He was able to free only the dorsal fin before having to swim back to the boat.
Back on the boat, they called for assistance but were told that it would be up to an hour before any rescue help could arrive. The men decided there was no time to waste; they needed to free her immediately. They had one knife on the boat, so they got to work hauling and cutting until they could release her.
After about an hour of exhausting work, she was finally free. The men burst into laughter as they watched the enormous whale swim off, and the men were overjoyed at the fact that they just saved the life of a Humpback Whale.
They named her Valentina and, for the next hour, she showed her gratitude and her excitement at being freed. She jumped, and slapped the water with her fin, putting on a show for her new-found friends. It was clear that she was overwhelmed with appreciation.
What an incredible experience for everyone on the boat, and we thank them for their efforts in saving this amazing whale.