Sam Synstelien and Nicholas Taron both work as commercial eel fisherman for Native Pacific Fisheries. While they were out on their boat one day, they spotted something that broke their hearts.
A humpback whale had gotten entangled in a buoy and was stuck.
Sam and Nicholas quickly alerted the U.S. Coast Guard about the problem, but when they learned that no one would be able to reach the whale for a few hours, they knew they had to take action themselves or the poor whale might not make it.
The danger of jumping in the water with the frightened humpback was great – one slap of her tail could kill both of them – but the young men decided to take the risk.
They tried twice to free the whale, but each attempt was unsuccessful. Not willing to give up, they decided to try again.
As he got ready to jump in for the third time, Sam stood on the bow of the boat psyching himself up for the dangerous rescue mission. Then he leaped into the water, quickly climbed onto the whale’s back, and freed her from the web of ropes.
Nicolas filmed the harrowing rescue while steering the boat and was able to help Sam get back aboard as the whale swam off.
Both fishermen say they were so full of adrenaline that fear wasn’t an issue during their three attempts to save the whale. Only afterward did they fully realize the great magnitude of what they had done.
Had these heroes not worked to save the whale that day, who knows what might have happened.
We applaud these men for their bravery and compassion!
One thing is for sure: neither one of them will ever forget this incredible encounter!
Were you amazed when you saw Sam jump in the water and climb onto the whale’s back? Then share it!