Three fishermen were sailing on their boat, Legacy, when they came across a beautiful sight: a large whale came to the surface and expelled air from its blowhole.
However, it quickly became apparent that this was no typical whale sighting.
“Mark comes along side it and we notice that its blowhole was spouting off…it’s trapped. Absolutely trapped,” said Valentine Parnell, one of the Legacy crewman.
The fisherman realized there was no time to call for help given the urgency of the situation, so they acted fast.
Putting their own lives on the line, the men quickly got to work to rescue the injured whale.
The deck boss of the Legacy, Ken Garliepp, said, “I mean it was cutting into him to where he was bleeding, so I don’t know how long it would have been til he’s getting ripped apart by sharks. He definitely needed help.”
Using the boat hooks, the fishermen snagged the lines and began cutting. The old lines were gradually coming off thanks to their efforts.
However, the whale resisted at first, unsure of what was happening. But as the lines came undone piece by piece, something amazing happened.
“It would come and it would roll over and be like, almost showing us where the lines were on its fins,” Valentine said.
Ken added, “Once we started getting stuff cut off, it was like he knew we were trying to help him, you know.”
Despite its injured state, the whale was an intimidating size. Once it was finally freed, it lingered near the boat, swimming around it several times and staying close.
The men believe the whale may have been saying thanks, but no one can tell for sure. It is also uncertain how long the whale was struggling to stay alive – but thanks to the crew of the Legacy, the whale got to roam the oceans for another day.
And as the men prepare for another day out to sea, their experience with the whale is still fresh in their minds.
“To see this massive, beautiful creature, that could absolutely crush you, but doesn’t…It was the most intense thing I’ve been a part of,” Valentine said.
Modestly, the crew believes the boat was simply at the right place at the right time; but overall, the experience will be something they will remember for a lifetime.
“It was a great feeling, a really great feeling,” Ken said.
Valentine added, “If I was to die today, you know, I would know I did something good with my life.”
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