While out diving in South Africa, one man went on a journey that he would never expect to go on — not in a million years.
One bright and beautiful day in February, Rainer Schimpf was with a documentary crew in the water filming.
Schimpf has been leading diving expeditions for over 15 years at AB Marine Dolphin and Whale Watching.
“It got dark and I felt some pressure on my hip,” Schimpf said. “Once I felt the pressure I instantly knew a whale had gripped me.”
It was a Bryde’s whale.
A Bryde’s whale, these particular types can grow up to 55 feet long and weigh 90,000 pounds.
“There is no time for fear in a situation like that,” Schimpf said.
He remembered how whales like this are actually gentle giants and that the whale whose mouth he was currently in — actually meant him no harm.
But there was not much Schimpf could do.
“The whale [was] considerably larger than Rainer and he realized that resistance would be futile,” a spokesperson with AB Marine, Alan Straton, told The Dodo.
Schimpf had to play the waiting game while the whale realized that he was not a large fish after all — and release him.
“He made sure he had air and relaxed, knowing that [because] the whale’s throat is too small to swallow him, it would eventually expel him,” Straton said.
Schimpf’s team was able to snap a few photos of him while he was trapped in the whale’s jaws before he was set free, seconds later.
“The next moment … I was washed out of the mouth,” Schimpf said. “It gives me a connection to the whale which I don’t think anyone else had before … I’m sure it was a surprise for the whale as well.”
The documentary crew was able to witness the “sardine run,” which is a movement of fish as well as other ocean life along the coast of South Africa — and along with the whale encounter, they were able to capture even more amazing footage than expected.
“These sentient giants of the ocean bear humans no malice,” Straton continued. “This is one more reason to protect and nurture them and all the creatures of the sea.”
YouTube commenters were quick to share their quirky one-liners, saying:
“Rainer – “I don’t think anyone has had this connection with a whale before” Jonah – “Hold my beer”
“Whale swims down to his camera guy “Did you get it?”
“The Whale was sent by Aquaman! Atlantis sends its regards.”
“Whales are gentle giants? Tell that to the sardines.”
“Pretty awesome that the last person to this happened to was in the Bible this dude is truly a lucky man lucky for surviving.”
“Mr. Reiner Schimpf…you’re lucky whale doesn’t have sharp teeth like shark! Be careful, we need more people like you out there. Not all people are lucky as you doing research and study about them. That’s great footage and scary at the same time!”
I think we can all agree that Schimpf had a “whale” of a time!
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