Nan Hauser, an acclaimed marine biologist, who dedicated 28 years of her life to the preservation and protection of marine life, specifically whales, never thought that her life would be saved by one.
The marine biologist who is also the director of the Cook Islands and Wildlife Centre, was exploring the waters of the Cook Islands located in the South Pacific Ocean, looking for whales to study.
It was during her exploration that she spotted a humpback whale, an endangered majestic creature of the sea known for its melodic mating song and the size of a school bus, swimming with her.
Nan decided to swim closer towards the humpback whale in order to have a better study of it. Knowing about the playful nature of humpback whales, Nan did not touch it in order not to bother it from doing its business.
But the majestic humpback whale seemed to have a different thing on its mind. The whale came after her, consistently nudging and pushing. Even after the marine biologist tried to get away from the whale, its nudging and pushing were still relentless.
“He put his eye next to my eye. I was like what is going on here. He didn’t want to hurt me,” Nan explained.
“He had me on his head and he rolled me over and I was on his chin and then I was down his pectoral fin and he wouldn’t leave me alone. He wouldn’t stop!”
Nan sensed that the whale meant well, however, she couldn’t understand what the fuss is all about. In her 28 years of experience working with whales of all kinds, this was the first time that something like this happened to her.
Although Nan had close and great encounters with humpback whales, even experiencing the touch of their pectoral fin over her head, still she admitted that she got scared.
“I was really scared. I mean, who wouldn’t be scared? Rolling around and rolling down the back of a whale,” Hauser admitted.
“I kept thinking, ‘Get me out of here!’ Then he lifted me up on his pec fin. Literally out of the water and I’m yelling to everybody on my boat, ‘Somebody come help me.’”
Her one-of-a-kind encounter with the humpback whale went on and on for more than 10 minutes before she finally realized what was truly happening.
Lurking nearby was a huge tiger shark, a shark specie known to attack humans, and all the humpback whale was trying to do was to protect her.
“I went, ‘Oh my God, he was protecting me,” she recalled in an interview. “The whale got me to the boat he made sure I’m Ok.”
Nan’s nervous laughter is heard on the video when she turned around and saw that the humpback whale was still nearby, spouting water out of his blowhole.
“I love you too, I do. I love you!” Nan told her lifesaver.
Being an experienced marine biologist, Nan knew about the accounts of humpback whales hiding and protecting seals underneath their pectoral fins from killer whales.
“I just never heard of them doing it for humans. These animals have an altruistic behavior they will risk themselves to save another species like a fireman would run into a house on fire. I can’t say for sure what was going on in his head but he protected me from potential danger. This was a once in a lifetime experience.”
It is true that there are numerous accounts of the humpbacks’ altruistic behavior. And although there is no clear and official explanation as to why humpbacks’ risk their lives to protect other species, one theory logically explains why.
According to one logical theory, the reason why humpbacks behave this way to protect weak and vulnerable creatures is because of their evolved rescuing behavior.
Humpbacks are vulnerable creatures as well when they are young, thus grown humpbacks hide their young in their pectoral fin and protect them from all kinds of predators like orcas and killer whales.
So perhaps, their rescuing behavior evolved in a way that they help all kinds of species get through their weakest point in life. Interfering with all kinds of predators from killing them.
The renowned marine biologist shared how she always assumed that a whale would be the cause of her death. Never once did she imagine that her life would be saved by a whale in the most incredible way.
Watch Nan’s truly incredible and breathtaking encounter with a humpback whale, a great resident of the sea which protected her from being harmed by a dangerous tiger shark!