Many of us who have animals in our lives realize that they can be a protection. They help to make us happy, which is a protection in itself but sometimes, they may go above and beyond when it comes to protecting the family. This is not only true of domesticated animals, even wild animals can sometimes step up to the plate.
This is something that Nan Hauser learned recently in the most amazing way. For 28 years, she protected whales as a marine biologist but on this particular day, it was the whale that was protecting her. What is interesting is the fact that she always thought that she would be killed by a whale. As the president and director of the Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation, she had to work with whales on a regular basis.
This video was shot on an October day near the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Nan was studying whales and searching for them when one of the humpback whales decided to come up and get a little up close and personal. Nan knew that she shouldn’t touch the creature but he was going to come up and touch her instead. She said:
“That whale was intent on keeping me away and hiding me and I didn’t know why. He came right for me he didn’t stop. He kept pushing me and I was like ‘Whoa, whoa,’ you know.”
She tried to push herself away but the humpback was persistent and it just kept nudging her. She couldn’t explain it.
Although Nan had worked with whales for many years, this was the first time she had run into this particular problem. She explained it in this way:
“He put his eye next to my eye. I was like what is going on here. He didn’t want to hurt me. 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!”
As you can imagine, she was completely shaking with fear. In her words:
“I was really scared. I mean, who wouldn’t be scared? Rolling around and rolling down the back of a whale. 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.’”
It was then that Nan realized the whale was trying to protect her. She saw that there was a huge tiger shark in the nearby waters so this humpback was actually her hero!
After Nan got back on the boat, she was shaken but she let everyone know she was now safe from the shark. She turned around and saw that the whale was now saying his goodbyes. She describes the scene:
“I got to the back of the boat and I was just laughing but it was sort of a nervous laugh like I lived through this. Why did this happen to me? This is crazy and I’ve been doing this for 28 years. They call me the whale witch, I’ve had a lot of close encounters and great encounters.I’ve had the come up and have their pectoral fin come up over my head. There are a lot of accounts of humpbacks hiding seals underneath their pectoral fins from killer whales.”
She then told the whale, I love you too!
“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.”