Video: Whale Swallows A Diver Whole And Spits Him Back Out Again
Deep sea diver Rainer Schimpf was recently swallowed and then spit out by a giant whale just off the coast of Port Elizabeth Harbour, east of Cape Town. Schimpf is the director of Dive Experts Tours, and he was taking a group out on the water to see whales and other sea life. However, soon after getting out onto the water, the team noticed the water below them was moving, and then a giant Bryde whale came out of nowhere and sucked Schimpf into his large mouth. The group nearby was even able to catch the strange encounter on film. Somehow, Schimpf was able to escape from the large animal’s mouth without being swallowed.
Schimpf says that he and his team split up into two groups to do a sardine run that attracts all sorts of wildlife, from dolphins to penguins, sharks, and whales. The team traveled over 25 nautical miles from shore when Schimpf detected signs of danger in the water, and just a few minutes later he was in the mouth of a whale. Just before the encounter, the diver was filming a shark, but then noticed that everything around him was dark, and that there was a larger whale near him that he did not see.
In a later interview, he said that he felt the pressure on his hip as soon as he noticed the darkness in the water, but he was unable to swim for safety in time. The diver held his breath while he was taken underwater and swallowed by the whale. The diver’s partners said they watched from the boat as the incident happened but had no clue what to expect. Everyone was stunned when the animal came to the surface and spat the diver out. Surprisingly, the diver was entirely unharmed.
“There was no time for fear or any emotion. I knew instantly what had happened. I knew that a whale had come and taken me and I I instinctively held my breath, assuming that it would dive down again and spit me out somewhere in the depths of the Indian Ocean,” he told the Telegraph.
“I felt enormous pressure around my waist which is when I guess the whale realized his mistake. As the whale turned sideways, he opened his mouth slightly to release me, and I was washed out, together with what felt like tons of water, of his mouth, while the whale himself was swallowing all the fish in his throat,” he added.
Silke saw there was a foreign object in the whale, but it was only when I popped up by the boat she realized it was me,” Mr. Schimpf added.
Mr. Schimpf said it that the encounter was “definitely not an attack.”
“On our return in the evening Heinz checked his images, and it was only once I saw them that I realized just how lucky I was to be looking at them. Seconds decide if you become prey, seconds decide your survival and seconds are all that counts,” he said.
Bryde’s whales can reach up to 40-55 feet in length and are able to dive down to a depth of more than 300 meters. According to Wikipedia, “B. brydei gets its specific and common name from Johan Bryde, Norwegian consul to South Africa, who helped establish the first modern whaling station in the country, while B. edeni gets its specific and common names from Sir Ashley Eden, former High Commissioner of Burma (Myanmar). Sittang whale refers to the type locality of the species. In Thailand, locals distinguished Sittang whales different from B.edeni, and it is unclear whether Sittang whales were applied for later classified Omura’s whales by locals.”
It is likely that the whale spit the diver out because human meat is not something that is typically on the menu for these animals. Bryde’s whales mostly feed on a wide variety of different fish.
“It was going for the fish, and I happened to be in the wrong spot. I was collateral damage, and I’m sure it was as frightening for the whale as it was for me,” he said.
It is estimated that there could be up to 90,000–100,000 Bryde’s whales worldwide, with two thirds inhabiting the Northern Hemisphere.