A marine biologist has been diving with wild whales for decades. But last time, in October, as Nan Hauser was off in the waters near the Cook Islands, South Pacific, she would have a one of a kind experience. She was swimming along with humpback whales, and a crew was filming her. But at one moment, a whale swam up and started to nudge her.
Nan Hauser had two ideas running through her mind at that moment: she was either getting the best encounter ever filmed, or she would have her death documented. You won’t believe what happened underwater!
20. ‘I Wouldn’t Believe It’
The story begins with Hauser’s story: ‘I’ve always said I’d be killed by a whale.’ And then, as she dived into the waters near the Cook Islands, a whale came right at her, but with the intent on saving her life!
19. Filming a Documentary
Nan Hauser (63) was out in the South Pacific to film a documentary. She was accompanied by researchers and filmmakers to get some footage for a documentary. But then she says: ‘If someone told me the story, I wouldn’t believe it.’ This is what happened…
18. She Swam Toward a Humpback Whale
Looking to get some footage on whales, Hauser swam to a humpback. She knew how to interact with them. It was best not to touch them and keep her distance. But then, the whale kept coming at her. Hauser was paralyzed with fear. The huge mammal came closer.
17. ‘Trying to Be Gentle’
‘It was trying to be gentle, but this is a 50,000-pound mammal,’ said Hauser. The whale started to push her with its head, through the water. It also used its fin, as if it would shield her on the journey that felt like forever. What was going on?
16. Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation
Hauser is the president of the Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation. She writes about these behaviors of large sea mammals, like the humpback whales. She is quite famous, appearing in many films on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and Smithsonian.
15. Moving Slowly
The biologist didn’t know what else to do, so she just waited for the animal to finish its job. She didn’t want to anger such a huge mammal, so making sudden moves was the last thing she would have done.
14. It Wanted to Communicate Something
‘His eye was so wide, I was just waiting to get whacked’ said the woman. But she then thought that maybe the whale was ‘trying to communicate something.’ It took 10 minutes of getting pushed through the water. Then, Hauser reached the boat…
13. The Whale Pushed Hauser Through the Water
Hauser said that those 10 minutes felt like three hours, but she tried ‘to stay calm so he couldn’t sense my fear.’ Her companions didn’t know what to do, so they just watched the whole thing. They turned off the drone above if the event would turn into sudden death…
12. A Tiger Shark Was Following Them
Hauser was close to the boat at one point, so she moved away from the whale. As she reached and climbed on the boat, she looked around. She was shocked to see that behind the whale there was a huge tiger shark!
11. It Really Was Unbelievable
She immediately realized that the whale just saved her life. Tiger sharks are known to attack humans, and according to National Geographic, they’re fiercer than any shark, except for the great white. Hauser had to post the footage online… Then, the weirdest thing happened.
10. The Phone Kept Ringing
After posting the footage online, Hauser’s phone kept on ringing. Everyone wanted an exclusive interview with the amazing experience. She was happy to tell her story, saying that ‘these creatures are altruistic.’ They will protect other species too…
9. Studying Whales for 28 Years
Hauser said that she knows whales ‘hide seals under pectoral fins to protect them from predators.’ But she wasn’t expecting to also protect humans! She said that she’s ‘been studying whales for 28 years and I’ve published 56 papers, I think. I’ve never heard of that.
8. She Climbed Onto the Boat
After Hauser swam to the boat, she first saw the shark and then, at about 20 feet away, the whale surfaced again and looked at the biologist. Hauser said that the whale ‘was checking on me, making sure I was safe.’ This is truly unbelievable!
7. Close Encounters
The biology has a family, and before her career, she worked as a nurse. She has had many encounters with the whales. In her experience in the water, she learned to stay away from the wild creatures. This time, she tried to stay away, but she’s happy she couldn’t escape from it.
6. A Huge Tiger Shark
Hauser saw that the tiger shark behind them was at least 15 feet long, bigger than what she’s seen so far. Thankfully, she was rescued by the friendly whale. The biologist only had a few bruises and scratches and amazing memories.
5. Scientists Were Shocked
The footage became viral on social media. It also reached the Gulf of Maine Marine Research Institute, where its chief scientific officer, Andrew Pershing stated that ‘to have something like that happen with cameras in the water, that’s really extraordinary.’
4. A Renowned Biologist
Pershing added that this encounter shows that we know little of whales and their behavior. He also explains how dangerous this type of research is for Hauser and her colleagues. He doesn’t know the biologist in person, but her reputation precedes her.
3. She Had an Awesome Experience
James Sulikowski is a marine biologist and professor at the University of New Englan. He studied tiger sharks and said that Hauser had ‘an awesome experience.’ However, he said that ‘the shark could have just been hanging around. There’s really no way of knowing the whale’s motivation.’
2. Hauser Is Grateful
Hauser realizes that the whole thing could have been just a coincidence, but she tends to believe that this whale was actually protecting her – just like they would protect the seals under their fins. And, whatever the reason, she is grateful to be alive and healthy.
1. Going Back to Work
A few weeks after her ‘awesome experience,’ Hauser returned home to spend some time with her family. She needed a little rest to mend the bruises and scratches. However, after two weeks, she went back to the South Pacific, to continue her work!