Man has a Whale of a Time Snorkeling

One of the biggest news stories to come out of South Africa very recently is about a man who found himself caught in the mouth of a whale. The 51-year-old South African marine conservationist was scooped into the mouth of a rare Bryde whale. The man was not even in the ocean to see or film whales, in fact, he was there filming sardines off the coast of Port Elizabeth.

The whale was gulping down a mouthful of lunch and unfortunately, this man happened to be in the path of the whale. The man was snorkeling and so his friends and his wife watched the incident happen from their charted boat. Unlike in stories and other fables, this event only lasted a few minutes. The whale appeared to realize that he had consumed more than just sardines and opened his mouth to release the man.

The man came out of the incident entirely unharmed and didn’t even have a bruise. Despite having had experience photographing whales and even sharks, he had never experienced anything like this. Interestingly, his colleagues who were not on the boat did not see the event unfold, nor were they even aware that anything happened.

Beyond the man not having been injured, another silver lining from the story is the awareness around these large creatures. Often, whales are misunderstood, and many people believe them to be dangerous.

What is a Bryde Whale?

For context and to create a vivid mental image, Bryde whales are extremely large, weighing up to 30 tons and eat small fish for the most part. These whales are two or three whales grouped into the Bryde category and are some of the species that the least is known about. These whales are native to the South African coast and are, from what is known, gentle giants.