It was a cold day when a man saw a whale close to the Farallon Islands, just off the coast of California. He saw something weird about it, but he didn’t understand what was wrong. Then, he got a little closer and realized that the whale was desperately asking for help. As he gets his boat closer, the man finally understands why the whale was desperate. It was struggling to stay alive…

The whale was slowly dying, and that’s when he decided to do something about it! You won’t believe how this story ends!

20. Tours For Whale Watching

It was December and Mick Menigoz was on a tour of whale watching in California. He is the boat captain and the organizer of these tours. As soon as he saw the humpback whale, he realized that he should help the animals that have been around his boat for so many years. But he was aware that he couldn’t do anything on his own…

So he reached out for help…

19. Helping the Whale

Even though Menigoz had a team of divers with him, he knew they had no chance of helping the whale. They needed reinforcements, and they needed it fast! If they didn’t get back with help, the whale wouldn’t survive. Luckily, Menigoz knew who to call.

His boat and his crew were not enough – the whale was enormous! So he called some experts…

18. Calling the Marine Mammal Center

Realizing that the men on the boat were not enough to save that humpback whale, Menigoz called the Marine Mammal Center. They are a local nonprofit organization, with a lot of experience. They have been saving mammals for many years, and Mick knew that the decades of saving marine wildlife meant that this whale had a chance of being rescued.

But then, this happens!

17. There’s a Problem…

The goal Marine Mammal Center was to treat all hurt animals and then release them into the ocean. Of course, in this case, it only meant assisting the whale and helping her stay alive. Until now, the center has treated and saved over 20,000 sea lions, seals and whales. These were the team Mick needed to help this whale.

As they got closer, they were shocked to see how difficult their task would be…

16. Back to the Whale

After reaching out and gathering a rescue team, they were back at 2:30 p.m. to save the whale. They knew that the whale was entangled in the crab lines, but they didn’t imagine that the situation was so critical. Plus, from afar, Mick didn’t see how big the whale was – they saw a 50 feet long creature struggling to stay afloat!

Moving towards her, the team saw she was still alive, but she was barely swimming…

15. They Finally Reached The Whale

This whale had trouble swimming because she was tangled in ropes. But she was wrapped so tight in so many ropes that she couldn’t even come to surface to take a breath. Normally, whales must take some breaths before diving in the water. Not being able to breath would end with the poor animal drowning.

But the team was getting close to her and getting ready to help!

14. The Diving Team

The lead diver was James Moskito, who saw from the beginning what was wrong. He explains in an interview that the poor animal was caught in a rope called “blue steel,” and the name says it all. Crab fishers use this rope, which it is very strong, to attack the traps to buoys.

They should be at the bottom of the ocean, but it somehow got to entangle the whale, which was now trapped and unable to swim or even breathe!

13. The Whale Didn’t Stand a Chance…

Without the rescue team’s intervention, the whale wouldn’t stand a chance. But the team was ready to save her. They had to cut through more than 250 feet long ropes that surrounded the whale, leaving wounds in her skin. She couldn’t move freely, but her giant body could also threaten the lives of the rescue team with a slight motion…

You won’t believe what happens as soon as the divers get close to her!

12. A Peak Above the Water

The divers approached the whale with care. Right before that, the whale got close to the surface of the water, looking at her rescuers. This is when James felt a strong connection with this animal. He noticed that every time she got above the water, she would seem to ask for help. He says he remembers all of it, “it like it was just a few minutes ago.”

But the whale knew she would be free, so she did this amazing thing…

11. She Looked at James!

When the whale came up for a breath, James said that she “put its eye above the surface, looked at me–I could tell it was looking at me–and just stayed there.” Somehow, she was begging him to help her swim again. He and his team closed and so how much pain she was put through.

The ropes had torn off some of the skin, and as she kept struggling to get free, she would somehow tighten it around her body!

10. Cutting the Ropes

The divers took out their knives and started cutting the rope… But as James dove under the whale, he was stunned. There were lines of rope all around the whale’s body. Some were going through the mammal’s mouth, and other were twisting around the tail.

Looking down, James lost his hope…

9. The Whale Was Suffering

James said that he “was the first diver in the water, and my heart sank when I saw all the lines wrapped around it.” He didn’t think that they “were going to be able to save it.” Thankfully, they didn’t give up – because neither did the whale!

But looking at the whale coming up for air and remaining to the surface, James saw something deeper under the whale’s body. This was heartbreaking!

8. Is That An Anchor?

Not only was the whale struggling to get air and swim, but deep underwater the divers saw that she was pulled by a 3,000-pound anchor! This is why the whale didn’t go deeper in the water. She was too afraid she won’t be able to come back to surface. She was struggling for hours to keep her blowhole close to the surface.

7. Hours of Work

While trying their best to cut through the rope, the divers had to be careful not to be hit by the whale. Even a flick of her tail could have injured the rescuers. But compassion was what helped them continue the dangerous work. You won’t believe how much they took to save the whale!

6. Five Long Hours

Each diver took about an hour to cut through the nylon ropes. The whole rescue mission took five long hours to finally set free the whale, which was very calm all the time. After their hard work, the team would soon be repaid with this remarkable show…

5. Free Again!

The whale was finally free to swim, untethered by the heavy anchor and ropes. She started swimming in circles. Moskito then saw her swim to each of the divers, saying: “Next I know, I have this whale coming right up at me… it was like a slow-moving bus”… Guess what she did!

4. She Nuzzled Him!

James said that the whale “literally stopped six inches away from my chest, and then nudged me forward like your household dog does when he wants to be pet.” You can imagine that the men started petting her. Little did he know that she’d ask for some more! Here’s what he said.

3. The Whale Looked at Him

“It turned on its side and put its eye right next to me, and looked. I started petting her again, so it was definitely a feeling of affection,” said James. He got an unforgettable memory of his rescue, and he knows – up close and personal – how great these creatures are!

2. No Coincidence

The whale knew what happened and why she was free, it was no coincidence that she was thanking her rescuers. The team was so proud of their successful mission, and the Marine Mammal Center has stated that this was their first mission of freeing an entangled humpback on the West Coast.

1. Reading Their Mind

It was like this mammal was reading the rescuers’ minds. She was on her best behavior, allowing James and his team to save her. This mission was uploaded on YouTube, gathering over a million views; and people all over the world saw it, thanking the team for their effort: “What a wonderful, loving, kind and BRAVE rescue,” wrote one.

It’s heartwarming to see that a wild sea creature says thank you after being rescued!