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Lobster Diver Swallowed by Humpback Whale off Provincetown


Packard family

In the Bible, God’s unwitting messenger, Jonah, is thrown into the sea and swallowed by Leviathan, where he spends three days and three nights reconsidering the error of his ways before being thrown on the shore of Nineveh to complete his designated mission.

On Friday, June 11, Wellfleet, 56, Massachusetts resident Michael Packard was not fleeing the Lord’s wrath when he plunged into the waters off Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown. He was diving for lobster.

But in a Jaws On stage, like Jonah before him, in one fell swoop, Packard found himself in the belly of the beast, a humpback whale, to be exact.

“Suddenly I felt a big push and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard told the Cape Cod Times. “I could feel that I was moving and I could feel the whale tightening the muscles in its mouth.”

Packard’s first terrifying thought as he struggled in the dark was that he had been eaten by a great white shark. While he soon realized that the throat in which he was uncomfortably housed belonged to a whale and not a toothy shark, his prospects for survival remained poor.

Christopher Michel, CC license

Despite how scared Packard was, the whale was also more than a little distraught. The usual diet of a humpback consists of fish, krill, and other small marine animals. Cumbersome humans are definitely not on your menu of choice.

According to marine biologists, the most likely explanation for feeding misstep It was the medium-sized humpback, dining on a sand-spear bank at the bottom of the ocean as it moved with great momentum, inadvertently sucking up the stunned commercial diver along with its morning meal.

“They can basically open their mouth 90 degrees and unlock the jaw and make it drop off,” New England Aquarium principal whale researcher Peter Corkeron said in an interview. NBC News-10 Boston.

“The water at the Cape is quite cloudy,” added Corkeron, “and when the whales feed, they move very fast … This [was] just an accident. I imagine the whale had this, ‘Oh my God!’ moment and he probably got rid of it as quickly as he could. “

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Shaking its head, the whale rushed to the surface, where it quickly spat the stunned Packard back into the salt water. The entire episode lasted less than a minute, but it was enough for Packard to see his life pass before his eyes.

“I was completely inside; it was completely black, ”Packard told Cape Cod News. “I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead. ‘ All I could think about was my children, they are 12 and 15 years old. “

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Although he suffered a knee dislocation and a great deal of soft tissue damage, for a lobster fisherman who had recently been ingested and vomited by a 25-ton marine mammal, Packard survived the encounter remarkably intact and grateful to be alive.

While it’s a story that will likely take biblical proportions in the retelling, at least for everyone involved, the man and the Leviathan, this is a great story that has a happy ending.

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