Usually, when people are scared of the ocean, it’s because of sharks. Thanks a lot, Spielberg! But now, thanks to a story out of Cape Cod, there’s a new nightmare to keep you up all summer long: whales!
Michael Packard is a commercial lobster diver, so it’s safe to say he’s no stranger to the water. He’s surely seen, and experienced, a lot of stuff on the ocean off of Cape Cod, but what happened to him last Friday was a brave new world. Wait, wrong Disney movie. Is there a song for the part of Pinocchio when he gets swallowed by a whale?
That’s what happened to Packard on Friday! He was out on the water for a day’s work, which entails diving down and literally plucking lobsters off the ocean floor, when a humpback whale decided to pluck him off the floor, with its mouth.
“All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard told the Cape Cod Times.
“I was completely inside; it was completely black,” Packard said. “I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead.’ All I could think of was my boys — they’re 12 and 15 years old.”
He thought he’d been eaten by a whale, but he noticed there were no teeth, and he hadn’t been wounded. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth,” he said.
Ultimately, he guesses he was in the whale’s mouth for around 40 seconds before it burst out of the water and let him loose. “I saw light, and he started throwing his head side to side, and the next thing I knew I was outside (in the water),” he said.
Upon emerging, Packard spent the day at the hospital. “I am very bruised up but have no broken bones,” he wrote on Facebook. “I want to thank the Provincetown rescue squad for (their) caring and help.”
The odds of this happening to you during your beach vacation are pretty slim, especially since it was probably not intentional. “Based on what was described, this would have to be a mistake and an accident on the part of the humpback,” said Jooke Robbins, director of Humpback Whale Studies at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown.
That’s good news!