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Talking to Valentina

Humpback Freed by Whale Watchers


Sunday, August 28, 2011

There is a true story of a whale conservationist who takes his friend’s family on a whale-watching adventure in the Sea of Cortez. This group of people comes across a young humpback whale entangled in a fishing net. At first they think this whale is dead but then the colossal whale takes a breath.

Laura Stinchfield
Click to enlarge photo

Laura Stinchfield

The whale conservationist decides to jump into the water and try to free the whale. He swims up to the eye of the whale first to let the whale know that he comes in peace. His efforts to free the whale are futile. The group of people decides to risk their lives and from the boat they make it a group effort to cut the net from the whale. It takes hours and when the whale is finally freed she breaches in elaborate displays. The young child on the boat then announces, “Mommy, I know what she is doing. She is showing us that she is all free.”

Here I talk to that whale:

Laura: What where you thinking when you were all tangled in the net?

Whale: I had been stuck in the net for many days. I could barely move. I had a young one with me at the time and he had to leave with the others. Other whales came to me but they could not set me free. They couldn’t even try. They called the dolphins. The dolphins did not know how set me free. So in the end they had to leave me. Their songs of mourning and warning about nets went on all night and at daybreak I set myself to die.

Laura: What did you think when you saw the man swim to up to you and look you in the eye?

Whale: I knew instantly he was there to help. His eyes where kind and although he was a strange creature I could tell that he came softly in the water and not abruptly like danger does. I could feel his love and his sorrow for me.

Laura: What was it like being so close to humans while they untangled you?

Whale: I felt safe. I felt their organization and I felt their determination. I knew I needed to be patient. I was very conscious of how I allowed my body to roll. I knew that if I rolled the wrong way or flapped my fins that their boat could flip. I know that boats keep humans safe in the water. I felt as if we worked together to set me free.

Laura: How did you feel when you were freed?

Whale: At first I was in shock. I knew I had to drift slowly away from the boat so that I would not hurt the humans and I also knew I had to be far away from the net. When I felt I was far enough away from them I danced. I will never forget how my body felt against the water. How good it felt to move and feel the stream of water against my body. I wanted them to see all my body so that then knew for sure that there was not even a small piece of net stuck to me. I breached many times out of the water showing them my strength and that I was fully alive. I was thanking them for their kindness and their determination.

Laura: Is there anything you would like to say to them now?

Whale: I want to say thank you. We are forever connected. I feel their laughter sometimes and I feel their love of the whales. There are problems in the waters. The fish are not so healthy. The temperature of the water is changing. I tell other whales that there are humans that know our plight and are trying to help us. Just as they tell humans about whales, I tell whales about humans. The man that first swam into the water should know that as he learns about us, I too learn about us. I can hear his thoughts as I can hear my own. He is connecting me with the great unknown. Thank you for saving my life. We have named you. There is call that speaks of humans who advocate for us. Tell him in the waters he has a name.

Watch video of Saving Valentina.

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