A group of divers had a memorable encounter with the largest fish in the sea while they were exploring the waters off Socorro Island, way off the southern tip of Baja California. On their first dive of the day, a large whale shark came into view. It swam very close to one member of the group, causing some alarm, though it of course did nothing to harm him. On the contrary, the giant fish seemed to be asking for help: there was a rope wrapped tightly around its body, cutting into the unfortunate creature’s flesh. The rope was encrusted with barnacles and had obviously been there for some time. Before they could do anything, the gentle giant had swum off.
The whale shark is not some strange fish-mammal hybrid. The largest species of shark, it got the name thanks to its sheer size. These gigantic fish can reach a length of 40 feet and weigh in at over 20 tons! You might think a shark this size would be anyone’s worst nightmare but whale sharks are placid filter feeders and live on tiny plankton.
On the second dive of the day, the very same whale shark turned up again. This time one of the divers was able to approach the incredibly large fish from the front, as if to say, “Whoa, slow down for a minute.” Meanwhile, one of the other divers managed to approach from above and cut through the rope and gently pull it from the long-suffering leviathan’s body. The divers fist-bumped in triumph as the now greatly relieved whale shark swam away. They brought the rope up to the boat to see if they could figure out where it came from. It was about two inches in diameter, so it was likely from an anchor or mooring line, but how it got wrapped around the giant fish is one of those mysteries the ocean is going to be keeping to itself.
We’ve posted a video of this amazing good deed from the deep below. We’d love to hear from you in the comments at Facebook. Don’t forget to like and share!