Nan Hauser is a 63-year-old marine biologist. For most of her life, she has been studying whales and their activity. Nan lives in Maine and has dedicated her life to traveling the world and learning about whales and fighting for their rights. She understands that whales are always at risk, and she wants them to be protected. Nan has swum with whales many, many times over the years, but she wasn’t prepared for what happened to her one day on the water.
The Crook Islands
During her career as a marine biologist, Nan has spent a lot of time in the South Pacific. She lived in Rarotonga for a few years, and while there, she worked to turn all the Crook Islands territory into a whale sanctuary. The area stretches across 772,200 square miles. Nan also founded the Center of Cetacean Research and Conservation on Rarotonga. Nan loves whales, and their protection and future existence has been incredibly important to her.
A Normal Day
In 2017, Nan went for a swim off the shore of Rarotonga. She and her colleagues were on a research vessel with some of her colleagues, and she got into the water with her camera. This is something that she did on a daily basis. She often swum with the whales, and nothing out of the ordinary ever occurred until this day.
The Humpback Whale
When Nan was swimming in the water, she spotted a male humpback whale near the vessel. She estimated that the whale weighed over 23-tons and was 50-feet long. The whale was incredibly large, but it wasn’t the size that worried Nan. She had swum with whales this size in the past. It was the way the whale was behaving that caused Nan to be concerned.
Swimming At Her
Nan was used to approaching whales in the water. She needed to do this so that she could examine them. What she wasn’t used to was the whales swimming directly at her, which this particular whale was doing. The whale was huge, and it was swimming toward her, leaving her nowhere to move. At first, she wasn’t too worried. She turned her camera on to capture it on film. When the whale kept coming toward her, she started to worry. Whales had never swum toward her in a threatening way before, and this is what she believed this whale was doing. She was completely helpless as it wouldn’t get out of her way. It just kept coming at her. Suddenly, she realized that she was in serious trouble.
When the whale reached her, he kept pushing himself into her. She was pinned to the whale’s head, and couldn’t take control. It was as if the whale didn’t know his strength and size, and kept pushing toward her. He could have easily killed Nan. She couldn’t figure out what was going on. Her fight or flight instinct kicked in, but unfortunately, she couldn’t flee. The whale would allow it. Nan knew that the whale was strong enough to break her bones or damage her organs. The whale hitting her was causing her pain, and she kept trying to get away. The whale wouldn’t allow it. Fortunately, she had experience swimming with whales, and she knew that she had to stay away from his flipper and tail because they could kill her. One accidental swing could be deadly. Nan tried to get away, but the whale continued to behave aggressively.
Nan tried to keep eye contact with the whale and tried to stay calm. She knew that if she behaved aggressively for showed fear, the whale could attack. Despite her fear, she continued filming. The crew on the vessel were watching in fear, worried that Nan wouldn’t get out of the water alive. There was nothing that the team could do other than pray. Soon, Nan noticed another whale in the water above her. This whale wasn’t getting close to her; it was just swimming. Two whales in the same area aren’t unusual because they are social creatures, and they travel in packs. Nan couldn’t figure out why the whales were surrounding her.
Something Else In the Water
Soon, Nan saw something else in the water. At first, she thought it was another whale. When the other creature caused the whales near Nan to become agitated, she realized that it wasn’t another whale in the pack. Nan was in a lot of pain from the constant hits from the whale, but she remained calm. The closer the other creature got, the harder the whale hit Nan. The whale was trying to keep Nan under his pectoral fin, and couldn’t figure out why. Suddenly, she realized what the other creature was and why the whale was behaving this way.
Nan realized that the other creature in the water was a 15-foot long tiger shark. These sharks are very aggressive toward humans, and it could kill Nan in a second. She was terrified but then realized what the whale was doing. He was trying to protect her from the shark. This is why he was trying to hide her underneath his fin.
Thanks to the whales, Nan managed to get near her boat, and a member of her team pulled her up. She was battered and bruised, but she was alive. This Massive Whale Wouldn’t Leave Diver – Look Closer. It was trying to save her from the tiger shark the whole time. Nan was thrilled that she had the video evidence of the whale’s heroic act. This whale confirmed what Nan already knew. They are gentle creatures who deserve to be protected.