Michael Fishbach regularly scouts the Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California. A hotspot for whales, he spends two months of every year photographing them. Familiar with these mighty creatures, on Valentines Day in 2011, Michael came across a humpback whale caught in some finishing nets and quickly took action, mounting a rescue effort that lasted well over an hour.
‘It took some effort to stay focused given the great emotion of the moment. The sight of this large and beautiful creature trapped and so close to death was almost overwhelming’
Calling for help from ashore wasn’t an option, as time was precious. Choosing to act there and then, Michael and his companions were faced with the challenging task of not only freeing the whale, but trying to keep the humpback calm.
Michael had to get into the water to evaluate the situation. ‘A I swam along side the animal, our eyes met. There were no words we could share, but I wanted to let the whale know we were here to help’.
‘I must admit,’ Michael explained ‘I was a bit scared because I knew the whale was frightened and fatigued, but could kill me with one panicked movement… the situation was bleak’.
But Michael and his companions persevered, and steadily cut free the humpback’s pectoral fins. At one point, sensing freedom, the whale powered through the sea, dragging Michael’s boat behind her. In order to free the creature, they needed to release the netting which stifled her tale. This courageous rescue was caught on camera, what followed was extraordinary.
The display that followed the rescue shows us the value of Men of Action, who work hard to make a difference. Michael Fishback and his companions couldn’t wait for help, and their decision to take action meant that this ocean giant was free once again.
‘We all believed it was a how of pure joy if not thanks… We were all proud and thrilled that we saved this fantastic young life’.