While photographing a mass of sardines off South Africa’s coast last month, a dive tour operator ended up on the wrong side of a whale — the inside.
Rainer Schimpf, 51, was in the water with a “bait ball,” a swirling school of sardines surrounded by predators, when he suddenly felt the world go dark. He quickly realized he’d been scooped up by a whale, he told The Today Show.
“I held my breath,” he said in an interview with Today, expecting the whale to pull him down. “I mean there was no other thing I could do,” he added. “I mean, you can’t fight a 15-ton animal.”
Fortunately, the whale was likely as displeased about the situation as Schimpf and spit the swimmer out within a couple of seconds.