Veteran lobster diver Michael Packard was hoping to make a catch on Friday near Provincetown on Cape Cod. But he says he almost ended up on the menu for a medium-sized humpback whale.
“All of a sudden, I just felt this huge bump, and everything went dark,” he said. “And I could sense that I was moving.”
“I thought to myself, okay, this is it. This is, I finally, I’m going to die.”
For 30 terrifying seconds, Packard says he was trapped in the whale’s mouth.
“Then all of a sudden, he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head and I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water and I was free,” Packard said.
Doctor Iain Kerr, a marine biologist at the Ocean Alliance who has been been studying whales in Cape Cod for more than a decade, said the whale does not want “human dessert.”
“I’ve been in this business for 30 years and this is second time I’ve heard of it happening,” he said.
“This area down by Provincetown is a highly productive area, which is why the fisherman are there, the lobsterman are there. It’s why the whales are there,” he said.
“Basically he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Kerr said.
Kerr said humpbacks, which can grow anywhere from 25 to 40 tons, are gentle giants that pose no threat to humans.
Kerr, however, said Packard is very lucky. “It could’ve been a nasty situation but I am sure the whale was almost as freaked out as Michael was,” he said.
He’s now bruised and battered — but happy to live and tell the tale.
“As soon as I’m healed up I’ll be back in the water,” said Packard.