Incredible photos of the moment Rainer Schimpf, 51, found himself scooped up by the Bryde's whale off Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in February emerged this week. The diver said the sardine run offers animal lovers an unique opportunity to document numerous ocean's most magnificent creatures, because the spawning event happens so close to shore and attracts all kinds of marine life.
Schimpf heads the company Dive Expert Tours, which organises diving excursions for amateurs and professionals.
Schimpf, an award-winning conservationist with 20-years experience, said the ordeal lasted "matter of seconds" - rather than the three nights Jonah spent in a whale's stomach, according to the Bible story.
Predators like dolphins and whales drive fish into tight
"Nothing can actually prepare you for the event when you end up inside the whale - it's pure instinct", he said.
Bryde Whales are known to grow up to 55 feet in length and are typically found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. "I instantly knew a whale had grabbed me".
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Incredibly, the experience barely knocked the wind out of him, and after checking he had no injuries, he dived back into the water in search of the bait ball.
"I was trying to get a shot of a shark going through the bait ball, and then the next moment it got dark and I felt some pressure", Schimpf told the Post.
"I don't think I had a whale of a time, but the inside knowledge of what the whale is like", he joked with the network.
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"Whales are not man-eaters. They are gentle giants". It was no fault of the whale.
"As with the other large baleen whales, Bryde's whales eat comparatively microscopic prey, mostly consisting of plankton, krill, and copepods (tiny crustaceans)".
With a small esophagus and no teeth, it's no doubt one of the best creatures to mistake you for food in the ocean.
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