Whale sharks are known to be some of the gentlest giants in the ocean. Though they are technically sharks, they most resemble whales, and are the largest known fish in the ocean. They are filter feeders, like baleen whales, and live in tropical zone waters.
On November 7, 2012, divers were enjoying the waters near Socorro Island, some 250 miles off the coast of Baja, Mexico. These waters were known to be inhabited by species such as the giant manta ray and the gentle whale shark. On that day, a group of divers came across an adult whale shark in distress.
They noticed that a large rope had become entangled around the shark, so much so that it had become embedded in the poor creature’s flesh. “It must have been there for some time, as the rope was encrusted with barnacles, and was cutting deeply into the flesh of the shark,” writes Noel Hall, who posted the video. The divers originally spotted the distressed creature on their first dive of the day.
The group went on another dive that day, hoping to encounter the shark again. The video shows the divers on their second dive locating the whale and trying to help it. While one takes the video, another three approach the shark. A diver named Dani approached it from above.
It is as if the shark knows that the humans are there to help, as it hovers still while the diver begins to cut it free from the rope. Dani manages to successfully cut the rope loose from the whale and proceeds to strip it from the shark’s flesh, finally freeing it completely. As soon as its burden is gone, the sharks peacefully swims away.
You can see the divers celebrating with fist bumps as they watch the beautiful, and now burden-free, whale shark swim away into the depths. The divers brought the 2-inch-diameter rope back to the boat, and speculate that it might have been an anchor line or mooring line.
The video, posted on YouTube by Noel Hall, has over 3.8 million views!