The ocean is a wondrous place. Seemingly magical and exceptionally mysterious, people from all over the world are enchanted by the remarkable life that lies underneath the water’s surface. Snorkeling, surfing, boating, and many other activities are focused around allowing humans to experience the wonder of the sea.
With all of its beauty comes an uncertainty of what exactly lies beneath the foamy waves. Well, one woman, Nan Hauser, 63, experienced the terror and the beauty of the creatures who live their lives under water.
All caught by a camera crew’s stunning images, Nan is seen face to face with a 50,000 pound humpback whale in the water off of Muri Beach, Rarotonga, the Cook Islands. Nan, a biologist, stated that she didn’t quite understand the meaning of the whale’s approach until about ten minutes into the encounter. What she later learned, though, was that nearby, there was a 15 foot tiger shark lurking somewhere in the distance. Instinctively, the large humpback whale pushed Nan with his head, keeping her close to his mouth, and tucked her under one of its pectoral fins. The whale even lifted her up and out of the water on one occasion.
The camera crew that she was with was able to capture some beautiful images of the encounter but ultimately stopped filming midway through because they were frightened for Nan’s safety and didn’t want to film her death, were it to occur. In regards to the encounter, Nan states, “I didn’t want to panic, because I knew that he would pick up on my fear. I feel a very close kinship with animals, so despite my trepidation, I tried to stay calm and figure out how to get away from him.”