51-year-old Rainer Schimpf was swimming off the coast of South Africa to take photos of sharks when it suddenly went dark.
The South African photographer realized a whale was getting too close to him and the water around him suddenly became dark. He then found himself inside the mammoth Bryde’s whale.
“Nothing can actually prepare you for the event when you end up inside the whale and then its pure instinct,” Mr. Schimpf shared.
He has been working as a dive tour operator for more than a decade and documents the sardine run yearly.
The day he was swallowed by a whale, Mr. Schimpf was trying to take photos of sharks going through a bait ball. “It happened very fast.”
“It got dark, I felt some pressure on my hip, and I instantly knew a whale had grabbed me,” he expressed.
“I could not imagine how the whale had grabbed me or was holding me, but I instantly knew it had grabbed me because of the pressure on my hip.
“There is no time for fear in a situation like that, you have to use your instinct.”
The diver immediately held his breath, scared that the whale would dive down and spit him out deep below the surface.
“The next moment I felt the whale was turning either way, and the pressure was released, and I was washed out of the mouth,” Mr. Schimpf expressed.
“I came back up onto the surface where surely I wasn’t looking too clever.”
The 51-year-old’s fellow divers said the incident with the whale was an accident. Diver Claudia Weber-Gebert said: “As they come up with their mouths open, they can’t see what is in front of them, and I guess the whale thought it was a dolphin.
“Whales are not man-eaters. This was no attack, it was not the fault of the whale, and they are really sensitive. They are gentle giants, and it was just an accident.”
Mr. Schimpf told 9News: “It is quite the tale to tell … I was spat out by a whale.”
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