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   xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 30 01:00 AM

July 30, 2009: Whale Tale

Got a whale of a tale to tell ya, lads
A whale of a tale or two
'Bout the flappin' fish and the girls I've loved
On nights like this with the moon above
A whale of a tale and it's all true
I swear by my tattoo

But that's for another time.

This whale tale happened in Harbin, north-east China.

It looks like a moment of terror - a diver finds her leg clamped in the jaws of a beluga whale. In fact, it was a stunning example of an animal coming to the rescue of a human life.

Yang Yun, 26, was taking part in a free diving contest without breathing equipment among the whales in a tank of water more than 20ft deep and chilled to Arctic temperatures. She says that when she tried to return to the surface, she found her legs crippled by cramp from the freezing cold. At that point Mila the beluga took a hand, or rather a flipper.

At depths of 20ft and below, the water pressure keeps a body down, particularly if, as in this case, the limbs are effectively paralysed by the cold.
Reliving the drama, Yang Yun said: 'I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me - I was dead. 'Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface.'
Or Mila didn't want any dead girls littering her tank.


Scriveyn  Thursday Jul 30 02:59 AM

Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
... At that point Mila the beluga took a hand, or rather a flipper. ...
While the photographer wouldn't lift a finger, except to press the camera buttons.

DucksNuts  Thursday Jul 30 05:35 AM

Way cooler if they were out in the ocean, but pretty nifty.

capnhowdy  Thursday Jul 30 07:56 AM

20 Feet? I guess one can drown in a lot shallower water.

Shawnee123  Thursday Jul 30 09:23 AM

Ocean creatures (even when displaced) are the coolest.

"The albatross and the whales, they are my brothers."

ajaccio  Thursday Jul 30 10:35 AM

Originally Posted by capnhowdy View Post
20 Feet? I guess one can drown in a lot shallower water.
Pass out in a 2" puddle and you can drown...

wolf  Thursday Jul 30 10:42 AM

Was her father the keeper of the Eddystone light?

Pie  Thursday Jul 30 11:13 AM

Originally Posted by Scriveyn View Post
While the photographer wouldn't lift a finger, except to press the camera buttons.
Guessing it's an automated camera. Electronics don't care as much.

newtimer  Thursday Jul 30 11:24 AM

...or maybe the whale was in the mood for some Chinese today.

glatt  Thursday Jul 30 11:48 AM

Or maybe the 20 foot deep "tank" was an aquarium with an observation window, and the photographer was outside the tank.

Clodfobble  Thursday Jul 30 02:09 PM

How in the world do people swim that deep? My ears are in agony by the time I'm ten feet under.

Shawnee123  Thursday Jul 30 02:35 PM

Dove to 110 feet gotta hold your nose and pop your ears. One of the foam drink holders (our instructor brought it along to show us) was compressed to the size of a pencil.

glatt  Thursday Jul 30 02:46 PM

What's amazing are the submarine evacuation training tanks the Navy has. You have no air tank, just a hood. They open a hatch at the bottom of one of these towers, and you swim the hundred feet or so to the top.

Shawnee123  Thursday Jul 30 03:21 PM

Wow. The only difference would be not needing decompression!

Oh, and I so want to try it.

glatt  Thursday Jul 30 03:25 PM

Well, in the Navy tank, you are breathing compressed air in the chamber at the bottom, and when you swim up to the top, you have to exhale (scream) the whole time so you don't burst from the expanding air in your lungs.

Shawnee123  Thursday Jul 30 03:32 PM

Yeah, that makes sense. Pretty neat.

SteveDallas  Thursday Jul 30 04:11 PM

What's the failure rate? I imagine the consequences for not doing it right would be nasty.

(BTW--I can't believe nobody else has. Google image search for whale tail. You're old enough to know better than to click.)

glatt  Thursday Jul 30 04:37 PM

Originally Posted by SteveDallas View Post
What's the failure rate?
From 1956 through 1966 there were 23.

Originally Posted by SteveDallas View Post
I imagine the consequences for not doing it right would be nasty.
They can be very nasty. When I took a SCUBA course in college, they went into graphic detail. Your lungs basically tear open inside your chest.

The good news is that at these Navy places, they have staff and facilities right there ready to treat you. Not like if you have a diving accident at some remote tropical island.

Sarasvati48  Thursday Jul 30 09:46 PM

Who took the picture?

ZenGum  Thursday Jul 30 10:26 PM


monster  Thursday Jul 30 10:33 PM


or, the huge manatee

TheMercenary  Friday Jul 31 10:02 PM

Since she was tank kept, I wonder if she was not trained to do this kind of rescue for swimmers.

xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Aug 1 01:02 AM

Not trained, although she has had a lot of interaction with humans. They claim everyone was very surprised.
But hey, it's China, so that may be commie propaganda to cover up a program training whales to attack our soldiers at the beach.

TheMercenary  Monday Aug 3 09:35 PM

I knew it! That is exactly what I was thinking! The Whales would just beach themselves and Tora Tora Tora! Wait that was the Japs.

Your reply here?

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