Lobster Diver Swallowed and Spat Back Out by Humpback Whale

In a tale that sounds like it was ripped straight from the pages of ancient scripture, a man found himself unexpectedly on the menu of a humpback whale off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Before you jump to conclusions, this isn’t a Jonah reboot, but the real-life experience of lobster diver Michael Packard.

Setting off with diving partner Josiah Mayo, Packard had hopes of a rewarding lobster catch. However, destiny had another plot in mind.

Recalling the bewildering incident, Packard shared, “All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black”.

Onlookers, including Mayo, could only watch in shock and awe. Packard’s disappearing diving bubbles told a tale of an underwater mystery. As it turned out, a humpback whale, perhaps mistaking Packard for a gourmet treat, had accidentally scooped him up.

man swallowed by whale
Image: Pexels

Inside the giant mammal, Packard’s initial thoughts veered to the carnivorous: “Everything went dark,” he described. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, did I just get bit by a shark?’ Then I felt around and I realized there was no teeth and I had felt, really, no great pain. And then I realized, ‘Oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth. I’m in a whale’s mouth, and he’s trying to swallow me.’”

After what felt like an underwater eternity but was merely 30-40 seconds, the whale, perhaps coming to terms with its mistaken food choice, decided to send Packard back from whence he came.

Joe Francis, a charter boat captain, couldn’t believe his eyes, narrating, “I saw Mike come flying out of the water, feet first with his flippers on, and land back in the water.”

lobster diver swallowed by whale
Image: Packard Family Photo

With Packard safely back onboard, he affirmed his adventure to his incredulous peers, exclaiming, “I was inside it. I was inside its mouth. It tried to eat me.”

Though his impromptu dive into the belly of a whale might suggest otherwise, Packard was mostly unscathed. Whales, it seems, aren’t out for human blood. The curious incident might have been just another day at the feeding grounds for the humpback.

As Peter Corkeron, a senior scientist, put it, “They do what we call gulp feeding, and they can open their mouths up incredibly widely.” And Jooke Robbins, director of Humpback Whale Studies, added, “When they do that, they don’t necessarily see everything.”

Still, Packard’s ordeal is one for the books. Corkeron weighed in on its rarity, saying, “It’s a very unusual accident. This is a one in a — goodness knows what — trillion chance. He was just unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

lobster diver swallowed by whale
Image: Michael Packard / Facebook

But if you think this encounter has dimmed Packard’s diving spirit, think again. With a past marked by brushes with great white sharks, plane crashes, and getting lost at sea, a little whale hiccup isn’t going to keep him down.

With determination, Packard announced his plans to dive again soon.

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