Whales are usually solitary creatures, so when a humpback named Foggy wound up tangled in lobster netting, rescuers were surprised to see Grommet, another female humpback, swimming loyally on the sidelines.
And when rescuers finally untangled Foggy, Grommet jumped for joy high in the air. Long-time whale watchers who were on the scene said they'd never seen anything like it.
It all started last Sunday when a whaling tour off the coast of Nova Scotia got a call about a whale in trouble.
Pirate’s Cove Whale and Seabird Cruises asked the Campobello Whale Rescue Team for help and the group was on the scene in 90 minutes.
The Chronicle Herald reports that Foggy has been visiting this part of the bay since she came here with her mother as a calf in 1987.
Christine Callaghan, a tour guide with Pirate's Cove, documented the entire rescue, and shared the story and photographs in an album on the tour company's Facebook page.
"I’ve been trying to think of words that can adequately describe today’s experience on the Bay, and most come up short," Callaghan begins. "But plain old 'unforgettable' works, because I know that I, and anyone who was there, will always remember Foggy’s Rescue this afternoon."
The crew of volunteers carefully worked to cut Foggy free from the ropes that were tangled around her body.
Grommet watched patiently from afar and within 45 minutes, Foggy was free.
"Now comes the truly amazing thing," Callaghan writes, "The instant the rope came off Foggy’s head, Grommet dove, and then burst from the water in a spectacular breach! Tell me that wasn’t a celebration!"
Rescuerer Jerry Conway told the Chronicle Herald that it could just be a case of people attaching human characteristics to whales when there are none, but it seemed like Grommet was happy to see her friend set free.
"I will challenge anyone who claims that humans are the only intelligent, empathetic animals," Callaghan writes. "Grommet never left Foggy’s side."