There I was gulping seawater as usual to filter out my next meal, and cruising along at a modest 3 mph (4.8 kph) when bam! Instantly, I could no longer get anywhere when I flicked my powerful tail. I am used to swimming without stopping, so this was very strange. Then I felt something surrounding me. I frantically opened and closed my mouth, and gasped in panic until I realized that I was stuck in a fisherman’s net! I have seen fellow whale sharks sucking fish out of fishermen’s nets, but I never realized that I could get stuck in them, eek!
Fortunately, there were some human SCUBA divers and free divers around to help me. The bubbles from the SCUBA divers tickled my belly, and the bubbles made the remoras sticking to me go crazy and tickle me even more! My buddy Dot swam by to make sure I was ok, and boy she sure had a lot of remoras on her that day! Remoras are fish that are have a sucker on the top of their head so they can hitchhike on various large animals for free transportation and protection. They also eat my scraps, and they make all-around good companions. Traveling by myself from plankton bloom to plankton bloom can get lonely otherwise!
It was strange to be touched by a human, but it felt reassuring. Little by little the net was pulled back until, voila! I was free! It only took a minute, but it felt like a lifetime. I hope that never happens again, but I do hope some humans are around if I get caught again in a fisherman’s net!