PROVINCETOWN — At a small before 8 a.m. Friday, veteran lobster diver Michael Packard gotten in the water because that his 2nd dive of the day.

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His vessel, the “Ja’n J,” was off Herring Cove Beach and also surrounded by a fleet of boats catching striped bass. The water temperature was a balmy 60 degrees and the visibility about 20 feet.

Licensed advertisement lobster divers literally pluck lobsters off the sandy bottom, and as Packard, 56, dove under Friday morning, he saw colleges of sand lances and also stripers swimming by.

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The ocean food chain to be in full evidence, but about 10 feet native the bottom Packard all of sudden knew what it truly felt favor to be component of that chain.

In something important biblical, Packard was swallowed totality by a humpback whale.

“All of a sudden, i felt this huge shove and the following thing ns knew that was fully black,” Packard recalled Friday afternoon complying with his release from Cape cod Hospital in Hyannis.


“I could sense i was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing through the muscles in his mouth,” he said.

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Initially, Packard assumed he was within a an excellent white shark, however he couldn’t feel any teeth and he hadn’t suffered any type of obvious wounds. It easily dawned on him that he had been swallowed by a whale.


“I was fully inside; the was completely black,” Packard said. “I assumed to myself, ‘there’s no means I’m getting out the here. I’m done, i’m dead.’ all I can think of was my guys — they’re 12 and also 15 year old.”

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Outfitted through scuba gear, he struggled and also the whale began shaking its head so that Packard could tell he didn’t choose it. He estimated he remained in the whale for 30 come 40 seconds prior to the whale finally surfaced.

“I experienced light, and he started throwing his head side to side, and the next thing ns knew ns was outside (in the water),” claimed Packard, who lives in Wellfleet.

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Packard’s sister, Cynthia Packard, spoke v crewman Josiah Mayo, that relayed few of the details to her. Packard said Mayo saw the whale burst come the surface, and that he initially thought it to be a an excellent white shark.

“There was every this action at the top of the water,” Packard claimed Mayo said her. Climate the whale flung her brother earlier into the sea. Mei picked the up, called by radio come shore and also sped ago to the Provincetown pier. A Provincetown Fire department ambulance take it him to Cape ko Hospital.

“Thank God, it wasn’t a white shark. That sees castle all the time out there,” said Cynthia Packard. “He must have thought he was done.”


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"Based ~ above what to be described, this would have to be a mistake and also an accident on the part of the humpback," claimed Jooke Robbins, director of Humpback Whale research studies at the center for coastal Studies in Provincetown. Humpbacks room not aggressive animals, an especially toward humans, she said.

The humpback was explained by mei as gift medium-sized, Michael Packard said, and also Robbins doubt it was a youth feeding ~ above sand lance. Once a humpback opens up its mouth come feed, it billows out choose a parachute, blocking the animal’s forward vision, i m sorry is why so many come to be entangled in fishing equipment in your mouth and also jaws, stated Robbins.



Even so, events of feeding humpbacks injuring swimmers and also divers, particularly instances the swallowing them, room so exceedingly rare as to be nonexistent, Robbins said. The stomach on nontoothed whales is too small to actually swallow a human however they couldwrap your mouth around a big object and then spit that out. Robbins said that, uneven toothed whales such as Orcas, baleen whales the filter out little schooling fish execute not check out or reason injuries with their mouths. They generally use their tail.


"It is no something I have actually heard keep going before," Robbins claimed of the occurrence Friday. "So many things would have had to take place to end up in the path of a feeding whale."

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Charles “Stormy” Mayo, a senior scientist and also whale skilled at the facility for seaside Studies, agreed that was likely an inadvertently encounter. It needs a commonwealth permit for skilled photographers and also researchers to obtain close to whales underwater, however there are locations of the civilization where the is normally allowed.

“People straight dive on lock (humpbacks) in the tropics, no here. In those places I’m not mindful of a single incident of human being having difficulties with them,” mayo said. 

Packard crewman Josiah mayo is Stormy Mayo’s son.

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“Michael (Packard) is a smart man and an excellent diver,” Stormy mayo said. “For the to occur to him, you have the right to be certain he did whatever he was claimed to do.”

Packard was released native Cape cod Hospital Friday afternoon through what he explained as “a the majority of soft organization damage” yet no broken bones. He stated he’d go back to diving as soon as he was healed.


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What carry out lobster divers do?

Commercial lobster divers are a hard breed. Castle brave the cold waters turn off Provincetown to grab migrating lobsters off a sandy shelf as soon as they arise from an adjacent deep channel scoured out by the powerful current rounding race Point.

It’s a spot that is fraught v danger. The crewman topside keeps track of the diver listed below by adhering to his bubbles as he is moved by those solid currents. Divers have been dragged out to sea — that happened to Packard once and also he treaded water for hours prior to being rescued — and he when found and also recovered the dead body of a fellow diver.


Packard has had his share of nearby calls. Because that years, he was an abalone diver top top the West coast in an area with an excellent white sharks that have a background of attack divers; he lost some friends to the predators.

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Michael Packard additionally survived a plane crash

Ten year ago, while traveling in Costa Rica, he to be a passenger in a tiny plane the crashed in the jungle, death the pilot, co-pilot and a passenger. Packard continual multiple significant injuries to his abdomen and upper body. The rescuers that found the remaining five passengers after 2 nights in the jungle said they wouldn’t have actually survived another night.

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Packard thinks he might be the critical lobster diver in Provincetown.

“It’s a strenuous job,” stated charter watercraft fisherman Dave “Spider” Gibson, standing top top Provincetown’s MacMillan Pier Friday afternoon. “He’s the best lobster diver I’ve ever seen. He to know what he’s doing.”