Ellen Meets Inspiring Whale Rescuers


I love this story so much. I saw this story
last week and I said, we have to have
them on the show. It’s a video of two friends
who are out fishing. They noticed a helpless humpback
whale entangled in ropes. Despite the obvious danger–
that danger being it was a whale– they risked their
own lives to save it. Look at this. Yeah jump on the whale
right now and cut it. Sam, cut it. Cut it right now. It’s right there. Sam, it’s right there. Get it. Swim. Swim. Bill, just get it. Get it. Get it. Get it before she dives. Cut it. Cut it. Oh, did you get it? Yeah! [CHEERING] Please welcome Nick and Sam. [MUSIC PLAYING] [CHEERING] [APPLAUSE] Thanks for being here. I saw this on the news and
I called them immediately and said, let’s put
these guys on the show. I love heroes like this. You didn’t have to do that, and
you did, and it was incredible that you saved this whale. But, what do you
do for a living? Both of you? So, I’m a deck officer
in the Merchant Marine. I work for military
sea life command. OK. And Nick and I went to college
together at the California Maritime Academy. And so we met seven years ago. Yeah, I work for
a tugboat company in San Francisco on the water
doing container ship escorts and working on the Bay. So you’re in the water a lot. So you see a lot of things. Do you see whales often? All the time. Yeah. Never entangled, but yeah. Right, but that
happens all the time, they get tangled up in fishing
nets and all kinds of things. So when did you noticed
that something was wrong? Yeah coming back in,
we saw a buoy off in the distance and
a bunch of splashing. You can kind of tell
the buoy was moving. It looked like Jaws, it was
just going across the water. Yeah. So we checked it out. Right. We drove over to
go see what it was, and saw that buoy and a bunch
of rope tangled up by its tail. And then another line
going over its back. OK, and then you try to call– there is a protocol
for this– you tried to call, who did you call? So I was like, Nick,
call the Coast Guard. And he just gets on the
line, and he’s on channel 16. So they took– Oh, channel 16. Yeah. [LAUGHTER] On a [INAUDIBLE] radio. [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGHTER] And so they asked him for
his name and phone number, and called some other people– That’s no time to
hit on someone. That’s just– alright. So you tell him what’s going on,
and you’re waiting and waiting, and they’re not
showing up, right? Yeah, there’s a lot
of back and forth, and we finally
didn’t get an answer. And how much time had passed? Probably from when we first saw
the whale to when we got her, probably like three hours. Three hours? OK, so you’re like, even though
they recommend not doing this, because you really
could have gotten hurt. But then– Yeah. I’m jumping ahead a little bit–
but you tried several times. But you think on
the last time, she realized that you were trying to
save her, and she stood still. She stayed on top of the water
for you to cut that, right? Nick screamed at her
and like, stay still. And she did. Wow. Yeah. I’m sure that she realized
you were trying to save her. OK. So you had to maneuver the boat
to stay close enough for you to jump in. I mean, were you scared? Or was adrenaline just
taking over and going, I have to save this whale? Well, I jumped in, and Nick’s
like, she’s right there. Get her. Or whatever he said. Yeah, oh he was telling
you everything to do, yeah. Yeah. [LAUGHTER] It was a team effort. You were just steering
the boat, Get it! [LAUGHTER] He was straight up piloting
a boat alongside a whale. Yeah, that’s– We didn’t want to
hurt the whale. Right, no, you
could have hurt her. That was amazing. OK, because clearly
that had been around her for at least days, if it
was embedded into her skin. So you could see there
was marks on her body, and her dorsal fin was
a little chewed up. And we just felt so
bad for the whale. Yeah, after we cut the
buoy, we felt that– and the Coast Guard
said, OK, there’s nothing else you can do. Leave now. It was like– We’re not leaving this whale. We’re not going to leave
because no one else is going to be able to find it. It’s getting dark, and
that’s when I think– What did that feel
like when you– because how long did
it take from the time you jumped in with a face
plant, to the time you actually freed the whale? How long was that? It might have taken a long
time, but Nick was just like, go, go, go. So he had to pull me into the
boat on the second attempt. I was shivering, and
he’s like go, go, go. And I was like, no, no, no. [LAUGHTER] And then I just did it. And so grabbed her by
the dorsal fin and– Ellen, the line was
so tight, I had to– I fell off the whale and I just
grabbed it with my fingertips. I held on and I made one
cut, and then a second cut, and the line just popped. And then she just swam away? Yeah. That had to feel so good. You saved that whale’s life. You saved that whale’s life. It’s amazing. [CHEERING] Alright. So come on out whale, we
brought the whale here. [LAUGHTER] Alright, so hopefully you don’t
ever have to do that again. But just in case you do, we
got you these to wear so that– [CROWD AWWS] Alright. Nice. Whoohoo. Yeah. [APPLAUSE] Alright. Can I put it on? Yes, you can put it on. Put it on, go to break. And also this is very
weird, but Shutterfly loves people who
save whales, so they want to give you each
a check for $10,000. Wow. [CHEERING] Thank you. Oh, wow. [APPLAUSE] We’ll be back.

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