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Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland Blog

Whale of a story


In his latest ‘Workplace Word’ our East of Scotland Regional Organiser Chic Lidstone considers if we might learn something from other creatures when it comes to gratitude?

It was a Sunday morning in December off the Farallone Islands when a Humpback Whale was seen trapped in hundreds of feet of weighted fishing ropes. She was in a critical condition……

Commercial crab fishermen first saw the whale and called for help and soon six scuba divers were on the scene along with three staff members from the local Marine Centre. The only way to save the whale was to dive and cut the lines, which was extremely dangerous as one move of the tail could easily kill a man. James Moskito, the first diver said his heart sank as he saw all the lines wrapped around the whale: ”I didn’t think we would be able to save it. The rope and weights were wrapped around the tail, back, front left flipper and even in the mouth and was so tight it was actually cutting into the whale”.

For an hour they gently cut at the ropes while the whale floated passively giving off a strange kind of vibration. Moskito said as he was cutting through the rope in her mouth:“she was watching me. It was an epic moment of my life.”

When the whale was free, she swam in circles, and then to each diver in turn, nuzzling them, then, with a special “thanks” to Moskito, stopping a foot away and pushing him around a little bit and having fun. They didn’t feel threatened but were amazed at this show of affection and gratitude.

In 2011 a whale freed from a similar situation, entertained and thanked her rescuers for an hour with an amazing show of acrobatics.

You can find these stories on and

Were the whales saying: ‘Thank You’? Experts say we cannot know, but I like to think so. But what made me really think was, that if whales can say ’thanks’, in even the tightest of spots, surely we can? To say thanks doesn’t take a second, but can mean a lot. Who can we thank today? Our colleagues, partner, or check-out operator? Saying thanks adds value to all of our lives.

It’s called an “attitude of gratitude”

By the way, thanks for reading this!!

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