Divers on giant squid killers’ radar
SYDNEY extreme spear fisherman Phil Sheppard now knows the last thing a giant squid feels before it’s ripped apart and eaten by a 35 tonne sperm whale.
Phil was hunting bluefin tuna more than 50km off Sydney Heads when he and two mates found a pod of up to 40 sperm whales swimming south (left).
Sperm whales, immortalised in Moby Dick, are toothed whales which do battle with one of their favourite foods, giant squid, up to a kilometre below the surface.
There, in the pitch-dark depths, the whales, which can reach 18m long, use their sonar to locate and catch giant squid up to 13m long. That’s what Phil, 40, and his mates heard, and felt, when the whales’ rapid-fire sonar “pings” pulsed through their bodies as the pod swam towards them.
“It was a very distinctive noise and feeling,” Phil, a care worker from Narrabeen, said of his experience two weeks ago. “You could see the scars and damage the squid have done on the front third of the whales’ bodies.
“I’ve been spearfishing for 25 years and this is only the second time I’ve seen sperm whales and that first time they vanished as soon as we got in the water. It was an amazing experience.”