Divers on gi­ant squid killers’ radar

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

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.”

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