The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY DAN ITEL di­tel@san­luiso­

Two Morro Bay eel fish­er­man risk life and limb to save a dis­tressed hump­back whale last month — and they caught the res­cue on video.

A pair of Morro Bay eel fish­er­man didn’t seem to mind putting life and limb at risk to save a dis­tressed hump­back whale last month – and they caught the dra­matic res­cue on video.

In a story re­ported last week by SFGATE, Ni­cholas Taron and Sam Syn­stelien were headed back into Morro Bay aboard their boat Per­sis­tence in Septem­ber when they no­ticed a whale tan­gled in rope at­tached to a buoy.

They ini­tially re­ported it to the U.S. Coast Guard, but they said they wouldn’t be able to re­spond for hours, ac­cord­ing to SFGATE.

That’s when the two took ac­tion.

In video posted to the In­sta­gram page of their busi­ness, Na­tive Pa­cific Fish­eries, Syn­stelien ap­pears on the bow of the boat and jumps into the wa­ter near the whale. He climbed onto the back of the crea­ture as it strug­gled, spout­ing and slam­ming its tail against the boat.

Syn­stelien strug­gles mo­men­tar­ily be­fore slid- ing off the whale and rais­ing his hands tri­umphantly af­ter cut­ting the rope.

Taron then lets out a scream of ex­cite­ment from aboard the ves­sel as the whale swims away. It took the pair three at­tempts to free the whale

“Sav­ing Hu­man­ity,” they posted with the In­sta­gram video. “We fol- lowed this en­tan­gled hump­back whale around for an hour. Cut an en­tan­gled buoy from her back but she was still caught. With no other op­tions F/V Per­sis­tence get­ting the job done.”

While it may have been a heroic ef­fort, of­fi­cials cau­tioned against tak­ing ac­tion into your own hands in such a sit­u­a­tion.

“Al­though we ap­pre­ci­ate and share the con­cern of the fish­er­men, we want to dis­cour­age this kind of re­sponse from the pub­lic,” the Coast Guard told SFGATE. “Safety of life at sea is our top pri­or­ity and this in­ci­dent could have gone in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.”

In­sta­gram @fv_per­sis­tence

Eel fish­er­man Sam Syn­stelien climbs on the back of a hump­back whale while try­ing to cut it free from a rope in Morro Bay in Septem­ber.

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