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If you read a recent front page story of the SF Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale that had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.

tangled whale

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

thankful whale

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.

She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around: she was thanking them. Some said it was the most beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
I pass this on to you, my friends, in the same spirit.

Comments on: "The Whale Who Said “Thank You”" (55)

  1. Dear Cherokee
    I Love this message…is very beautiful!!!

  2. One of God’s beautiful creatures, the humpback whale.
    “Her eyes followed the guy who cut the rope out of her mouth the whole time, and he will never be the same.”

    Beautiful story and very uplifting for our spirits.

  3. ♥ Julie ♥ said:

    Awww Cherokee! How sweet! This was so wonderful to read! Thank you so much for this!
    Love to all ♥

  4. I love the way she went in joyous circles and then came back to each diver nudging them. Soo sweet…she thanked each one of them. We are all the same. We are the same!
    Thank you Father.

  5. Cherokee Billie,

    This is an awesome story, I just loved it. It really shows the connection of love that all species can have for one another.

    I’ve been seeing a lot of these articles lately that involve one type of species nurturing and caring for another type. These species would ordinarily be enemies with each other or would eat the other!

    Love to all,


  6. Dear Cherokee,

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for posting this. I’m so happy that they were able to help free this whale, for she surly would have been doomed without their help. It’s so sweet how she thanked each one of them for their help. I love stories like this, how we help our fellow animals in their time of need. Just as we can help our fellow humans in their time of need.
    Very lovely message of helping others and the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.


  7. Dear Cherokee:

    Thank you for sharing this story with us. It is a beautiful story. Thank God with a happy ending. How extraordinary that the whale may have to recognize that men were helping and then be happy and grateful. We can learn a lot from animals, they often give lessons to men.
    We think we are smarter than animals and yet we are filled with serious weaknesses and make mistakes every day. And we are not always considerate and grateful to those who are always helping us.
    Learn to love each days better person this close to us should be the proposal’s goal every day, I include myself in this.
    I’m glad you were able to rescue the whale, is so unfair that these animals always have to suffer because of networking, pollution and hunting of man.

    I want to highlight the work of a dark brown labrador bitch in Haiti. She alone could identify nine people alive and six bodies from the ruins of Port au Prince. The dog Lola, trained to search tasks in the collapsed buildings, became the mainstay of labor in the ruins of the Hotel Montana, located in one of the hills surrounding the Haitian capital.

    Here are the photo:

    Thanks for this post. I apply this lesson to my life.
    Much love and happiness for you.

    • Dear Annabela, how sweet the story you shared with us! The dog is so beautiful!! Look at the humble look in her eyes – just like an angel! A great soul at God’s service!

      Thank you! Love,

    • Aaaaw, how cute!! Hero dog! ^_^

    • Dear Anabella:
      thank you so much for sharing this story. I just love dogs they are so intelligent and this story proves it. I’m sure many people are thankful for this lovely little dog.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

    • Hola Anabella! como estas? Vi esto por tv y me emociono muchísimo! Lo que hizo Lola fue maravilloso y que tierna que es!!

      Hi Anabella how are you? I watched it on TV and was very touching. What did Lola was wonderful.
      Aww that dog is very sweet!
      Thank you

      • Hi Vanessa, hello to all:
        In this video you can see more about Lola:
        It’s a very adorable dog:

        Muchos cariños para ti.
        My love for all.

  8. What a precious and beautiful story. We are all God’s creatures great and small. I am very thankful that she was rescued and was on her way again. Those divers, I’m sure, will never forget their encounter with her. Thank you for sharing with us, Cherokee Billie.
    With love,

  9. Yes… this beautiful story really touched me too, I am so very sensitive to animals. They are so loving and innocent, full of life, God’s perfect creation! And I find humpbacks so amazingly beautiful, so big and yet so sweet! How fortunate were the people involved in the story!!

    Thank you, Cherokee Billie! The story went straight to the bottom of my heart!


  10. Hi everyone!! Hi dear Cherokee! What a beautiful story! There are so many things about the animals that people don’t even imagine.. They think animals don’t understand things, but this is so wrong. The whale knew exactly what was happening and was grateful. It was a wonderful moment that she and the divers had!

    We all should be more harmonized with animals and nature, we are all our Mother Earth’s sons. All the animals are very special, they certainly have a place in my heart ^_^.

    Hope you all are doing fine! Take care!


  11. God bless you and I read this in perfect timing and joyous prayers for us all…again my love, this was too perfect not to say thank you Cherokee is such a true deep expression of what dolphins and whales do and who they are…In Oregon I visited Keiko several times…he would stop and give energy to every spirit from that tank, staight from his eyes to your soul…my love again…will be back more later.. you all are so beautiful…Sarah

  12. CB-I love this story, it brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for this inspiring story that has reminded me of all my loved ones that are there for me! God bless to all!!!!!! ❤

  13. robjam972000 said:

    Such a beautiful story 🙂

    Light and Love Susanxx

  14. This is really very inspiring.. I love those creatures.. whales and dolphins.. for me they both are so intelligent .. and I guess It will take a lifetime to understand their complexity…
    sorry if I didnt come here these last days…
    things in my country are a little troubled and heated during these last weeks., and it seems to get worst….
    God bless you all.. I always keep you in my mind…

    • Geisela…I have thought of you on the news…keeping you in prayers during the “heated situation” God Bless..take care of you…Sarah

      • Sarah! thanks so much for your concern..
        unafortunately.. we are kindo getting used to this anormal situation…
        lets see what the time brings…
        Love you more! 🙂

  15. Lovely story! A good way to start the day!
    Thank you for posting it Cherokee.

  16. anniekovacs said:

    What a beautiful story… I often watch animal documentaries on TV and I love animals very much. The truth is they know more than we often think. An animal feels when we want to help her/him and they are very thankful. No wonder why our dear Michael loved animals so much, they were his escapade. God bless all people who love animals cause they are good souls.

  17. this is beautiful – i am crying now …
    we need to have so much more respect to our animals and their souls …

  18. lilystardust said:

    What an incredibly touching story. I didn’t hear about this one.

    What had been more dominant in the news for the last several weeks was the plight of several sea lions with similar, though not nearly as horrific, (though equally life threatening) problems with ropes and fishing lines.

    One in particular kept eluding the rescuers, who tried to catch him for weeks. They had been afraid to shoot him with tranquilizers because if he escaped and swam back into the water before they could catch him, the tranquilizer would take affect and he could drown. After trying and trying for weeks to catch him, they finally used an anti-anxiety sedative, and were able to catch him. The news said he was 100 pounds underweight at that point, and extremely dehydrated and stressed.

    “Injured sea lion rescued in Monterey Bay
    The Associated Press
    Posted: 01/24/2010 03:47:13 PM PST
    Updated: 01/24/2010 03:47:15 PM PST

    MOSS LANDING, Calif.—An injured sea lion that was first spotted New Year’s Day on Pier 39 in San Francisco has finally been rescued.
    The sea lion was captured Sunday at Moss Landing Harbor in Monterey Bay.

    The animal has evaded rescuers since Jan. 1 when it was seen in San Francisco Bay with fishing line tangled around its neck and mouth.

    But on Sunday, a team from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito managed to capture it after shooting it with darts containing an anti-anxiety sedative.

    The sea lion will be taken to the center to be treated for dehydration and other problems.

    Center spokesman Jim Oswald said the rescue team named the sea lion Abagnale after the 1960s con artist, Frank Abagnale Jr., who Leonardo DiCaprio played in the movie “Catch Me If You Can.””

    This is a link to one of the San Francisco TV stations that reported it, and a copy of one of the news videos:

    This has become such a serious problem for our sea life, and is so maddening to me. Some of it has a name now: “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. Google has a list of sites about it:

    I really like how your story ended; not only for the whale, but in the hopes that we too can be freed from the entanglements that bind us. Thank you for another profound message.



    • dear Lily:
      I agree we need to be released from our personal entanglements as well. Thank you for sharing this story about the seal. I know that these creatures can’t help the garbage that is being thrown Into our oceans. It kind of reminds me of back in the 1950’s when they were testing atomic bombs in the ocean and on the land. This has caused many illnesses for all creatures on the planet. Mankind has a good way of destroying itself. Let us keep changing our little bit of the world and hopefully that will spread more and more.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  19. Dear Cherokee what a lovely story with thank goodness a lovely ending.It must have seemed almost a spiritual experience for those men when the whale seemed to thank them all. Perhaps this story will stop other less caring people from throwing all their rubbish into our oceans, one careless act can have such dire consequences.

    • I agree with what you have to say completely. I hope something changes people’s consciousness and they start thinking about the world and others.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  20. Thank you very much for sharing this story Cherokee Billie, its touching and so beautiful. I hope you are still well and also everyone here 🙂

    Been very sick this pass 3 weeks but feeling much better, so it was nice to read the new posts and everyones comments.

    Love to all xxx

    • Dear Nicolene:
      glad to hear that you are feeling better. Keep asking for the angel Rafael to touch and heal you. I’m glad you like the post. I just think animals are fantastic And we’re fortunate to inhabit the planet with them.
      many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

      • Hello Cherokee Billie,

        Yes, we are fortunate to have animals with us, i cant imagine this planet without them! They are some of us`s best friends 🙂
        I also loved the post about our animal totems, I definitaly know mine is cats as Ive had some special love for them since I was a todler. I love all animals but cats surely are my favourites. Thank you for giving us the meanings and qualities of the animals as totems.

        Hope you have a nice day xxx

    • Hi Nicolene, nice to see you here! I wish for you good health, may you be each day better and better! God will help 😉


      • Hello Mayra,

        Thank you for your good wishes for my health, the worst is over and im much better 🙂 Hope to hear you are also well.

        Enjoy ur day xxx

    • Hello Nicolene:
      I wondered what happened to you. Happy that you are feeling better. We missed you.

      Mary Ann

      • Hello Mary Ann,

        I have always been here following 🙂 hope you are well?
        Thank you for your reply and enjoy ur day xxx

  21. carissima5 said:

    Dear Billie, thank you so much for this uplifting post – it certainly brought tears to my eyes reading about the connection between the whale and its rescuer.
    I needed to be reminded of spiritual love today and reading your post was heavenly sent. It certainly lifted my heavy heart, especially the last para. THANK YOU
    Blessings to all from oz

  22. maritab24 said:

    Dear Cherokee, this is a beautiful story, thanks God she is ok now.
    Thank you for sharing. I hope this story can be read by the people who kill whales around the world, so that they can soften their hearts.
    God bless you forever Cherokee. ♥

    • I agree, I hope people do see this and change their ways. These are noble majestic creatures that should be treated as such. Thank you so much for your kind wishes for me. May You be richly blessed, Cherokee Billie

  23. Very sweet story. Wonderful that there was a happy ending for the whale.

  24. littlerain93230 said:

    Thank you Cherokee this was a beatiful story. The whale definatley had the gratitude attitude. The divers showed love to the whale and the whale showed love in return. Sweet.


  25. WOW, what a beautiful story! Thanx for sharing it all of us CB, it really touched my heart. Whales and dolphins are very intelligent creatures and we all can learn so much from these incredible animals, no wonder our dear Michael loved them so!

    Thank you so much for your prayers as well, I have a job interview this Monday and it’s right near my home!!

    • Dear P:
      I’m so glad this story touched your heart. I just love it.
      I will keep praying for you to get this job quickly. You are on my prayer list.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  26. The beauty of this story is that the whale will live out her days with very positive emotions for her rescuers.
    Man is looked upon by animals in most cases… which is well deserved…as the enemy. But in this instance the whale’s heart overflowed with love regarding those humans that took the time to save her from potential death.

    • dear Mary Ann:
      how true that this whale will remember these wonderful people. I pray for to have a happy and long life without ever encountering another problem. Animals have souls and they know when they have been shown a kindness.
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  27. Dear Cherokee Billie,

    Thank you for posting such a heart-warming story. It is wonderful how many people truly love animals, be it a dog, a bird or a whale. As per your previous article on the many totems we can have during our lifetime, animals are truly a gift from God and so very necessary to keep our spirits in good health. I feel exhilaration when I think about how the whale felt once it was free from such a treacherous situation…..ultimate joy and happiness. Further, what is so sweet is this beautiful creature expressed its gratitude and thanks right away without being able to utter a word. The rescue team certainly received a precious blessing to be part of such this life changing moment of pure happiness and appreciation. Being of help to someone, or in this case a whale, can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. The connection we have to all living things is so very powerful.

    Be Blessed,


    • dear Cathey:

      this is an exhilarating story. I hope that it blesses everyone who reads it like it did you. Those rescuers will always remember this whale. And thanks to the news we will always remember this beautiful whale who had such love in her heart for being freed that she thanked those who had helped her.
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  28. Awww how sweet!! we need learn from animals so much!…nobody taught them to thank and them yet do it from their innocence and purity. This story makes me moved to tears.
    Thank you!

  29. lilystardust said:

    I have just one more thing to say (and I’ll try to keep it at one, because it’s hard for me to stop once I get started). Sometime around 1994 I got involved with a group of vegetarians and read a book that changed my life, “Diet For a New America”, by John Robbins.

    I worked from home at the time and had lots of time to read, and ended up marathon reading the entire book in a matter of days, from beginning to end. This book had me in absolute tears over the way animals for “food” were treated (and in many other areas) and really sensitized me to a nearly unbearable point. I may seem somewhat more distanced around these kinds of topics because it’s still really painful to think about. I lost sleep over that book, and many others I ended up reading.

    I became a vegan overnight because of “Diet For A New America”. I saw things very differently than I had before. I started reading books PETA had printed (this was just before the explosion of internet sites and faster computers that could then have videos). I immersed myself in any books I could find that related to those topics. I was a changed person. I was more actively involved.

    When my circumstances changed a few years later and I had to start working in the “real” world again, my zealousness declined (more like deteriorated) over time until I was no longer even vegetarian. I felt defeated about a lot of things. There was so much pressure to “fit in” in the workplace that over time I completely lost myself. I kept wanting to “get back” to it, but never really suceeded. I think I had had to desensitize myself so much just to BE in a “work environment” that I became defensively desensitized towards almost everything over time. Possibly because I hated so much of it. I am still trying to “get back”.

    But one thing that stuck, even while no longer being vegetarian, was what I had learned about animals and our connection to them (and plants too, actually). I still have the same feelings.

    Cherokee Billie’s blog started to help “bring me back”. I am disappointed in myself for not living the way I had been once, or tried to be. Living by what I had “believed in”.

    Anyway, I found a link to what looks like the entire book “Diet For A New America”, and wanted to share it. I have it starting with “Introduction” because he starts with a few poignant small stories about our relationship with animals. (To read the book from the beginning, just click on Contents).

    Another book that changed my perspective about plants came out in the 1973, called “The Secret Life of Plants”, which I didn’t read until about five years ago. This was a real eye opener too.

    (Wikipedia link

    Thank you all for helping me start to “get back”.


  30. Thank you for such a wonderful post! My heart is filled with joy! I woke up hearing “Earth Song” in my head, I went directly to your blog and found this beautiful story!

    God Bless you CB!!


  31. Hey Cherokee,

    This is such an up lifting post! People whom are truley blessed such have amazing expriences.

    The moment of such an extrordinary contact from the whale must have been out of this world. No matter if that person ever sees that whale again same for the whale.

    To me this is such a spritual moment to treasure in your souls. And will never be forgotton By the person or the whale.

    God bless you Cherokee and everyone on the blog.

    all my love

    Saba 🙂

    • Dear Saba:
      it’s good to hear from you again. I’m so glad that this story touched your heart. It’s definitely uplifting and something needed in our daily lives.
      many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

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