Seeing a humpback whale in its natural environment, just a few feet away, is why whale watches are so popular on Maui. It’s only when you are that close to a whale that you see just how majestic and incredible these creatures are.

James Moskito caught a glimpse of a surfacing humpback whale while diving the waters off the coast of San Francisco. But when he took a better look he noticed that something wasn’t right.

The whale was spending an unusual amount of time on the surface.  James soon saw that the reason the whale was spending so much time on the surface was because it desperately needed help.

The poor whale had a mile of rope and 3,000 lbs. of crab pots wrapped around its tail and body.

What followed was a dangerous, one-of-a-kind rescue operation.