Not everyone thinks this whale of a tale is a whopper.
Despite getting sunk by some experts, Cape Cod lobsterman Michael Packard’s story about being nearly gulped down by a humpback is getting support from local scuba divers — who insist it’s not too fishy to swallow.
“I don’t think he’s lying at all. I think it’s amazing what happened,” Bob Peck of Adventure Diving Services of Cape Cod told Boston.com.
Peck, who has been a diver for almost 50 years, thinks the real-life Jonah tale was just too rare and wild for a Cape Cod Hospital emergency room doc who didn’t treat Packard but dismissed his tale to The Post.
“What’s the doctor gonna know about the ocean? Come on now,” Peck told Boston.com.
“You got to go to the doctor because you’re sick. But you’re not going to go to the doctor if you got to go catch lobsters and play with whales …
“He’s probably shocked,” Peck added of The Post’s source. “And I’m shocked, too, that he didn’t get hurt more than he did,” he said of his fellow diver.
Don Ferris, of Don Ferris Dive Training of Cape Cod, suggested that the medic was “totally confused with that he’s talking about with physics” by suggesting Packard should have suffered far more serious injuries.
Ferris — a diving instructor of almost four decades who has authored books about his adventures — told Boston.com that an ascension rate of 45 feet in 20 to 40 seconds “is nothing.”
“It’s very survivable coming to the surface that fast as long as you’re breathing out,” Ferris said, suggesting that Packard’s scuba equipment likely protected him against the whale’s jaws.
He said Packard already had two perforated eardrums from his many years underwater, explaining perhaps why he did not suffer fresh injuries.
“He’s a commercial diver, bro,” Ferris told the outlet. “He’s not going to have barotrauma in his ears coming up from 40 feet. It’s just not a thing,” he insisted of the doc’s suspicion.
“I don’t see where he gains anything attention-wise by, you know, having people thrash him for lying in a bar or something,” Ferris said.
“So yeah, I think he did have some kind of encounter … It’s a pretty, pretty dangerous job that he’s doing,” he said.
Josiah Mayo, a crewmate who was with Packard, said the local community believes his crewmate because of “a code unspoken” among “that sort of elite group of fishermen.”
“They always underestimate their catch, you know, how rough it was out there, any of the drama that happens out there,” Mayo insisted.
“If it happened to some yahoo, basically, all we’d be doing is arguing about whether it really happened or not. And there’s been very little of that — and for obvious reasons,” he said of his crewmate’s respect among divers.
Other experts say Packard likely only stayed in the mouth of the whale, which likely sucked him in by accident, given that humpbacks are not typically aggressive, especially toward humans. A humpback’s esophagus is also too narrow to swallow a person.
“I imagine the whale had this, like, ‘Oh my goodness’ moment and probably got rid of him as quickly as it could,” Dr. Peter Corkeron, of the New England Aquarium, told NBC 10 Boston.
Packard could not be reached for comment for the article, Boston.com said.