By Jody Dean

For a few minutes, marine biologist Nan Hauser couldn’t figure out why the 22-ton humpback whale wouldn’t leave her alone. Pushing her through the water, the huge animal didn’t seem aggressive – but even the smallest miscalculation meant potential danger. The whale kept nosing at Hauser, eventually lifting her from the water atop its head.

At one point, Hauser found herself under the massive creature’s pectoral fin – but she couldn’t see what her colleagues on the dive boat could see: a lurking tiger shark as large as a pickup truck.

It turns out the whale and its companion were apparently protecting Hauser from the shark – something whales have been known to do with seals. This, though, with a human, was a first – and it was all caught on tape.

See if you could have kept your cool.

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