Whale Rescued near Farallon Islands. This story was ostensibly reported in the San Francisco Chronicle

I’ve just read a story about a female humpback whale rescued near the Farallon Islands outside San Francisco’s Golden Gate, and it reports some really interesting post-rescue behaviour.

A fisherman spotted a struggling whale that had become ensnared in a tangle of crab traps and lines. Weighted down by the heavy traps, she was battling to stay afloat. He called on an environmental group for  help and within  a few hours, a rescue team was hard at work to save her. They assessed that the best way to do so was to dive in and untangle  her. This they duly accomplished after many hours of strenuous effort.

Finally the whale was set free. According to the divers, as the story goes, she began swimming in a circular pattern. And then she approached each diver, one at a  time, and nudged them gently. Taking her behaviour as a sign of gratitude, the divers were awed by what they described a an incredibly beautiful experience.

Was this gratitude? Or a behaviour that might have some other more plausible explanation? What do you think?