Humpback whale tail

A humpback whale's tail. PICTURE: Andrew Bain/Unsplash

It's a story reminiscent of that of the Biblical prophet Jonah. Michael Packard, a lobster diver, says he was working at a depth of about 13.5 metres off the coast of Provincetown in the US state of Massachussetts when he was scooped up in the mouth of a humpback whale. The whale then rose to the surface and spat him out, according to Packard, who was then pulled out of the water by a colleague and taken back to shore. “I was completely inside; it was completely black,” Packard told the Cape Cod Times. “I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead.’ All I could think of was my boys - they’re 12 and 15 years old.” Packard estimated he was in the whale's closed mouth for 30 to 40 seconds before he was spat out. "I am very bruised up but have no broken bones," he later wrote on Facebook. Experts have said such an incident, while extremely rare, is possible thanks to the whale's "gulp feeding" methods in which they open their mouth very wide. “It’s a very unusual accident...this is a one in a - goodness knows what - trillion chance,” Peter Corkeron, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium, told WBZ-TV. “He was just unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Dubbed "sang de glacier" ("glacier blood") by some and "watermelon snow" by others, red and pinkish tinged snow has been appearing with increased frequency in the French Alps and other cold habitats in recent times. It's a phenomena which Aristotle, in the 4th century BC, attributed to "red and hairy worms" under the snow, but scientists today have another, although not completely dissimilar, explanation - blooms of algae which apparently change colour to protect themselves from ultraviolet light. Sadly, according to French scientists, it may well be another sign of accelerated global warming with algae moving in as glaciers retreat.

A businessman in Florida bought a property in the community of Brooksville recently - only to discover the city's water tower came with it. Bobby Read reportedly purchased the former municipal building at the base of the tower for $US55,000 with the aim of turning it into a personal training studio. But he discovered when visiting the county property appraiser's office that the sale had also included the water tower. Not wanting the water supply, he told NPR that he has since returned the water tower to the local council's ownership.