By David Aspinall
An underwater photographer had a close call with a giant fin whale which almost swallowed him along with a mouthful of food.
Diver Peter Schneider was filming orcas in the waters off Skjervoy, Norway, when he had a huge surprise.
When a group of tiny fish started to swim towards the surface, the German mariner quickly knew something was up.
From seemingly out of nowhere, a huge pair of jaws from a fin whale swept past Peter as it gulped down a gargantuan gobful of herring.
Peter, from Berlin, said: “There was no time for feeling anything and no sensation.
“I was fully immersed in the ‘now’ and reacted to the impulses sent in lightning speed to my brain without knowing I was doing something actively.
“Its body scratched along my flippers before its bow wave pushed me to the side.”
Peter was one of three people in the water, as they were observing the hunting behaviour of orcas and how they feed on herrings.
Peter, who filmed the encounter in November but has just revealed the footage, said: “I wonder if whales are able to feel anything else through such a thick layer of fish.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why they can’t miss us when they’re feeding.
“On this occasion, I started to stop the recording as the scene hunting was finished.
“While pressing the stop button, I sensed something, but couldn’t figure out what.
“From there on, everything happened in a kind of slow motion and extreme high speed in the same time.”