Guessing it was a fairly young cougar?
Annette Thompson, an off-duty firefighter and former commercial diver, was one of two remaining people in the water along with Ben Hawkins. By that point, they had no flotation device and were trying to return to land, but there was a new challenge.Pilot whales are extremely social creatures. This one had bonded to its rescuers."We righted him several times," Thompson said. "Ben and I stayed with him as long as we could. Unfortunately, he kept following us to shore."Hawkins managed to separate from the animal first, but the whale stayed by Thompson's side. Finally, King on his paddleboard managed to get between the animal and his rescuer."Eventually -- this is after three or four attempts -- I got Annette into the reef at a point where she was safe," King said. The whale then started following King on his board, so he headed to deep, open water.