When the sea suddenly churned up, the group realised that something strange was happening.
Out of the darkness loomed a Bryde’s Whale, shooting up from the depths, jaws wide open. In that split second Mr Schimpf found himself wedged, head first, inside the mammal’s mouth.
“I felt enormous pressure around my waist which is when I guess the whale realized his mistake,” he added.
“As the the whale turned sideways, he opened his mouth slightly to release me and I was washed out, together with what felt like tons of water, of his mouth, while the whale himself was swallowing all the fish in his throat.”
Watching from a nearby boat were Heinz Toperczer, a photographer and Silke Schimpf, Mr Schimpf’s wife, who were forced to watch on in horror as events unfolded.
As the ordeal lasted just 1.8 seconds, they did not register what happened until Mr Schimpf was back up and out of the water, still clutching his underwater camera.
“Silke saw there was a foreign object in the whale but it was only when I popped up by the boat she realised it was me,” Mr Schimpf added.