Somehow, the animal had gotten itself perilously close to the freezing cold water. And in an attempt to save itself from sinking into the depths, it hung desperately onto a nearby ferry. Fortunately, though, Johan Skärkarl was at the scene – and the creature’s plight spurred him on to attempt an intrepid rescue.
Skärkarl had spotted the animal clinging on for dear life to the HSC Gotlandia II – a vessel that takes passengers to the Swedish island of Gotland. At the time of the incident, the ferry was docked in Visby, which is the island’s principal town and home to nearly half of Gotland’s residents.
And as the salvage operation took place in February 2014, the waters around Gotland were likely to have been very cold indeed. Indeed, sea temperatures in Visby in February typically fall between 33 °F and 37.4 °F. Swimming in such conditions, then, may lead to hypothermia. But Skärkarl was seemingly not going to let this stop him.