Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Whale of a tale! 40-ton mammal lands on yacht

Whale of a tale! 40-ton mammal lands on yacht


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    A young Southern Right Whale is seen jumping out of the water between Robben Island and Blouberg, off Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday. The whale then landed on a yacht belonging to Ralph Mothes and Paloma Werner, breaking the steel mast. The whale swam away and the couple was not injured. (Courtesy of Paloma Werner)

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    Advertisement | ad info "We were watching the whale flipping its tail for about half an hour," said Cape Town Sailing Academy Administrator Paloma Werner, who was enjoying a Sunday sail with her boyfriend and sailing instructor, Ralph Mothes, before the whale breached and landed on their yacht. (Courtesy of Paloma Werner)

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    The whale destroyed the yacht's mast and damaged other parts of the boat as it thrashed about on the deck before going back into the water. The couple reported that the whale left some skin and blubber behind. (Courtesy of Paloma Werner)

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    Werner and Mothes were able to sail the damaged boat back into Table Bay Harbor. (Courtesy of Paloma Werner)

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    The young Southern Right Whale was longer than their 10-meter yacht — most likely between 11 and 14 meters — Werner said.
    "My boyfriend told me to go to the other side of the boat," she said, explaining that they thought it would dive under their vessel.
    "All I heard him say was 'Oh sh*&,' and I saw the whale come out of the water and crash against the mast of the boat.
    "I ducked behind the coach house and my boyfriend ducked behind the steering wheel and we saw the mast crashing toward us and the whale slip back into the water," she said.

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    "Only that evening did we really think about it, and when we saw the photo (a tourist took of the whale breaching) in yesterday's paper did we realize we were lucky to be alive," Werner said. (Courtesy of Paloma Werner)

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