Whale pic may be fake

2010-07-22 10:04

Cape Town - An image of a whale breaching over a yacht has caused much debate about whether it is real or fake.

A series of pictures were taken on Sunday, showing a damaged yacht and ending with one of a whale breaching. What arouses suspicion is that the captain doesn't look in the breaching whale's direction.

According to a marine biologist, whales may breach for a variety of reasons, but accidents are extremely rare.

"If that really happened, it's an extremely rare event," Dyer Island Conservation Trust marine biologist Michelle Wcisel told News24.

"He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The whale probably had no idea the yacht was there. When we go out to study whales and they come close we run the engines and they can hear us, but that was a sail boat, so perhaps the whale didn't hear it at all," she said.

Wcisel said southern right whales don't use sonar as they feed on krill, but they have good hearing. The accident may relate to visibility.

"Possibility the water may have been too dark for the whale to see the boat, but I've never heard of this happening in South Africa," she said.

"The only accident I can think of was in Alaska when a group of kayakers approached feeding whales and one got whacked off."

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  • Gareth - 2010-07-22 10:18

    Ummmm... didn't News24 run an article on Monday about a whale landing on the yacht? If so then logic says, the images are more then likely true.

  • DeonL - 2010-07-22 10:20

    The damage looks real, what else could it have been?

  • johan w - 2010-07-22 10:26

    the damage looks real ... the jury is "out" as to the cause though ...

  • Leaza - 2010-07-22 10:30

    If this image was fake then how do the crew members account for the damage to the boat and bits of whale skin left behind. Also, who took the photographs - surely they can verify this

  • Boo - 2010-07-22 10:38

    Well!!! So what happened? The captain damaged the boat on purpose and then made up the story???

  • Narike - 2010-07-22 10:42

    Who took the pic and from where? It's clearly not taken from the boat itself. The incident occurred on Sunday and was reported in the community newspaper The Echo on Tuesday, but without this pic. So where and when did the pic come from?

  • Craig Scannell - 2010-07-22 10:49

    Im not to sure....looks suspicious to me. If the whale to to breach - do you not think the boat would have capsized or caused the boat more damage. The weight of such an animal and the direction from where it came as per the photo, would surly have send the skipper overboard. In the photo the skipper does not even look in the direction of whale - if that we me or anyone else you would not be standing still like that. Who took the photo and such instinct to know that the whale was going to breach the boat - to be ready for that...well not to sure about that as well. Photoshop does amazing things you know.

    very suspicious but could be true I guess...

  • Sam - 2010-07-22 10:55

    The captain would have heard the whale breaching... And if it were me, I'd have ducked the hell away. This captain is still happily sailing the yacht. My $$ goes with these pics being photoshopped...

  • Chucky - 2010-07-22 11:01

    Right what else could have happened although that whale looks like its not going to clear the yacht and somehow it looks like it would smash it right in half..

  • Derek - 2010-07-22 11:02

    Why is the side of the yacht not damaged?It looks more like the yacht went through a low bridge!

  • Fiona - 2010-07-22 11:02

    This photo must be a fake!!! In addition to the sailor and his companion being oblivious to the fact that there is an animal of that magnitude about to crash into them, for someone to be in the right place at the right time to take this photo is just ridiculous!

  • Dion - 2010-07-22 11:03

    The picture is fake, but the damage is real and I believe that it was caused by a whale, but not the one in the pic.

  • Chris - 2010-07-22 11:06

    Easily sorted - bring the camera and save your reputation.

  • springbok - 2010-07-22 11:08

    There is always a first time.

  • Paul - 2010-07-22 11:14

    Why would the photographer be taking a photo of a random boat? You can't tell me someone just happened to have a camera and saw a whale jumping right near a boat and thought it would be a great photo opportunity.

    Pic is fake.

  • smellarat - 2010-07-22 11:16

    Very persuasive insurance claim...not!! I do not think that this photo has any merit whatsoever. The lengths people would go to is frightening, especially in a recession....Perhaps the SABC should investigate?? And SAPO??

  • vortex - 2010-07-22 11:17

    One wonders who was on hand to take photograph from this conveniently picturesque angle.

  • hein cent - 2010-07-22 11:18

    That is what you call a whale of a time.

  • HP - 2010-07-22 11:19

    Its not the same boat the one that has the damages got a white stripe on the side and the other one hasnt

  • Skiboater - 2010-07-22 11:21

    Whatever caused the damage to the yacht using the Beafort scale the pictures of the whale were not taken around the same time the picture of the yacht at sea were taken. Look at the white crests. I have seen all sorts of fish jump out of the water in my over 50 years of deep sea fishing but never a whale.

  • LOL - 2010-07-22 11:21

    C'mon, what are the chances that somebody was there to capture the moment......picture is a fake...

  • Andrew The Skeptic - 2010-07-22 11:24

    Fake. Where’s the so called “… there was skin everywhere.” And the photograph of the whale breaching alongside the yacht just looks all wrong. How did the photographer get the timing so perfectly right? Just to get good pictures of a shark breaching takes a lot effort, money and patience.

  • Ryan - 2010-07-22 11:26

    Fake !! Look at the colour of the water. And the whale look deep-etched.

  • Abie - 2010-07-22 11:28

    Well well well...a bit of scrutiny by N24 should have been in order. The damage is to to the mast, at the front of the boat. On the pic, the whale is seen to be jumping onto the back of the boat. And does anyone in their right mind believe that whan a massive animal beaches right next to you, noise and all, that you simply keep on looking straight ahead? Especially given the context - the whale was coming closer and the salors were alert to this fact.

    Come one...let's get real. It's an ok fake to the untrained eye.

    Look also at the angle of the sun. While the whale is fully lit up, the back of the sailor is shaded. Impossible! Look closely... ;-)

  • Peter Boot - 2010-07-22 11:28

    Who took the photo of the whale breaching ? Right place at the right claim me thinks !!!!!

  • doubter - 2010-07-22 11:28

    I think the picture is not real because if one looks at the size of the whale in comparison with the boat. A Southern Right Whale that breaches like that must be a sexualy mature and therefore its size is that of a bus. The boat in question looks like alot bigger in the picture than it should and the whale alot smaller than it should indicating that the photo has been doctored. Furthermore, if a bus hit that boat it would do considerable damage. now imagine a whale bigger and heavier than a bus falling on that boat. It would have caused loads more damage. I dont know why or how the boat got damaged but I feel that someone is letting on out to make a quick buck!

  • KS - 2010-07-22 11:29

    Why is the side of the boat that the whale landed on not damaged in the first pictures showing the alleged damage and where is the shadow of the whale while breaching...? Where are the photos of the "pieces of whale" that were lying all over the boat after the incident? I definitely doubt if this is true!

  • Cameron - 2010-07-22 11:29

    I am sure that the images of the damage are real, and I can even believe that a whale DID breach on top of the boat, and caused that kind of damage. BUT, the actual picture of the whale breaching is obviously fake. Really, apart from the fact that the captain is not looking at the whale, if that picture WAS true, the damage would have been very different that what the other pictures show. In fact, I daresay that if that picture was true, looking at the direction and momentum of the whale, it would have sunk the boat. No way will the hull survive that...
    So I say - to the last picture - FAKE.
    Perhaps the owners needs a bit of insurance for thought...

  • mike turner - 2010-07-22 11:33

    A whale of a tale.......any rum involved???

  • Zak - 2010-07-22 11:34

    The shadows on the photo look correct, if you have a look at the shadow on the hull the sun light angles all look fine.(DeonL) Good question what else could it have been?

  • wiledog - 2010-07-22 11:36

    where's the original photographer? why doesn't he/she come out in defense of the authenticity of the photo? Fake, i say!

  • James - 2010-07-22 11:37

    They must have had one 'whale' of a party! No, but in all seriousness it certainly looks genuine and expensive !

  • Blue - 2010-07-22 11:37

    I am not doubting that the incident happened. Just I think we have an opportunistic photographer who read about, had a pic of the boat and decided to do a bit of photoshop to it to make some cash.

  • fakemen - 2010-07-22 11:40

    Of course the picture of the diving whale is a fake. This is what we are fed with nowadays. If you press the publishers they will say, "We never said this was the actual picture of the whale... blah blah blah" This is the type of McDonalds news that we get fed with everyday. We are being brainwashed. Just a simple (unprofessional) look at the picture shows you its a fake: The guy on the boat looks calm and does not even turn his head towards the diving monster? That is not real. Normally he would instinctively be bracing for impact! Then count the number of fins on the whale. We should see at least 2 but we see only the tail fin. The others were edited out of the way. Then watch the water drops from the whale. They disappear where the image of the whale intersects with that of the ship. Looc at the color of water at the base of both the ship and the whale. This is a fake, period!

  • oscar s - 2010-07-22 11:45

    a) who took the picture, and why did they have the camera out at that time?
    b) with a "before" photo and two "after" photos showing a tail in water, why were there no photos of actually landing on the boat. No photos of the boat in the ocean with damage. Only after they get back to doc do they take photos of the boat.

  • Gorilla - 2010-07-22 11:55

    of course it's fake. the shadows are out of whack, surely if someone was going to "publish" pics like this, they would do a better job of photoshopping. Amatuers.

  • The Chad - 2010-07-22 11:55

    very difficult to assess the authenticity from a low resolution shot like this, but i am not 100% convinvced after looking at this pic....might not have thought any different had the story not been about it being a fake, but agree that the captain not looking is a bit strange?

    also, the hull is red and blue....but in the shadowed area, there is not real trace of the red section...but that might just be due to the low res pic???

    still a good photojob if its not real, and well timed photograph if it is!

  • crazy cow - 2010-07-22 12:00

    So where's the pic of the whale actually making the damage to the boat? There is one of before and the damage after - but non actually showing the whale hitting the masts?

  • Owen - 2010-07-22 12:04

    What's the evidence say - if there is whale skin on the boat then it must have happened. The pilot may not have heard anything either. With the wind in ones ears the whale coming out of the water would have made very little sound. What I find strange is the photographer just happened to be in a pefect position to take the snap.

  • GaryD - 2010-07-22 12:06

    What nonsense, photographer just happened to be in prime position to take the perfect shot??? The skipper is looking almost in the opposite direction what he couldnt hear a five ton whale about to squash him?? This footage was real every news network in the world would have shown it what a joke. I do not live in cape town anyone recall weather conditions on sunday? According to it was foggy and slightly overcast the conditions in the photo look sunny clear a and calm.

  • tarryn - 2010-07-22 12:07

    If the whale landed at that angle surely there would be more damage to the body of the yacht and not only the mast?

  • John - 2010-07-22 12:13

    I agree that something looks wrong with the captain of the boat. He isn't looking at the whale nor does his body depict moving away from it in any way like someone would when something that large jumps out of the water towards your boat. He looks very relaxed, if anything. Also, why is there only one picture of the whale in mid air and not more of it afterwards. Logic would call for the photographer to take as many as possible in the shortest amount of time.

  • Walt - 2010-07-22 12:14

    The sailor looks rather calm at the helm with a whale thats about to destroy his yacht

  • Justin - 2010-07-22 12:16

    if its been photoshopped then it has been done well. the shadows are correct and so is the perspective and relative sizes. why should there be speculation though? surely the person who supplied the pic can vouch for its authenticity?

  • Mark - 2010-07-22 12:19

    I say it's a fake. You can see the shadow of the whale on the side of the boat but not on the cabin or on the water.

  • 2c - 2010-07-22 12:21

    If a whale that size fell onto that yacht it would have damaged the side. No damage! Se the difference on from the front of the yacht (no red bottom line) and other pics where red bottom line runs from back to front og the boat. Fake I say fake!!!

  • Eben - 2010-07-22 12:23

    Who took the photo of the yacht and the whale? If the incident is genuine the photographer must surely be known?

    The photo of the yacht and the whale are just as rare, to have someone with a camera, on a boat, looking into the direction of the yacht, taking a photo at exactly the right time when the whale breached the water, and only a single photo between the time the whale leapt out of the sea, allegedly collided onto the yacht, and eventually fell back into the sea - sounds fishy to me

    Further, there don't seem to be any photo of the side of the yacht that was allegedly impacted by the whale. One would have assumed that there are visisble damage to the hull of the yacht if the incident happened?

    Untill clarified, I cannot beleive the story.

  • @ Gareth and DeonL - 2010-07-22 12:24

    The images of the damage aren't the big issue. What is being debated is whether the picture of the whale actually in mid breach about to slam into the yacht is real.

  • emma - 2010-07-22 12:38

    I think it's a fake. The photographer couldn't have been on the yacht because the yacht is sailing away from her. If she was in the water- why is the angle of the picture not lower? The horizon on the background is perfectly straight and there is no way how somebody who jumped off the yacht in a split second can take such a perfect straight photo. If you look at the other pictures of the whale in the water- the horizon is skew- any photographer can tell you that this is a common mistake of somebody taking quick pictures.

  • denise jeffery - 2010-07-22 12:47

    Who took the photo, they must have been close be with camera in ready mode!! Very lucky!