Whale pic may be fake

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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