By NYDaily News / Michael Sheridan
It was one whale of a tale… literally.
A couple off the coast of South Africa enjoying a beautiful day of sailing had a terrifying run in with a massive mammal that left them unharmed, but their craft seriously damaged.
“We’d spotted it about 100 meters away and thought that was the end of it,” said Paloma Werner, who was on the boat with her boyfriend and business partner, Ralph Mothes. “Then suddenly it was right up beside us.”
The couple, experienced sailors who operate the Cape Town Sailing Academy together, had noticed the whale as they cruised through Table Bay, near Cape Town harbor, when it approached their vessel.
“I assumed it would go underneath the boat, but instead it sprang out of the sea,” the 50-year-old said.
“I thought surely it can’t be on a collision course with us,” said 59-year-old Mothes.
The Southern right whale, an endangered species common to those waters which can weight up to 60 tons, shot into the air and smashed into the Intrepid, a 32-foot yacht with a steel hull.
“We were very lucky to get through it, as the sheer weight of the thing was huge,” said Werner.
Mothes, who was piloting the boat, ducked behind the wheel as the whale thrashed around on the deck and destroyed their mast, before finally slipping back into the water.
“Miraculously nothing happened to us,” Werner told CNN.
The moment was photographed by a tourist from Botswana, who was aboard a nearby boat. The couple used their engine to pilot the broken vessel back to shore.
Despite being frightened for their lives, and their boat, the couple aren’t holding a grudge against the beast from below the sea.
“He was just having fun,” Wener said. “They have very poor eyesight and obviously if they’re breaching visibility is very poor. The whale did not intend to attack us.”
According to South Africa’s Independent, officials are investigating whether or not one or more boats had been antagonizing the sea creature.
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