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Whale Breaches ON TO Yacht in Cape Town

Hectic! See what happens when a whale decides to breach on to a yacht...


NOTE: We have now also uploaded the video clip of the incident described below - you can check it out here



Ralph Mothes and Paloma Werner of the Cape Town Sailing Academy had a very close call when a whale breached right on to their yacht recently.

Paloma says:
“We had been taking some pictures and had just decided to head back when a Southern Right whale, between 11 - 14 m long, breached about 100 meters away from us. It then suddenly breached about 10 meters from us and then – right on us! We were sailing so had no engine and we could not even take any action. Scary!”
The whale as it breaches. Ralph can be seen at the helm. Photographer James K Dagmore
The images tell the story of the damage caused. The whale appeared to be unharmed and nobody on board was hurt, but the damage to the vessel was severe.
Devastation. Thankfully no-one was hurt.  Photographer James K Dagmore
For this reason the Cape Town Sailing Academy will not be in operation for around 6 weeks. However, if you are interested in learning how to sail, do contact them for future sailing courses in Cape Town, from Beginner to Advanced.
You can also find them on Facebook - join the group for updates on upcoming courses.




NOTE: We have now also uploaded the video clip of the incident described below - you can check it out here

50 Responses to Whale Breaches ON TO Yacht in Cape Town

Insane!! So lucky no one was hurt.

By Jolene (6 years ago)

Woah! That's mad! Amazing photo as well! Good timing, eh?

By Uwe (6 years ago)

Oh my word, that is horrific! I am so glad no one, including the whale, was hurt.

Amazing photos too.

By TitaniumTeddyBear (6 years ago)

Seems even whales hate ugly boats. Glad no one was hurt, including the whale.

By Seppo (6 years ago)

Heeeere fishy fishy fishy fishy!

By Ernie (6 years ago)

the first photo captures the human condition better than any I've seen lately.

By martin (6 years ago)

Maybe it was due to the picture on the mainsil, which n whale language may mean, "hey bump this thing with your head?"

Crazy photos.. Unbelieveable that someone was there to catch it.

By Peter (6 years ago)

what i'd like to know is who took the photo and how did they get it at the moment the whale was breaching! insane :)

By Claire (6 years ago)

Whale said, whadaya mean, coming into my house without and invitation?

By Bill Mangum (6 years ago)

That whale needs to get a brain! Moran!

By Roy D. Mercer (6 years ago)

Do whale breeching avoidance lessons cost more?

By moron (6 years ago)

Nice photoshop work: The whale has a shadow on the sailboat.

Poor photoshop work: The shadow implies that the whale should be touching (breaking) the shrouds in the second pic. The seastate is calm in the first pic, but small whitecaps in the second. The skyline is far different in the second pic.

Conclusion: Give it another try.

By Constant Craving (6 years ago)

who took the pic?
Pretty amazing shot if it is in fact a real pic and not altered.

By scott ethridge (6 years ago)

I think they are getting some practice in before taking on the combined might of the Japanese and Norwegian navies?

By Ryan (6 years ago)

Who gives a shite about the whale?!?!? Too bad it wasn't impaled on one of the stantions. Look at the mess on the baot. What in the heck was the whale thinking, anyway?

By Peterc (6 years ago)

Wow! This reminds me of the book The Swarm where whales do this regularly!

By Elloise (6 years ago)

OMG, usually you'd only see that in the movies

By karin (6 years ago)

Nice photoshop work

By yachtpals.com (6 years ago)

and i thought whales were peaceful creatures that liked us...

By dxm (6 years ago)

if you look at the sun/shadows onto the sail it does not match with the ones on the whale ... Also, wouldnt be the man at the helm looking at that direction when sucha whale has been breaching 10 mtrs away from them ??
Nice try guys

By oscar (6 years ago)

Hmmm , that was a close one . . . scary ! I know what it is like. Had an encounter with a Brydes whale 6 years ago In False Bay. I know that feeling.

By Etienne (6 years ago)

The amazing pictures I believe were taken by a gentleman from Botswana by the name of James. I do not know his surname. He was sightseeing on a nearby vessel.
Incredible pictures indeed.

By simontatt (6 years ago)

You are so lucky, imagined it being a full grown whale what damaged that could have been. At least no one and the whale was not hurt.

By Bubbly (6 years ago)

How did it happen that someone was there to take pictures? Were they doing a promo shot of just incredible luck? Usually when something this freaky happens no one is around to even witness it.

By Ray Williams (6 years ago)

Maybe the whale just really didn't like Rodger Moore's early work....

By Digsby (6 years ago)

It's photoshopped !!! Check out the back grounds.

By Capt Doug (6 years ago)

What a name for a boat: it reads "Intrepid"... I think the whale wanted to stress-test that point!!

luchy you nobody was hurt

By Jerome (6 years ago)

Amazing, you don't see that on the Clyde !!!!!!

By Dave (6 years ago)

Hi Guys,

Amazing pictures! I wish you quick return to the business. Great post, I hope the whale is fine too, poor shortsighted guy. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

By nick (6 years ago)

Poor chap - he has been wronged by society's true villains and needed my help; he is now, sadly, wanted by Inspector Claud Teal of Scotland Yard.

By Simon Templar (6 years ago)

That looks my boy Philip after some Krispy Kremes.

By Bob Kendall (6 years ago)

I think it's fair to say they were having a whale of a time...

By Tom S (6 years ago)


Once a yellowtail breached into my boat but it didn't do as much damage.

I was lucky.

By John (6 years ago)

AS an animal observer and a long time sailor, I can tell you there is NO way that a poor whale dare to hurt herself on a stupid boat. This is a nice hoax and very well-done made up picture. Too bad it will give a bad idea of whale behaviors, they really don't need that !!!

By chris (6 years ago)

I guess the Whale thought he was on a starboard breach.

By Karen Gabrielson (6 years ago)

Woow! There's another whale jumping over a boat in Patagonia today!
Newspapers are loosing their credibility publishing this kind of fakes.
How easy to cheat the world these days!

By Marcel (6 years ago)

I will repost this in my blog if u don't mind. :) Thanks for sharing..

By John Rey (6 years ago)

Who took the photo? How did they "happen" to snap it at just the perfect moment?

By Jeff in DC (6 years ago)

What a mess !!!
Do you want us to beleive that a whale, jumping on a boat has such a straight shadow.
More, wind seems to grow very quickly in this part of the globe regarding the sea...
I think it's the work of a infographist during a trainee period, I hope, in fact that the person that made such a joke is not professional.
Poor guy...

By NUX (6 years ago)

Apparently that whale was harrassed and that's why it reacted that way. There's an investigation going on at the moment.

By anonymous (6 years ago)

Of course the background changed - in the 1st shot the shore is visible, in the 2nd the boat is now a wreck and just turned to face out to the open sea (tanker in the background). And the visibility of foamy white crests also depends on whether the wind is blowing towards the camera or away. I'm pretty sure if you were a boat in the immediate area you stay and help, circling the damaged ship - changing your position constantly.
And please note - this happens within seconds, whats the guy on board supposed to do, turn around and jump into the water? You've watched too many movies, he's probably frozen on the spot!

By Rita (6 years ago)

Anyone who believes this photo is real, is really stupid.

By Rudy (6 years ago)

Amazing photos, but where is the inbetween, why only a before and after. The speed of that camera it would be easy to get a good second photo during the action.

By Jakes (6 years ago)

Thank you for all the comments...

If you haven't yet seen, there is now also a video clip of the incident which we have posted at


Still think it's a fake?

By Joy (6 years ago)

What is it that is on the whale's snout? I think he got caught in something and is trying to rid it from his nose--he can't swim backward, but needs to get rid of it.

By Dave Carroll (6 years ago)

amazing pic...

Expedition Yacht

By miss (6 years ago)

This pic is real. The guy who took is here in Botswana and for sure it is not fake. He is an ex-colleague and works for a sister company.

By Nkgari (5 years ago)

i love all the comments and "oh so clever" explanations as to how exactly this photo was photo shopped and edited. Any real photographers wanna give their input because a statement like "look at the background" is obviously not a valid reason to say this is fake. A boat on an open ocean moves (uncontrollably without it's mast) so i can imagine that the background would change depending on where the boat is and also where the photographer's boat is. And shadows are extremely difficult to interpret, also not a great reason to call it a fake. I haven;t watched the video yet but I'd also like to hear some ideas as to how the was editted.. Enjoy ;) and speedy recovery to Intrepid

By Henri R (5 years ago)

This is real i saw on TV news.

By jade (5 years ago)

@ all who commented about bad photoshop... you know-it-all retards wouldn't know bad photoshop if it slapped you in the chops! There is video on YouTube.

By SafferGirl (5 years ago)

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