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article imagePlayful whale lifts kayak with two people on board in Argentina

By Igor I. Solar     Jul 23, 2014 in Environment
Puerto Madryn - Two people navigating on a kayak off the coast of Puerto Madryn, Argentina, had a unique experience when their small vessel was gently lifted by a whale (Video). Such close encounter is illegal in Chubut for safety and conservation reasons.
While sailing on a kayak about 200 meters from shore in the city of Puerto Madryn, Province of Chubut, Argentina, on Sunday July 20, a man and a woman approached a group of whales. She paddled the kayak as her companion directed her in navigation while recording the situation. When approaching the pod, a whale swam towards them and stood right under the boat, lifting it slightly with the occupants on board. After several seconds the whale moved away, and the kayak floated again on water.
Although a close encounter with a giant cetacean is an amazing experience, and to some extent inspirational, local authorities brought to mind that for security and conservation reasons, approaching whales is prohibited.
According to the regulation (Law 2381, Chubut), which has been in effect since 1984, "any activity of approaching and/or harassing, riding, swimming and diving with any species of marine mammals and their young on sea coasts and provincial jurisdiction, is prohibited throughout the calendar year.” Furthermore, the law indicates that no one is allowed to approach whales "without authorization of the competent bodies of the executive branch, which will be granted in accordance with the purposes and limitations as determined by this Law."
The species of whale in the video is known as "Southern right whale" (Eubalaena australis). Approximately 10,000 of these whales are spread throughout the southern oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. Adults may reach a length of about 15 meters and can weigh up to 47 tons. Southern right whales are rather active on the water surface, and have shown to be curious and playful towards human vessels. In the south of Argentina, near the city of Puerto Madryn, the whales often come close to the shore and are a part of an important eco-tourism industry.
More about Whale, Southern right whale, Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina
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