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Southern right whales hate the paparazzi

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By now you’ve seen the above picture and probably smiled in amazement. It’s a great shot. But an unfortunate situation.

It’s hard to say what exactly drove the whale to react like it did so close to the boat but I would wager it was trying to tell them, or us, something. I’m not some sort of animal mystic but I’ve read enough to know that whales are damn intelligent mammals and extremely in tune with their aquatic enviornment. Despite Matt Lauer’s giddy insight, it was ticked-off about something. And at 40 tons, it’s certainly not a real young whale that might have been playing a bit too rough. The folks seem pretty straight-up about their explanation as to how it happened and that they were not following it (although obviously, others were out there whale watching). At the very least, this is as strong a sign as any that when we’re in the ocean—sailboat, cruise ship or surfboard—we’re far from in charge.

Now if we can just find a way to take Matt Lauer whale watching …

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