This story has been all over the internet this week, but whatever. I saw what may or may not be a video of the incident on Barstool Sports. Check it out:
Two reasons I think this might be fake. One, it’s hard to imagine a group of people being that callous. To watch a whale slam into a boat, yuck it up a little bit and then drive away is inhuman and pretty unimaginable, really. Two, if this were to occur, you’d have to be a complete idiot to ever release the video. If there’s video evidence of you behaving like monsters, you just get the hell out of there. Plus, these people would be tried (and convicted, I’m sure) for violating the Good Samaritan Laws, unless that only happens in Seinfeld.
Moving on to the actual story, when mom whales sit their kids down to teach them the rules of breaching, lesson number 1 is that you don’t jump into boats. That’s one of those things that doesn’t even really need to be taught, like don’t run with scissors or don’t play in traffic. The teacher just points it out, the student whales roll their eyes, and you move on to the next lesson. This must have been one of those whales who ate glue as a kid. Just not a smart whale.
When I was a little kid, my family used to go on whale watches ever summer. Christ that was a miserable experience. The first time I went, I spent the entire time huddled inside the cabin next to the bathroom. Couldn’t handle the boat. The second time, I took so much Dramamine that I was half-asleep the whole time. I also lost a twenty dollar bill off the side of the boat. Just flew right out of my hands and for a brief moment, I considered jumping overboard. I could see it floating down in the water. Anyway, third time we went we didn’t see one whale. Not one. Absolute debacle. I felt like Captain Ahab out there, just boating around the ocean for hours searching for some mythic whale.
Here’s my point: every time I went whale watching, I was terrified that a whale would leap onto the boat. So much so that my mother eventually took me up to some captain or whale expert or something and had him explain to me that the whales never jump into the boat. They’re one of the most intelligent animals on Earth, and they would never crash into a boat because it would hurt them, this guy told me. So congratulations, South African Right Whale. You’ve bucked that trend…