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Eco-photos of the week: July 18-24

Up close and personal

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Up close and personal

A couple who took a yacht out for a quiet sailing trip near Cape Town, South Africa, were stunned when a 40-ton whale crash-landed on their boat. Ralph Mothes, 59, and Paloma Werner, 50, were helpless as the beast thrashed around on their 33-foot vessel before slipping back into the water.

Whales are a common sight in the Atlantic Ocean off the Western Cape coast at this time of year because they come near the shore to breed. Thousands of tourists flock to the region's seaside resorts every year to spot the mammals during the South African winter, which lasts from June to November.