Analia Giorgetti was rowing her board in southern Argentina when she was photographed at an encounter she describes as “a magical moment”. (see VIDEO above)
Every year, groups of southern right whales visit the Valdés peninsula to mate.
On one of these visits, Giorgetti was touched by them in the middle of the sea.
Maximiliano Jonas registered the meeting by chance — Photo: @Maxijonas/BBC
“They were submerged, they started to get closer, curious,” Giorgetti tells the BBC.
“And one of them touched me. I told my friend, ‘The whale touched me.’ Then we saw that a drone had filmed everything.”
The species visits the Valdés peninsula to mate — Photo: @Maxijonas/BBC
The device belonged to Maximiliano Jonas, a 43-year-old photographer who lives in the city of Puerto Madryn, also in the south of the country.
“On that day the sea looked like a mirror, the tide was high and there were many whales close to shore, around 50,” he tells BBC Mundo.
So he took his drone and went to film the whales from above.
“I know whales are friendly, but I’ve never seen an interaction like this before,” says the photographer. His images went viral on social media.
The photographer said he was moved seeing the scene — Photo: @Maxijonas/BBC
Maximiliano Jonas lives in Patagonia — Photo: @Maxijonas/BBC
The swimmer says that the whale began to approach and, with one of its flippers, it gently tapped the board.
“When she approached, I placed the paddle on top of my board and stood still, waiting to see how close she would get,” explains Giorgetti.
“I think she was playing like a dog that’s looking for you to play with. But in this case, it’s a much bigger animal,” Jonas wrote his nets. “I saw the gesture, saw it in slow motion. I couldn’t believe it.”
“When the whale touches it, it turns around and looks at the reaction of the person it touched,” he describes.
“I was watching and I said: it’s communication. My eyes filled with tears. I kept looking and thinking about the person down there. In the experience of this person, how envious,” he says.
“I put images of that moment on my social networks and (Giorgetti’s) daughter wrote me on Instagram and said: ‘This is my mother. She’s celebrating her birthday,'” says the photographer.
“It was an amazing birthday present,” says Giorgetti.