Off the coast of Gabon visitors discover whale watching paradise

5 September 2013

SCRIPT :

It's the mating season for humpback whales off the coast of Gabon.

And the huge mammals also have a number of human admirers

SOUNDBITE 1 Julia (woman) tourist (French, secs):

"It was really great - you really can't imagine what it's like before coming here - leaps, backflips really spectacular things. At one point they came right alongside us. We were a bit scared but you have to deal with it - anyway, at that point you think either make the most of it, or we capsize!"

In his small boat, Arnaud has been getting up close to the whales for twenty-five years.

Groups of female whales are ever more numerous during the mating season and authorities say the increase is due to a drop in the number of fishing boats.

SOUNDBITE 2 Koumba Kombila (man) Head of Fishing, National Parks Agency (French, 12 secs):

"This year we've enforced restrictions on fishing and respecting fishing levels - So activity near the coasts is less intensive this year."

Gabon's tourism industry is still lacking in infrastructure - with just two ships offering these whale-watching cruises.

This makes for an even more memorable experience, for those lucky enough to get on board one of the ships.

------------------------------------------

SHOTLIST :

Libreville and the surroundings, 12/ 21 August

(Source : AFPTV)

-MS of a whale jumping from the sea

-MS of whales under the water

-MS of skipper and three passengers

SOUNDBITE 1

-MS of a boat

-VAR of whales jumping from the sea/underwater

SOUNDBITE 2

-VAR of whales and a passenger taking photos

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