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Old 10-03-2019, 10:36 PM   #1
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Whale Strikes

A little public service announcement for the Humpbacks.

In our area they don't bubble net feed so much, but line up side by side and dive deep for food; their throat pouches have tightened up by the time they surface to breath again.

They typically breath about five times, then dive for up to seven minutes and travel quite a ways while feeding. Speed boats can zip over a feeding group and never know there are whales in the area, and slower trawlers may think a group is heading one direction but the whales can make a 90 agree turn under water and come up in a totally unexpected place.

We saw these two close to Kitimat, but their injuries could have happened anywhere between here and the Sea of Cortez or Hawaii.

Please keep an eye out and try to stay a respectful distance off.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:29 PM   #2
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In our last pass through Port McNeill BC about a year ago, there was a notice posted by Canadian Fisheries about humpbacks in the harbormaster's office. The jist of it was if you see them, stay clear because often their movements are unpredictable, erratic, and they may just head right for you if they're in food-search mode. Ironically, two days later travelling down Clio Channel near Lagoon Cove, I saw out of the corner of my eye a humpback about ready to T-bone us on the starboard side, closing fast and near the surface. Somehow, we didn't collide but I now am now very alert when humbacks are around and steer away from them.
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Old 10-04-2019, 05:08 AM   #3
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For a while the SSCA was recommending white bottom paint as least likely to be hitby a whale strike, dont know if they still do.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:11 PM   #4
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While I am very careful around any marine mammals, Humpbacks always worry me. They do not seem to be boat aware at all! Orcas, dolphins, etc. seem to be very aware of the presence of boats, and as long as care is taken, at the speeds most trawlers go, there doesn't appear to be a large risk of collision with them.

I have been told (you know "dock talk") that if you vary your engine speeds regularly (several times per minute) when near Humpbacks, they may be made more aware of your presence. What do you think, old wives tale or maybe some logic? Anyway, when I have sighted one, we keep a very close lookout.
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:32 PM   #5
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Here's why you give humpbacks a wide berth...




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Old 10-04-2019, 07:33 PM   #6
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Of course there is also the chance that a sub will surface below you too.
Yes, it has happened.
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:36 PM   #7
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Here's why you give humpbacks a wide berth...




And the moral of this video is, Do NOT tease the whales.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:15 PM   #8
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You can tell by the splash that it landed beside the kayak. Lucky thing! If it had landed on them they wouldn't have been in any shape to climb on top of their kayak.

I almost had a head on collision with a Humpback while sea kayaking up Grenville Channel. Had to hit the rudder hard, lean waaaay out with a high paddle brace, and managed to get out of the way. You'd think Humpbacks would watch for that sort of thing...must hurt smacking your blowhole on a big log.
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:31 AM   #9
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Of course there is also the chance that a sub will surface below you too.
Yes, it has happened.
And, it was pretty bad, the time I am thinking of.

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-...ip-remembered/
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:38 AM   #10
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And, it was pretty bad, the time I am thinking of.

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-...ip-remembered/
Yup, that is the one I remember.
And then when the subs were caught a fishing net.... dragging the fishing boat down.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:21 AM   #11
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Thankfully there are more whales than subs...dumb subs at that.


Of all the things to worry about in boating...unless you are a whale or sub hunter...your worries are misplaced.
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:43 AM   #12
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Thankfully there are more whales than subs...dumb subs at that.


Of all the things to worry about in boating...unless you are a whale or sub hunter...your worries are misplaced.
Dont forget shipping containers and adrift derelict boats
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:22 AM   #13
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Dont forget shipping containers and adrift derelict boats
OK...add about 1% worry depending where you are.


If you are transiting to an island and there is a current between them and you.....unless something just recently had an issue downstream of you...what are the chances then?


A some point a meteor/lightning strike becomes a comparable number.


A medical problem for most of us soars above the worries some people come up with.
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:09 PM   #14
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And, it was pretty bad, the time I am thinking of.

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-...ip-remembered/
A career ending event for the sub skipper...do you think?
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:37 PM   #15
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Humpbacks are said not to echo locate and have poor eyesight, so they can't really see your boat. Like eagles, I doubt they ever look up - no hazards there in their evolutionary development. Dolphins and killer whales can track your boat easily.

Outside the Juan de Fuca, I had one surface suddenly only 10' behind the sailboat, spraying me with stinky snot. I think it was as surprised as I was.
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:01 PM   #16
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A career ending event for the sub skipper...do you think?
If I recall correctly, back in the 60s, there was a policy not to surface nor identify the name of your submarine. Alas because of the damage to the school boat, loss of lives and injuries, the sub did surface but the confusion involved, if the sub identified itself.

Perhaps a permanent transfer to DC, no more promotions and after being passed over 3 times, he will retire with benefits.
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:12 PM   #17
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Thankfully there are more whales than subs...dumb subs at that.


Of all the things to worry about in boating...unless you are a whale or sub hunter...your worries are misplaced.
No empathy for the whales? That's where my concern was/is.
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:47 PM   #18
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We hit a humpback a few years ago.
A whale was coming at us from quite a distance from a bit to port. We have a policy of not altering course to get a better look at whales.
I got my camera and went out on the afterdeck. Chris was at the helm. I was right at the back of the main cabin almost on the side deck. My eyes caught something large and black directly in front of the bow (3’ maybe less) Chris screamed (out of character) thinking I may fall overboard. I did grab the doorjam. Suddenly there was a “soft but immediate deceleration stopping our 8 ton boat almost immediately. I scrambled inside the boat not knowing if we’d get tossed around or what. The whale must have sunk vertically and swam on well below the surface.

The cow (that we saw earlier) seemed a bit further away and we saw she had a calf w her. Looking at the whales blowing from a distance astern as we went on our way looked like there were three whales. So we assumed the bull whale survived the collision just fine.

Later in Shearwater we talked to science-like guy that said the bull was trying to keep us at (what he considered) a safe distance from his family.
Never heard of or seen that happen before or since. Most skippers in the same situation would almost surely run closer for a better look judging from what I see and hear.
But now much of the time I actually steer away from whales. Only takes a few minutes.
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:13 PM   #19
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Eric,
Sorry to hear about your whale strike. Murray, as much as I do have empathy for the whales in these cases, I am more concerned with what the whale may do to us and our potential injuries, in the very unlikely event of an incident. PSneeld, as much as you are correct about the probability of a collision, they do happen as evidenced by the photos Murray posted (as do lightning strikes, etc.). Not something that "keeps me awake at night", but by being aware of my surroundings and taking prudent actions I hope increase my odds of avoiding Eric's situation. I too do not "go in for a closer look".
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:28 PM   #20
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No empathy for the whales? That's where my concern was/is.

Plenty...but realistically? I have been in the business of reporting whale sightings since the early 1980'S.


I followed whales in the name of research for 20years and then helpeh with strandings all through that time and another 15 years working for heroic and environmentally conscious bosses.


I would love more whales around and I bet I have seen plenty more than many TFers in my occupations...I'll post pics if you doubt me.


But in the big scheme of things...our little boats and occasional path crossings are little threat or possible "fear of collision" for the vast majority of us...pay atttention and things work out.


Like manatee strikes in florida...no matter what we do they will happen...but just payng attention will help.
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