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Old 07-11-2016, 10:48 AM   #1
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Whale Tale

Yesterday we were heading northwest along Finlayson Channel near the east shore of Swindle Island about midway between Swindle and Freeman points and there is this gawdawful thump and the boat shudders. WTF was that? Didn't feel or sound like a log at all. The engine sounded fine and no shudders or odd noises in the running gear. So we circle back and there are no logs anywhere around. Then out in the distance we see two distinct spouts of humpback whales. We had a near miss in the same area last year. We reported the incident to coast guard and a biologist from DFO phoned us later that night (we were in the Klemtu cell service area).

There were lots of humpbacks around last year in this northern part of the central coast, particularly in the aptly named Whale Channel and the approaches to Douglas Channel, Laredo Sound, etc. I sure hope the whale is ok. I'm pretty sure that it didn't strike the propeller, but I bet it hurt, that's for sure as it felt the full 40,000lbs of a KK42 travelling at a tidal assisted 8.5 kts. I wonder how many of incidents go unreported?

(Edit) I should add before anyone states the obvious, "you need to keep a better watch", well yes we do need to be better, but someone is always on the helm and these things can surface after having been down a long time.

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Old 07-11-2016, 12:21 PM   #2
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Man, I read the title and was hoping the thread was going in a different direction... Otherwise, hope the poor guy is okay.
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:28 PM   #3
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Yes. We weren't pleased, and needless to say, the whale feels the same. Just leaving Clothes Bay and passing Klemtu. Will be out of cell/3G range for a week or more.


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Old 07-11-2016, 12:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
... I wonder how many of incidents go unreported?
....
A few years ago, there was a study done of self reported collisions between whales and boats. Of the top of my head, it seemed like the study averaged 10 reported collisions a year and each year one boat would sink as a result. If one did not know about the study, there was no way to report the collision. I suspect the number of collisions is much higher that what was reported in the study.

In a sorta recent issue of Passage maker there was a passing reference to a boat hitting a whale.

Later,
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:21 PM   #5
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They can be sneaky alright, especially if you didn't see them before their 5 to 7 minute long deep feeding dive.

I'd say it was half the whales fault. You'd think they would keep a better watch as they come up for air. I was sea kayaking up Grenville Channel (milking back eddies against the steep rocky shore) when one appeared about 20 feet ahead, coming my way, fast

I had to hit the rudder hard, lean to one side, and do a high brace paddle stroke not to get hit. You'd think it would have had an eye out for driftwood 'cause it's gotta hurt to get your blowhole smacked!

Cetacea Lab on Gil Island has been documenting whales in the entrance to Douglas Channel area for years and the numbers keep building for all species. http://www.cetacealab.org/index.php

I asked a Haisla elder what the "normal" numbers for Humpbacks in this area would be, and he said he didn't know. Apparently that knowledge has been lost in the mists of time because of how long the commercial whaling hunt went on, combined with so many people dying of smallpox.
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