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Old 10-11-2020, 09:54 AM   #1
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Whale Strikes

Been going back through photos and found these two, taken on the same day a couple years ago.

If you have whales seasonally visiting your waters, please learn a little something of their behaviour and keep an eye out for them.
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Old 10-11-2020, 10:41 AM   #2
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Good to draw attention to this.
The whales have become toys for people and watcher boats to enjoy.
But being vigilant and having the whales best interest in mind helps.
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Old 10-11-2020, 10:50 AM   #3
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It's painful to watch. Every time they arch their backs and take a deep dive to feed...
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Old 10-11-2020, 10:58 AM   #4
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Been going back through photos and found these two, taken on the same day a couple years ago.

If you have whales seasonally visiting your waters, please learn a little something of their behaviour and keep an eye out for them.



Are whale strikes a common occurrence with recreational boats in our waters?


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Old 10-11-2020, 11:01 AM   #5
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Are whale strikes a common occurrence with recreational boats in our waters?

Probably not, but neither is hitting a moose on the highway...also an advisable thing to keep an eye out for.

Oh, and once is probably enough for the whale
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:22 AM   #6
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I don't know about other areas on the west coast, but Humpback Whale numbers in the Douglas Channel system have been increasing rapidly. When we started sea kayaking 30 years ago we only saw two in all the years we paddled. We can see over a dozen now on day trips aboard Badger.

My theory is it's like birds that roost in large numbers. If buddy over there on the next branch is in fantastic shape with nice, shiny feathers, other birds will follow to find out where the good food source is.

Theory goes that when Humpbacks finish breeding and calving in the Sea of Cortes and Hawaii without eating for months, some will have more meat/blubber left than others. Me-thinks the skinny whales follow them back to productive summer/fall feeding areas.

This area must be good habitat for them...there's a reason why Captain Vancouver called the body of water at the south end of Douglas Channel, Whale Channel.
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:23 AM   #7
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Then there’s the Manatees, sliced up in the waterways and harassed in there feeding areas by tourons ! ( tourist morons)
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:32 AM   #8
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Murray, do whales hit boats maliciously or accidentally? Is it common to hit a whale that is unaware of our boat’s proximity? Sleeping? It seems that whales would keep a distance for boat captains living in “the white zone”, situationally unaware.
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:32 AM   #9
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https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/west-...t-ship-strikes
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...tool-1.5224272

While it may happen, it appears most strikes are from commercial ships in shipping lanes.
I scan the waters and often see whales. In contrast, on a cruise ship a whale breaches twice near the path intended and safely passes alongside as the ship passed. On a BC Ferry approaching Active pass no whales seen until one Orca, then two more appear ahead a few hundred yards (coming out of the pass) Once the orcas choose their path the Captain made a noticeably sharp turn in the opposite direction.
In my boat I observe the distancing mandated and stop if needed. I am often rewarded with a close encounter as they are curious creatures.
In the past I would shut off engines to eliminate the sound and was told that you should leave it running so they know where you are. Conflicting information, when you see lines of whale watchers with engines running surely must keep them on edge, but that is the science. Stay away 400 meters with engine running.
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Murray, do whales hit boats maliciously or accidentally? Is it common to hit a whale that is unaware of our boat’s proximity? Sleeping? It seems that whales would keep a distance for boat captains living in “the white zone”, situationally unaware.
One documented case of a whale deliberately sinking a boat a few years ago.
Something wrong with it, but it violently attacked an anchored? boat.
Many years ago while in a car topper in shallow water I watched Orca feeding at river mouth. They would surface, check where I was and dive. Never got close enough to swamp.
I have landed a salmon head when orca swam by. Have never felt concerned.
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:42 AM   #11
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Murray, do whales hit boats maliciously or accidentally?
Whales are just doing what whales do...boats hit them.

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Is it common to hit a whale that is unaware of our boat’s proximity? Sleeping? It seems that whales would keep a distance for boat captains living in “the white zone”, situationally unaware.
When feeding, humpbacks surface to breath about 5 times, then dive for about 7 minutes. They don't bubble net feed here, but do what I call line feeding where small groups travel about 20' apart, side by side.

Typically, it's speedboats that are the problem here because they are travelling so fast they might not have been keeping an eye far enough ahead to spot whale spouts, and so don't know whales are in the area.

From the whales perspective, there are so many steep, rocky shorelines and narrow waterways around here that the sound of an approaching small boat or big ship would be echoing and coming from almost all directions.
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Old 10-11-2020, 12:27 PM   #12
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A couple years ago when heading south, there was a notice in the Port McNeill harbormaster's office from Canadian Fisheries about humpbacks, to stay well clear of them because of their erratic and unpredictable course changes, probably related to following food.

Ironically, the next day heading down Clio Channel near Lagoon Cove, we were nearly T-boned by one that I never saw, and only saw out of the corner of my eye on the stbd side at the last second. No contact but we really dodged a bullet. Now if we see humpbacks, we change course and stay well away from them.
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Old 10-11-2020, 01:14 PM   #13
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We were milking back eddies along a steep, rocky shore in our sea kayaks in Grenville Channel and I almost had a head on collision when one surfaced to breath right in front of me, traveling fast. Had to hard rudder to port with a high brace paddle stroke to get out of the way.

Made me wonder how many times they ding their heads/blowholes on logs.
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Old 10-11-2020, 01:30 PM   #14
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They ding their heads regularly is my guess, flipped a small fishing boat this year and one last year, very close to the New Jersey, USA shorline.
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Old 10-11-2020, 01:35 PM   #15
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Sometimes, when you stop to watch the show, you're the one that becomes watched and get to count hairs on their bottom lips:
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Old 10-11-2020, 01:57 PM   #16
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Humpback trivia;

Their song is about 30 minutes long, changes a bit every year, and the new song gets sung over the whole Pacific Ocean.

The barnacles which grow on their chins grow on no other surface than humpback whale chins.
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Old 10-11-2020, 02:07 PM   #17
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Had a thought...paravanes!

Imagine hooking one in the 'armpit' and it taking off perpendicular to your line of travel!!

Sure, the odds are small, but a couple recently won a multimillion dollar lottery for the second time in Atlantic Canada.
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Old 10-11-2020, 02:11 PM   #18
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Been going back through photos and found these two, taken on the same day a couple years ago.

If you have whales seasonally visiting your waters, please learn a little something of their behaviour and keep an eye out for them.
Murray,

Are the linear marks in your first photo the result of a propellor strike or the natural morphology of the whale?
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Old 10-11-2020, 02:13 PM   #19
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Are the linear marks in your first photo the result of propellor strikes or the natural morphology of the whale?
Propeller. 100% guaranteed.
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Old 10-11-2020, 02:44 PM   #20
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We have a lot of whales around here - Desolation Sound, Discovery Islands, plus north and south. Interestingly, since the Humpbacks started coming back, around 2012, they have significantly increased their seasonal appearance, roughly May to October. With that increase, Orca sightings for me at least have dropped off considerably. (Others see them so it may just be my luck.) Almost always see at least one Humpback on every cruise. We had once amazing experience where, after we had stopped outside the proper zone, three Humpbacks came right up to the boat and breached, pec rolled, dove under us, and generally put on a great show for us. Other boats in the area came by and watched at the appropriate distance but the whales ignored them. We have a dark blue hull/black bottom but I have no idea if that made a difference. (I always leave the engine running.)
Whenever we have Humpbacks in the area I always warn visitors to hang on to something, as the Humpbacks do not generally pay attention to what is above them when they come up from a dive, unlike most others of their ilk that do look up.
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