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Old 21-08-2011, 06:24   #1
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Video: Is 'This' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?

Hola from western med...

Weather has been all over the place here, F6-7, huge thunder & lightning storms (with strikes on land starting forest fires), mixed with days of zero wind inbetween. Not the greatest sailing conditions.

But, there I was, drifting in no wind 20NM south of Almerimar when a small group of what I think were pilot whales came to check me out. There was a calf amongst them. After a short while the adults surrounded the calf and dived below my boat, whilst 'daddy' whale came hurtling towards my bow, dived under the forefoot and delibrately whacked the side of my boat. My boat weighs 13 tonnes and the whole boat shook and rolled - I had to grab on to the mast to stay on my feet!

Not the best quality video or camera-work but here it is:


He must have hit with a great deal of force (I think mature males can weigh up to 3000kg) to shake my boat - I imagine it could have potentially damaged a lighter vessel.

I wasn't sure if they were being friendly (in a big pat on the back kind of way) or hostile but, after the 'hello', they made lots of high pitched noises and before long more whales were approaching the boat from all directions. I ended up surrounded by 30+...


The locals here say its definitely not normal behaviour but I thought I'd share on here to see if many others have had similar experiences, and also to see if anyone can tell me whether I was friend or foe!?

Happy sailing...

Cheers,
Neal
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Old 21-08-2011, 06:36   #2
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Re: Video: is this a Pilot Whale & did it attack my boat!?

Look like Pilot Whales to me. Saw some near the Galapagos a year or two back. I'm no expert but as it turned away just before impact it might have been just a warning message to keep away from the kids.
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Old 21-08-2011, 06:37   #3
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Re: Video: is this a Pilot Whale & did it attack my boat!?

just amazing!
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Old 21-08-2011, 06:43   #4
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Re: Video: is this a Pilot Whale & did it attack my boat!?

Your close approach may have frightened or disturbed the Whales, especially since they were protecting a calve.

Whale Watching is a fantastic, breath-taking experience, but there are rules to be followed in order not to cause distress or even damage to our Cetacean friends.
Here is some important guidelines:
Slowly approach Cetaceans sideways, never from front or rear.
Try to remain at least 200m (656 Ft) away from Cetaceans, and NEVER approach closer than 100m (328 Ft).
Never cross the path of a Cetacean or a group of Cetaceans in the aim to anticipate their moves and facilitate a closer encounter: they will most probably feel chased and avoid you.
Slow down to "no-wake" speed, and maintain a steady direction. You will make them feel more secure, and the probability of a close encounter will be higher.
Never split a pod or group of Cetaceans.
Be aware of other boats in the surroundings. Dolphins and Whales should never feel encircled, and it is very sensible to leave the area if it happens to be already busy.
Be especially aware of the presence of mothers and calves.
Never spend more than 20 minutes with Cetaceans, unless they want to spend a longer time with you.
Never feed cetaceans. You do not want to perturb their natural feeding habits, which may cause big problems in the long run.
Try to make as little noise as possible.
Be aware of possible signs of distress (see below), and leave at very low speed the area if you notice any.
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Old 21-08-2011, 06:53   #5
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Re: Video: is this a Pilot Whale & did it attack my boat!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Your close approach may have frightened or disturbed the Whales, especially since they were protecting a calve.
I agree about keeping a certain distance away being the sensible thing to do but at the time I was drifting in no wind, <0.5kt over ground, and they approached the boat... admittedly I did walk to the bow to film them though, maybe they didn't like that.
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Old 21-08-2011, 08:05   #6
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Re: Video: is this a Pilot Whale & did it attack my boat!?

a few yrs. ago, we were crossing the tongue of the ocean near andros, bahamas and came upon a pod of pilot whales. as we approached, it became apparent that they were not going to get out of our way so we had to stop the boat and wait for them to go away. our boat is a 20 ton trawler but we didn't think it wise to challenge them to a game of chicken...
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Old 21-08-2011, 08:25   #7
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Re: Video: is 'this' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?

Awesome. Amazing.

It looks to me like Daddy whale was, indeed, demonstrating his superiority to your boat! That must have felt awesome
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Old 21-08-2011, 08:56   #8
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That was awesome . I've never seen more than one whale at a time close up like that . Must have been an incredible experience . I was at the rose city yacht club last week , and telling a friend about a whale that breached right in front of a friends catamaran while we were in the straights of juan de fuca . I was up on the tramp of his 38 ft seawind , and when it dove , I looked right below my feet as we straddled it . Definitely one of those let you know your only a visitor experiences . Lynn , who lives at the yacht club , walked me over , and showed me the boat that got de-masted by a blue whale breaching , during the oregon off shore . The name of the boat is Orca . Insurance totalled the boat . Mast broke off , deck cracked , toe rail smashed and bent . Amazing noone was hurt or killed . Just think if the whale had fallen in the cockpit , instead of forward on the deck .
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Old 21-08-2011, 09:04   #9
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http://m.dailyastorian.com/mobile/fr...cc4c002e0.html


Don't know if that link will work on a pc
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Old 21-08-2011, 09:07   #10
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Re: Video: is 'this' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?

From my understanding,whale pods are dominated by a matriarch,similar to elephant hierarchy.I have had a large matriarch dolphin who was leading a pod ,wack the bow of my boat very deliberatly.I was quite aware of her message,"Stay away from the kids!"
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Old 22-08-2011, 12:35   #11
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Re: Video: Is 'this' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?

Yes, definitely Pilot whales and it was the dominant female putting you in your place as she would with any other male near her family group. She obviously called the rest of the pod as Pilot whales can communicate over 20 miles after establishing her dominance over you.
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Old 27-08-2011, 02:04   #12
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Re: Video: Is 'This' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?

Awesome footage! That's a lot of whales! I had a large adult Humpback approach my boat just off the East coast of Australia a few years ago - came pretty close to have a look then turned on his/her side and started smacking its massive pectoral fin on the water...
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Old 27-08-2011, 07:20   #13
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Re: Video: Is 'This' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?

I finally got a good enough internet connection to see these videos!
Neal they look like pilot whales, though there is a type of porpose thats black and round headed.
Yours look to have very swept back dorsal fins and I think that shows them as pilot whales.

Great experience and great video's.


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Old 27-08-2011, 09:15   #14
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Re: Video: Is 'This' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?

Great videos! Awesome demonstration.
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Old 27-08-2011, 12:21   #15
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Re: Video: Is 'This' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?

Look pilots to me too. If there are calves, the pod might turn protective.

Start the motor carefully and power away CAREFULLY.

For the same reason one should not swim with marine mammals, unless the group is well known and there are no calves.

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