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Old 08-08-2015, 23:03   #31
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

I lived on Margarita Island in Venezuela for two years in the mid 70's and became good friends with the Captain of the Port in Porlamar. Frequently when he had English-speaking yachtsmen who didn't speak Spanish, he called me to translate. I met many European and North American cruisers passing from the islands headed to the Panama Canal. In 1975, I met Anthony and Heather Silcox from Great Britain. They were on a circumnavigation aboard a 75 year old 28 foot wooden cutter. The well-founded and salty little boat was very strong, with thick oak planking and oversized ribs spaced closer than normal. I received post cards from each landfall after they left for the canal. Between the Panama and the Marquesas (which took 43 days) they encountered a pod of very large whales, and one came up under the boat and lifted it out of the water. Besides scaring them to death, the boat suffered no damage. After successfully completing their voyage, they wrote me a long letter describing their trip, including a detailed account of their whale encounter.
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Old 08-08-2015, 23:42   #32
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Originally Posted by jessehunt View Post
I lived on Margarita Island in Venezuela for two years in the mid 70's and became good friends with the Captain of the Port in Porlamar. Frequently when he had English-speaking yachtsmen who didn't speak Spanish, he called me to translate. I met many European and North American cruisers passing from the islands headed to the Panama Canal. In 1975, I met Anthony and Heather Silcox from Great Britain. They were on a circumnavigation aboard a 75 year old 28 foot wooden cutter. The well-founded and salty little boat was very strong, with thick oak planking and oversized ribs spaced closer than normal. I received post cards from each landfall after they left for the canal. Between the Panama and the Marquesas (which took 43 days) they encountered a pod of very large whales, and one came up under the boat and lifted it out of the water. Besides scaring them to death, the boat suffered no damage. After successfully completing their voyage, they wrote me a long letter describing their trip, including a detailed account of their whale encounter.
So, what color was their hull?
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:26   #33
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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So, what color was their hull?
I'll bet their cockpit was brown!
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:05   #34
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

“Whales only have one cone, which is sensitive to green light, so they see in black and white in light and dark ...
This means that anything that looks blue or green to the human eye is invisible in the water to whales. The one color that whales can see as a dark shape in their bright, watery environment is red ...”

What do whales see?
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:33   #35
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Fabian Ritter's research article on the subject, 'Collisions of sailing vessels with cetaceans worldwide: First insights into a seemingly growing problem', can be found here:

Collisions of sailing vessels with cetaceans worldwide: First insights into a seemingly growing problem - ResearchGate

Some interesting data. I used to be scared of shipping containers. Now I'm scared of whales.

ABSTRACT
Vessel-whale collisions are of growing concern worldwide. Up to now, no systematic investigation has been conducted in relation to collisions involving sailing vessels. This study represents the first quantification of this kind on a global basis. An online survey was set up including questions about the most important features of a collision or near miss event. Additionally, the internet was searched for reports involving sailing vessel-cetacean collisions. A total of 81 collisions and 42 near misses were identified, spanning from 1966 until 2008. Collisions and near misses occurred on all oceans, often during ocean races and regattas, and were most frequent in the North Atlantic. A larger proportion of cases was reported in the past few years, indicating an increasing trend. Vessel type and speed as well as circumstances of the incident varied widely, but most often monohulls were involved, predominantly sailing at speeds between 5 and 10 knots. Most reports referred to “large whales” as opposed to “small whales” or “dolphins”. The species could be identified in 44 cases. Most recognized animals were humpback or sperm whales. Injuries to the whales varied strongly from “not visible” to “dead after collision”, but mostly could not be determined. Sailing crew members were hurt in several cases, including collisions occurring at low speeds, and collisions often damaged vessels, including major impairment and three cases of vessel loss. The findings presented here suggest that elevated vessel speed contributes to a higher risk of collisions. Conversely, the outcome of a collision (e.g. injury to whale or crew, damage to vessel) is not a direct function of vessel speed. Several measures are discussed which potentially can contribute to mitigating the problem, including placing watchposts, changes in the design of regattas and ocean races and education initiatives.

KEYWORDS : CETACEANS, COLLISIONS, NEAR MISS, SAILING VESSELS, ONLINE SURVEY
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:23   #36
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Hmmmm..... I wonder what percentage of boats have red bottom paint?


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Old 09-08-2015, 11:01   #37
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Originally Posted by Saleen411 View Post
Interesting.....please indulge a stupid question....


With all the thousands of possible semi submerged containers, whales, unlit boats etc which may pose as a yacht crippling hazard. Does everybody on passages just sail along at night hoping not to hit something. Nobody stops the boat till daylight?....given one is in proper sea and weather conditions to do so.
I don't make a lot of overnight passages, but I always slow down at night, mainly from having seen so many floating objects that look like they could damage a boat in the daytime. I reef all my sails and don't care if I'm only making 2 or 3 knots at night. I figure, if I do hit something, I would rather hit it slow than hit it at 6 or 7 or 8 knots. But, most of the time, I'm only needing to do one night and two days to get where I'm going, so only going 20 or 30 miles at night doesn't really mess me up passage wise.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:17   #38
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

While my comment might be a little off topic, I can attest to the Robertson's experience with a killer whale pod. They can be very aggressive, work as a pack and can be formidable in size.
Early on in my commercial fishing life, I was aboard a table seiner, the 'Buddy', fishing for salmon in Blackfish Sound close to Alert Bay and the Indian reservation on Village Island. We had just finished a set and were buttoning up the net with about 95% of it back aboard. All that was left in the water was the bunt, the end of the seine made out of much heavier line than the rest of the seine because it from this ball of seine filled with fish that we would brail out the salmon and it was made of much stronger material because it would also, hopefully be full of fish. Suddenly, a pod of killer whales appeared and charged the bunt individually, one after the other. We shot at them with a 30.30without result until they finally succeeded in breaking through the bunt and ate most of the catch. I recall it took several days to repair the net but I have never forgotten how this pod of whales organized themselves, took turns at trying to break through the net until they succeeded.
In talking to some of the elders on Village Island and relating this tale, they told me that was how Blackfish Sound got its name... a killer whale is called a blackfish among the indigenous people in the PNW. Phil
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:33   #39
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Quote:
Originally Posted by jessehunt View Post
I lived on Margarita Island in Venezuela for two years in the mid 70's and became good friends with the Captain of the Port in Porlamar. Frequently when he had English-speaking yachtsmen who didn't speak Spanish, he called me to translate. I met many European and North American cruisers passing from the islands headed to the Panama Canal. In 1975, I met Anthony and Heather Silcox from Great Britain. They were on a circumnavigation aboard a 75 year old 28 foot wooden cutter. The well-founded and salty little boat was very strong, with thick oak planking and oversized ribs spaced closer than normal. I received post cards from each landfall after they left for the canal. Between the Panama and the Marquesas (which took 43 days) they encountered a pod of very large whales, and one came up under the boat and lifted it out of the water. Besides scaring them to death, the boat suffered no damage. After successfully completing their voyage, they wrote me a long letter describing their trip, including a detailed account of their whale encounter.
Thanks for adding your post. That was an uplifting experience that would make one appreciate their boat's size and strength too.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:03   #40
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Just finished reading the linked articles about whales and sailboats.

Takeaways?

1. Collisions of sailboats with whales occur every year. Some reporting seems to indicate that the faster the boat is going (such as the IMOCA racers) the more likely to hit the whale. Hmmm.. perhaps the whale did not have time to sense the oncoming boat?

2. The color RED (e.g. red bottom paint) is seen by whales as dark object that may be confused with a food source (a bunch of krill).
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Regarding Whale and Sailboat encounters:

1. Does the typical sailboat (that is not running the engine) look like a whale to a whale? I would think so, given that many sailboats do have a "whale like" profile when seen from below.

2. When I was on a becalmed 37 foot sailboat (that resembles a whale in underwater profile) halfway between Hawaii and California, a pod of pilot whales came up to our boat. We were not moving at all, just sitting there on the flat sea. They came up to us. The water was flat calm. The pod came within 20 feet of our boat. They eyeballed us. And yes, whale breath smells like you might imagine it would. The sound of PFFFUUUHH as they breathed their big breaths and sent a fishy smelling spray to us. They stopped beside us. It was interesting. Then they moved on.

It was very interesting to see this. Because of their size (about 20 feet long) and species, I did not feel threatened. I will post a photo (I did not take the photo) and a scale drawing so you can see their size relative to a human. I will say, they look larger when they are beside you in the water.

In fact, it was one of those very special moments I remember from that voyage, and is a beautiful memory. To this day, I suspect they came to look at us with something of a curious nature. I imagined the younger whales saying to the older one: "Hey mom, I wanna go look at that big dead whale over there."

My point?
I am not suggesting that Pilot Whales (or any whales) are a threat. My point is that they are probably curious about that big whale-like object floating in their world. The Pelagic world is relatively empty of big life (animals) and so I suspect that when they see something big, that looks like a whale and is not threatening them, they go take a look.

If it had been a big male Sperm whale, I would have felt differently (with more caution and apprehension).

If it had been a pod of Killer Whales (ORCA), I would have felt differently, because I have read how they attack Blue Whales and others as a group, and by then I had already read about the Killer Whales that sank another sailboat in the Pacific (see list in top most post).

I suspect that most of the sailboat/whale encounters are benign, and that most of the collisions are due to a sailboat running into a slower whale on the surface (perhaps sleeping).

Of course that does not eliminate those other examples we have already read about in this thread, where the collision (or possible attack) caused the loss of the sailboat.
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Old 09-08-2015, 13:02   #41
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Midnight last year, mid-Atlantic (returning to US from Canaries), we hit something HARD. My wife was off shift sleeping and I was sitting at the nav desk when suddenly the entire boat shook violently, there was a loud metallic fingernails on chalkboard sound, we lurched upright to windward, then flopped back over when the next wave struck the hull. Based on the sound and motion, we both though the rig had failed and fallen on deck and was now being dragged next to the boat. I grabbed the wire cutters before climbing on deck, only to find the mast still standing and looking just fine. Back below, we tore the port side apart looking for damage, but nothing was amiss. The bilge alarm never went off, and our heart rate dropped to normal after about 15 minutes.

We weren't able to check for any scraps or gouges until we reached St Martin. Before we even checked in, we were in the water looking the entire hull over...nothing. Back in Florida and the boat out of the water, I sounded the hull checking the core for delamination... nothing. I still have no idea what we struck, but it was metal, large and a shape that we went over instead of being pierced by.

Crap is out there, and I'm happy to now have a metal boat.
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Old 09-08-2015, 13:06   #42
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

We also had a pod of Minke whales swim along with us from about 200 miles north of the north of the VIs. They were extremely curious with us and kept diving from side to side for a good look. Here are some pics:





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Old 09-08-2015, 13:39   #43
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

This thread got me thinking about whalesong. Here's an interesting pair of links, one about whales, and one about music that mentions whales. If only we had a song we could play to them, something like "Hey, wake up, look out, coming through!" for the sleeping whales. Then again, the oceans are noisy enough as it is...

http://io9.com/why-whale-songs-are-s...yst-1692174859

http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine...usic-mind.html
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Old 09-08-2015, 20:27   #44
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Suddenly, a pod of killer whales appeared and charged the bunt individually, one after the other. We shot at them with a 30.30without result until they finally succeeded in breaking through the bunt and ate most of the catch. I recall it took several days to repair the net but I have never forgotten how this pod of whales organized themselves, took turns at trying to break through the net until they succeeded.
In talking to some of the elders on Village Island and relating this tale, they told me that was how Blackfish Sound got its name... a killer whale is called a blackfish among the indigenous people in the PNW. Phil
Their intelligence and ability to work as an organized group never ceases to amaze me. In fact, although humans are not the normal diet (same with sharks), I would not want to be drifting in a life raft after the boat sinks as they eye me up as a potential meal. Of all the ways to die, my least favorite scenario is to consciously watch myself being eaten alive. I'd rather keep a .357 in the ditch bag and off myself with a shot to the head once in the whale's mouth (no joke).

If they can "wave wash" a seal, they can surely dislodge me and the Mrs. from our little AVON. Chilling food for thought.



Sail slow, avoid the North Pacific, North Atlantic (except during lobster season), and Antarctica, keep a loaded .357, and don't paint the hull red. I suppose that's the best we can do.

Those damn whales!
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Old 09-08-2015, 21:13   #45
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Whale Jumping on Boat: Shocking Video, Photos You Can't Believe - CBS News

This boat also appears to have red bottom paint.
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