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Old 09-08-2015, 22:20   #46
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Originally Posted by PortClydeMe View Post
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!
Your comment about their intelligence and ability to work as a group reminded me of what my father told me some 35 years ago in Australia. The local fisherman on the southern coast off Victoria who lived in a village in a horseshoe cove for years had a pod of whales assist them with their fishing. In the early mornings the fisherman would lay their nets and the Whales would actually herd schools of fish into the fisherman's nets. Needles to say this little fishing village did not hunt whales and the whales returned the favour by working with the sailors. Funny how fact is often stranger than fiction.
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:17   #47
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Your comment about their intelligence and ability to work as a group reminded me of what my father told me some 35 years ago in Australia. The local fisherman on the southern coast off Victoria who lived in a village in a horseshoe cove for years had a pod of whales assist them with their fishing. In the early mornings the fisherman would lay their nets and the Whales would actually herd schools of fish into the fisherman's nets. Needles to say this little fishing village did not hunt whales and the whales returned the favour by working with the sailors. Funny how fact is often stranger than fiction.

Heartwarming story, yet fail to understand the fiction you're referring to. Reportedly, they are quite omnivorous little scoundrels. Not so sure I'd want to name one and take it home as my pet.

They reportedly even eat themselves, not to mention 32 cetacean species, fish, cephalopods, mammals, sharks, sea otters, sea birds, sea turtles, and deer.

I especially like this fun fact: "there is a well-documented account of a near-successful attempt to take a human: the Antarctic photographer Herbert Ponting was filming a group of them, when they submerged and came up together under the ice-block he was on, which broke up and left him vulnerable. He just got to shore, hearing and smelling them as they chased, by jumping from one ice block to another."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale

Damn whales! I just want to sail.
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:27   #48
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Very excellent post. I have been keeping track of reports of encounters between ships and whales and wrote a feature article for Yachting World which was published Jan 2015. There is an excerpt here in case anyone is interested: How likely is a collision with whales at sea? – Yachting World

A version of the full article appears on noonsite Chance Encounters Between Ships and Whales —

and the Women and Cruising blog: Chance encounters between ships and whales – Part 1 « The Women and Cruising Blog
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Old 10-08-2015, 04:09   #49
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Very excellent post. I have been keeping track of reports of encounters between ships and whales and wrote a feature article for Yachting World which was published Jan 2015. There is an excerpt here in case anyone is interested: How likely is a collision with whales at sea? – Yachting World

A version of the full article appears on noonsite Chance Encounters Between Ships and Whales —

and the Women and Cruising blog: Chance encounters between ships and whales Part 1 « The Women and Cruising Blog
Hi Belinda, I read your article yesterday, and also provided a link to Fabian Ritter's exhaustive research study. Thanks for posting. I found your article to be both well researched and informative.

Personally, I'm starting to warm up to semi-submerged shipping containers, as they are "probably" not going to try and eat me after holing and sinking my vessel and prompting a mandatory evacuation into the life raft.

All humor aside, this is a very interesting topic.

"BUMP!"
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Old 10-08-2015, 04:41   #50
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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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).
In August 2011, CF member wolfaroo posted two great videos here of pilot whales near his boat in the Western Med.

In the first video, it certainly appears that he is most definitely being attacked by a protective adult. Watching that video, I can only imagine that same scene with an 80-foot sperm whale.

Video: Is 'This' a Pilot Whale and Did it Attack My Boat! ?
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Old 10-08-2015, 08:37   #51
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Originally Posted by CruisingKitty View Post
Very excellent post. I have been keeping track of reports of encounters between ships and whales and wrote a feature article for Yachting World which was published Jan 2015. There is an excerpt here in case anyone is interested: How likely is a collision with whales at sea? – Yachting World

A version of the full article appears on noonsite Chance Encounters Between Ships and Whales —

and the Women and Cruising blog: Chance encounters between ships and whales Part 1 « The Women and Cruising Blog
Howdy!
I enjoyed reading your article in Yachting World. Well written and interesting facts.
Thanks for providing the additional links too.
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:10   #52
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

My vessel, a wooden cold molded monohull sloop constructed of kauri wood sheathed in fiberglass, has sailed from New Zealand westward to my present location in Curacao. My boat bottom has always been painted red, though I may decide on a different color this time around.
Bill Butler, whom I've met, is sure that his boat was sunk by a missive pod of pilot whales. I have encountered a large pod of pilot whales off Kandavu Island in Fiji. They are quite intimidating, looking like giant, powerful dolphins. I was attentive, but they never approached my vessel. However, while crossing the Atlantic a few days west of Salvador, Brazil, I had a close encounter with 6-8 very large whales, most likely Bryde's whales, the largest more than 45 ft. in length. After I lost a large tuna (probably to one of the whales), first one whale, and then several more swam alongside my vessel within a few feet, and then dived under the bow. Scared the heck out of me, though I soon realized that they had no intention of harming me, or even playfully bumping me. I surmised later on that they were likely either curious or sending me a message to get out of their fishing grounds.
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:46   #53
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

The Wave Wash video was chilling. Seeing the seal try to evade the Killer Whales on an ice flow, then seeing how the whales worked together so smoothly to wash the seal off, and then when the seal was exhausted, just gently grabbed the seal's tail and took him off. Chilling!

Hey, it is nature, and Orcas have to eat too! Just as long as it is not me!

Portclydeme,
thanks for posting the video link. It is the first time I have seen that video and I did enjoy seeing it, even if it was kinda hard to watch (sympathy for a seal).
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How to Identify a Whale You See in the Water

Here are a couple of nice graphics I found today. They show the relative size of the many whale species. I thought there were fewer than there are, so I learned something by simply looking at the graphic. While I have seen other Whale Charts before (that show fewer species), and read some books on whales and enjoyed seeing lots of whales in photos, I have to admit that I learned something else about them today.

I also learned something by watching one of the videos posted up above.
I wrote earlier that my boat was visited by a small pod of "Pilot Whales." After I watched the video linked up above that shows a pod of Pilots visiting another sailboat, I now believe I was mistaken in my own identification of the whales that came up beside my boat. Reason: the ones that came up to my boat were considerably larger (about the size of a Killer Whale, but definitely NOT Killer Whales or Orcas.

So, I wrote "Pilot" Whales, but now think they were something else, or could have been another species. I don't know what they were, and they did look somewhat like a Pilot Whale, but they were about 30- 35 feet long and broader, as I recall. I suppose they could be just larger individuals (of Pilot Whales), but now suspect they were a different species. I think many people "think" and commonly say Pilot Whales because we see them on the news when they get stranded on a beach. They are a familiar term we often hear. But, as the chart below shows, there are many other species that are out there.

I have a very good visual memory, and I distinctly remember they were about as long as our 37 foot boat, and they were very close to the boat (about 15-20 feet) and slowly swam beside us, pausing to look at us. I also know they were not Humpbacks (no large pectoral fins) and they were not Gray Whales (lacked the gray splotches on back and different shape) and they were not Blue or Sperm or Right whales. Whatever they were, it was an interesting and memorable experience.

My Suggestion: Get a good copy of the Whale Charts, and have them aboard when you see your next sighting of a whale. And, have a camera ready too!
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:11   #54
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

On our Atlantic crossing last summer we were making about 6-1/2 off the wind when I spotted what turned out to be a basking Sunfish about three or four boat lengths ahead. Had just enough time to alter course and passed within a half a boat of it.

Once it was abeam and I could see it I knew what it was. Think was about seven feet in diameter. Shook me up a bit. Would have hit it. If I hadn't been paying attention. We were prolly five hundred miles offshore. I found out later they can weigh up 2,000 pounds.
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:38   #55
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

The true accounts and documentary films are the best.

But, there is something about the theme that has been in fiction too.

Here are a few short video clips that come to mind, from the 1977 film "Orca."
In the film, the Orca sinks a boat by ramming it, and later takes the male lead (Richard Harris) off an ice flow by tilting it.

ORCA Trailer


Final Scene: Ice Flow
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:52   #56
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

For all those worried about hitting whales while they sleep, here is a pic of whales sleeping.
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:56   #57
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

Aside from the red AF issue, Dougal was convinced that the higher incidence of wooden boats being sunk by whales was due to the squeaking sounds they make as they work in the water. Thought it may sound too much like whale song. Inadvertent whale smack talk even?
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:11   #58
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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For all those worried about hitting whales while they sleep, here is a pic of whales sleeping.
Very cool image.

I seem to remember controversy years ago over Navy ship sonar disturbing whales.

I wonder if you left your depth finder on all the time, if that might wake and disperse whales.

Or just make them mad.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:43   #59
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

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Very cool image.

I seem to remember controversy years ago over Navy ship sonar disturbing whales.

I wonder if you left your depth finder on all the time, if that might wake and disperse whales.

Or just make them mad.


Ever seen a deer whistle on a car? Maybe a marine version is needed...
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Old 10-08-2015, 13:00   #60
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Re: Sunk by a Whale : Survival Stories

One reason I own a STEEL boat. There are others.

Russ S/V Ascension Ted Brewer 42 Cutter
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