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Old 06-05-2013, 08:16   #1
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whale encounters of the close kind

I always have read the various whale encounters as unlikely rare events. But yesterday while out in the open I had a group suddenly appear on my beam about 20 feet from me!

This turned out to not be as cool of an event as it could have as it is a little unnerving and a panic event to suddenly have a group of large creatures off your beam heading right at you. I was doing 6.5 knots at the time and it wasn't like I could make any course changes etc. and just had to hope that they knew I was there and had a plan.

I was a little pissed at the whales later for putting me in such a dangerous position because I was on a starboard tack and they were windward and appeared to be on a run and should have stayed clear of me! Plus they could have let me know they were coming so I could have gotten the camera out.
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:23   #2
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

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Originally Posted by Don L View Post
I always have read the various whale encounters as unlikely rare events. But yesterday while out in the open I had a group suddenly appear on my beam about 20 feet from me!

This turned out to not be as cool of an event as it could have as it is a little unnerving and a panic event to suddenly have a group of large creatures off your beam heading right at you. I was doing 6.5 knots at the time and it wasn't like I could make any course changes etc. and just had to hope that they knew I was there and had a plan.

I was a little pissed at the whales later for putting me in such a dangerous position because I was on a starboard tack and they were windward and appeared to be on a run and should have stayed clear of me! Plus they could have let me know they were coming so I could have gotten the camera out.

I'm not sure I would have had enough sense to be scared. Were you able to identify what type of whales they were?
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:36   #3
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

If they were in a group and moving quickly, they were probably pilot whales. Sort of like big dolphins and just as curious and playful.

We got into a pod (rather, they got into us) once and the whales spent 30 minutes riding the stern draft underneath our hulls. I had to keep changing my shorts while 20' whales rode inches below and beside our rudders and saildrives! At least dolphins prefer the bows and not the sterns. And two of them decided to go play with our fishing lures. They would swim up to them, whack them 20' into the air with their tails and put their noses on them when the lures rehit the water. All the while we are thinking we are going to hook a whale, piss off the ones romancing our running gear and be sunk.

And we forgot our cameras the entire time!!!

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Old 06-05-2013, 08:44   #4
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

I've posted this before (the incident was in 2008), but here is a video of our extremely close encounter with a humpback. Two humpbacks in fact, but only one of them slapped us with its flukes: Whale Video

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Old 06-05-2013, 08:46   #5
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I've posted this before (the incident was in 2008), but here is a video of our extremely close encounter with a humpback. Two humpbacks in fact, but only one of them slapped us with its flukes: Whale Video

Video wouldn't play for me but GOOD GRAVY that's close!
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:01   #6
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

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If they were in a group and moving quickly, they were probably pilot whales. Sort of like big dolphins and just as curious and playful.
.
"Group" has different meanings when it comes to big large creatures next to your boat! There were at least 2 and I think there were 3, but I was distracted a little at the time.

I'm no whale expert (who would have guessed), but they weren't pilot whales (saw one of those or a porpoise the weekend before hard to tell sometimes when passing in different directions).
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:09   #7
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

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Video wouldn't play for me but GOOD GRAVY that's close!
It's just an mp3 video. Perhaps you need to wait until it downloads?

The video doesn't even show the best part, where the whale slapped us with its flukes as it was getting away. It hit us at the shrouds just above the lifelines. It was more of a glancing blow than a true slap -- no damage was done. The humpback pair just surfaced in front of us, but fortunately we had time to turn a bit (and an observant and quickly-acting crew).

Humpbacks and Grey's are extremely common near San Francisco, and people have been seeing Blues lately, too. Humpbacks are also common in Hawaii.

We've also seen pods of sperm whales a few hundred miles north of Hawaii, but they never got closer than several hundred yards:


I'm glad they didn't get closer, since this is the area where one of the returning Pacific Cup boats was rammed and sunk by a Sperm whale (Mureadritta’s XL, 2006).
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:19   #8
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

We met those south of Barcelona last week. As close as you wished or what respect dictates.
Finn Whales - about 18m/60ft and perhaps 15 times the tons of our boat.
You are drifting being just speechless..

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Old 06-05-2013, 09:26   #9
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pirate Re: whale encounters of the close kind

Travelled S down the W coast of OZ accompanied by lots of them heading in the same direction...
Orca's and assorted others in the N Atlantic and Azores..
Had them surfing alongside in a blow in the Biscay..
Invariably one or two come over for a nose...
First time ever for the Med.. 10 days ago I saw a whale of W Sardinia...
Warning... also sailed through millions of baby Portuguese Men o War in the same area... another 1st in the Med.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:31   #10
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
It's just an mp3 video. Perhaps you need to wait until it downloads?

The video doesn't even show the best part, where the whale slapped us with its flukes as it was getting away. It hit us at the shrouds just above the lifelines. It was more of a glancing blow than a true slap -- no damage was done. The humpback pair just surfaced in front of us, but fortunately we had time to turn a bit (and an observant and quickly-acting crew).

Humpbacks and Grey's are extremely common near San Francisco, and people have been seeing Blues lately, too. Humpbacks are also common in Hawaii.

We've also seen pods of sperm whales a few hundred miles north of Hawaii, but they never got closer than several hundred yards:


I'm glad they didn't get closer, since this is the area where one of the returning Pacific Cup boats was rammed and sunk by a Sperm whale (Mureadritta’s XL, 2006).

It's probably just the internet feed here, which is seriously overloaded.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:33   #11
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Travelled S down the W coast of OZ accompanied by lots of them heading in the same direction...
Orca's and assorted others in the N Atlantic and Azores..
Had them surfing alongside in a blow in the Biscay..
Invariably one or two come over for a nose...
First time ever for the Med.. 10 days ago I saw a whale of W Sardinia...
Warning... also sailed through millions of baby Portuguese Men o War in the same area... another 1st in the Med.
Swimmers Beware this Summer
We had a swarm of them (full sized) on the beach in Fort Lauderdale one summer. It was a real mess to clean up, and those stingers are mechanically triggered, so it didn't matter that they were dead.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:56   #12
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

We were accompanied by whales for about a half hour or more crossing the Sea of Cortez one night. Right next to us at times. Terrible, fishy breath! We tried the stereo up loud and running the engine but eventually they just veered away thank goodness. A little disconcerting for sure. I often wonder if they think they are just joining in with another whale, (sailboats look a little whale-ish underwater), or having fun like dolphins, or, protecting their group from an intruder...
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:02   #13
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

The finn whales do not care. They just ignore boats. Even tankers. In those cases the tanker wins...
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:09   #14
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

I think whales may go on "autopilot" at times when cruising toward a destination. I have witnessed them going in a straight line kind of like a long distance swimmer... just cruising along, apparantly unaware of boats etc around them. I've had to change course a couple of times to avoid a Orca in this mode. Went right by the boat without change in course, hesitation, looking up or anything.... I imagine this is what costs so many of those big whales their lives when they are hit by a tanker. One was found on the beach here in Puget Sound recently with "blunt force trauma".
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:11   #15
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Re: whale encounters of the close kind

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I was a little pissed at the whales later for putting me in such a dangerous position because I was on a starboard tack and they were windward and appeared to be on a run and should have stayed clear of me! Plus they could have let me know they were coming so I could have gotten the camera out.
Don... There are lots of greys and some blues funneled in our So Cal portion of the "baby making run" to MX ...

From my experience, I don't believe that any of these guys have read the colregs, nor is taught the hierarchy of give way/stand on protocol in whale school...
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