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Old 12-09-2007, 23:25   #1
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Ever been hit by a whale or anything else?

I read the story about the family whose boat is sunk by kiler whales. It being a true story, I wondered if you really can/do get hit by something big enough to where you feel it, or was that incident freak/unique?

On another thought did those whales actually attack the boat or was it an accidental collision?
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Old 13-09-2007, 01:12   #2
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It does happen !! Sunfish can do alot of damage too ...(both to themselves and to the boat)
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Old 13-09-2007, 01:36   #3
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Having had the advantage of observing mammal behaviour for many years I am convinced any strike is purely accidental and no malice on the part of the whale etc. In NZ we have many areas that are prolific with whales and when sailing through these areas at night when there is no moon for decent light we run the engine so they can hear us. The anecdotal evidence of power boats striking whales has possibly been attributed to these boats pushing a "sonic shadow" in front of the due to their speed. This apparently lulls the whales into a false sense of security. (another reason to ban stinkpots)
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Old 13-09-2007, 02:46   #4
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Not hit, but just touched, twice. We live in Hervey bay, "whale watch capital" and right around this time of year there are stacks of whales here. We've been out sailing slowly while 2, 3 or 4 humpbacks swam around us, just like dolphins do! Absolutely awesome experience, and on two occasions we were just slightly flicked by a tail fluke. No damage done to us or them.
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Old 13-09-2007, 07:21   #5
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Originally Posted by NoTies View Post
The anecdotal evidence of power boats striking whales has possibly been attributed to these boats pushing a "sonic shadow" in front of the due to their speed. This apparently lulls the whales into a false sense of security. (another reason to ban stinkpots)

What do you mean by "Sonic Shadow"? I find it pretty hard to believe any boat going fast enough to not hear it... ie faster than sound. And, if it was going fast enough for that... likely its above the water, and not in it. In air its 344m/s, that'd be 661.45 knots... and in water its around 1500 m/s... or 2927 knots.

Obviously your not saying power boats are going faster than the speed of sound... but I think its pretty hard for them to go fast enough to have much effect on the sound they produce in respect to whales.

I think they just go fast enough that the whales can't get out of the way.

Everyone wants to ban the other guy... can't we all just get along?
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Old 13-09-2007, 08:16   #6
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Not me, but in July 2006, a boat returning to San Francisco from Oahu was struck by a whale and sunk. All indications are that this was a deliberate attack, perhaps in reaction to the boat inadvertantly sailing between a mother and her calf. All the crew was rescued safely and quickly, thanks to EPIRB and satphone.

Here are some links:
July 26, 2006
August 4, 2006
The Ed Word, where the ED puts his little bites

You may have to scroll down a bit on some of these pages. We heard about this on VALIS as we were leaving Oahu a day after the attack, and we were definitely nervous. We saw some whales up-close, but no contact.
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Old 13-09-2007, 13:02   #7
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What do you mean by "Sonic Shadow"?
No it has nothing to do with speed. It is hull shape and possibly the "bending" of the bow wave that causes the sound to "reflect off" in it's direction. So out in front of a ship/boat, a "sonic shadow" can be created. An area where sound is greatly attenuated and distorted in direction.

Back to the whales, there are several reports of whales "Playing" with boats and getting a little frisky creating damage. And only one case I know of, with a whale landing ontop of a sailboat in Oz. They believe the whale may have been protecting her calf. I could understand that. I think whales are a heck of a lot more intelligent (just personal opinion) than we possibly realise. So I guess they may have a good memory. It would only take a bad experiance in the past, for a whale to become perhaps a little too protective of their offspring.
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Old 13-09-2007, 13:31   #8
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Having lived aboard and sailed an Allied Seawind for 7 years myself, I've always been fascinated by Allan Eddy's circumnavigation. This was the first solo circumnavigation ever completed in a fiberglass boat, a 30' allied seawind built in 1962. From The Circumnavigators - by Don Holm - Chapter 32

OPOGEE SAILED ALONG BY HERSELF SMARTLY UNDER THE
twin jibs as usual. Alan Eddy had gone below to get a dish towel
to finish drying the dishes which he was doing up in the cockpit.
Suddenly the boat jolted violently. He stumbled and fell against the
bunk. Opogee shuddered and trembled from keel to masthead. Had
they struck a reef? Or a floating derelict? Here, in the middle of the
Indian Ocean, seven hundred miles from land?
He rushed up on deck in time to see a dark shape rolling astern in
the wake. A whale! While he watched, the beast turned over, rolling
in an unusual way, as if hurt. Apparently Opogee had run up on the
sleeping cetacean. Then there came another shuddering blow, rever-
berating like a drum against the fiberglass hull. Then another and
another. A whole school of whales!
Stiff with fear, Eddy tried desperately to think of an escape. He
had no gun and only a small fish spear which would only antagonize
them. He thought of throwing over dish water, oil, detergent. Futile.
Then, from another direction, he saw steaming toward him an-
other school of a dozen or more whales, until the ocean around
Opogee was filled with fins and blunt noses. He could have reached

~ 285 ~

over and touched the nearest ones. Once more there came a shudder-
ing blow against the hull. He hoped the then relatively untried fiber-
glass skin would withstand the beating. But if several of the whales
decided to attack at once, nothing could stand up to it.
The tension went on for twenty minutes or more, the whales
swimming alongside, seeming to watch him with their pig-like eyes,
at times striking the hull. Slightly smaller than Opogee, they were
identified as false killer whales or pilot whales.
When the whales had broken off the contact and gone, Eddy went
below with much relief to assess the damage and was further relieved
to find no structural defects.
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Old 13-09-2007, 15:50   #9
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Whales are quite common in Australian waters. The types reportedly attacking trimarans are said to be Grey whales or Southern Right whales. There have been incidents in Australian waters as well as the Pacific. The only thing I can think of is that underwater the trimaran hulls look like a whale flanked by two killer whales. These sometimes harry a pregnant female whale until she aborts the calf--which they then eat. Perhaps another whale attacks the amas thinking to lend a hand--since it is usually the amas they strike. It is deliberate--having struck one, I was told that the whale then went to the other side and gave that one a thump too. The trimaran did not take on any water and when the engine was started the whale wandered off.

I recently sailed through the Whitsunday group and there were plenty of whales to be seen--and almost ran on to one of them. The port ama was about to climb onto its back when I spotted the whale and was able to take evasive action in time.

Running the motor is good insurance when whales are sighted. Humpbacks, the Whitsunday annual visitors, are not aggressive unless threatened or protecting a calf. Even so--I would not want to run into one. They are seriously big.

I have heard of packs of whales attacking boats--probably killer whales--possibly initially thinking the hull underwater shape is a larger whale.
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Old 14-09-2007, 00:09   #10
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I am glad to see that this happens primarily on the pacific/indian side of the world. Since I plan to stay in the bahamas/carib, then I shouldn't have to worry much .... right?
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Old 14-09-2007, 00:20   #11
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Originally Posted by MysticGringo View Post
What do you mean by "Sonic Shadow"? I find it pretty hard to believe any boat going fast enough to not hear it... ie faster than sound. And, if it was going fast enough for that... likely its above the water, and not in it. In air its 344m/s, that'd be 661.45 knots... and in water its around 1500 m/s... or 2927 knots.

Obviously your not saying power boats are going faster than the speed of sound... but I think its pretty hard for them to go fast enough to have much effect on the sound they produce in respect to whales.

I think they just go fast enough that the whales can't get out of the way.

Everyone wants to ban the other guy... can't we all just get along?
Hi, I can't profess to being an expert but I read an article recently concerning the incidence of cargo ships arriving in Auckland with whales draped over their bulbous bows and the expert opinion was it had been caused by the whales not hearing the ships (I think wheels explained it better and he's the guru on sound). The report didn't mention if displacement was an issue though.
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Old 14-09-2007, 11:21   #12
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I fish in the Queen Charlotte's and have been within touching distance to Humps on 16 open boats . They might rock the boat but their breath will near kill you!
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Old 14-09-2007, 21:08   #13
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In the Mediterranean on the way to Gibraltar, my son and I came upon a mother and baby whale swimming slowly on the surface. We followed them for about half an hour without a problem. Then, off in the distance, the papa whale came up swimming fast. He stopped beside the boat, made some squeaking noises and blew bubbles. Then he dived under the catamaran between the hulls and made squeaking noises again. We took that to be a warning to not mess with momma and baby whale. He didn't do anything agressive to Exit Only. He swam away after inspecting us and making sure that our intentions were ok.

If you want to see a video of this encounter, you can go to: http://www.maxingout.com/Whales.wmv

On one other occasion, we had an encounter with a pod of at least 40 pilot whales in the middle of the Atlantic where they swam with us for half an hour and body surfed down the big waves.
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Old 15-09-2007, 00:21   #14
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Twice each year we used to see hundreds of whales migrating north and then back south along the West Australian coast. Often a whole race fleet would corss tracks with a pod of whales, and wilst it seemed scary at the time, no one ever hit , or was hit, by the other.

Only time I heard of a local collission was at night with an apparently sleeping whale being struck. The boat in question (a Lexan 30) was under spinnaker at the time and lost her rig. The whale was hurt - lots of blood - but none of the crew were harmed.

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Old 15-09-2007, 11:08   #15
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A couple years ago there was a killer whale up by Vancouver Is. that was being aggressive towards sailboats. A sailboat 4 slips down from me had a go with him in the summer of 05 and had to call the Canadian CG to get him away from the boat. It kept pushing againt his keel and was worried about damage. The sailboat was probably a toy to a young whale just out enjoying himself.

But other then that incident or folklore, I haven't heard of any other problems..........................._/)
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