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Old 19-09-2011, 03:22   #1
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Whales on NSW Coast of Oz

Now is the time Humpback whales begin their annual migration south with their young calves along the Qld/NSW coast of Australia. We are sailing northwards along this coast from Port Stephens to Coffs Harbour in the next few days. Some of this leg will be during the night. Also we need to keep within a few miles of the coast to avoid a 4knt south current. Knowing that whales could possibly be around should we have the diesel 'ticking over' during the night time part?? Maybe this might let the whales know we are around or could it make them curious?? During daylight we can keep a good lookout as we did on the previous leg. We certainly don't want to 'run' into a whale! We are wondering what are the chances of colliding with a whale. What are peoples feelings about whales and how best to avoid a collision with one.
thanks
Denise
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Old 19-09-2011, 03:26   #2
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Re: Whales on NSW coast of Oz

Playing music would work as well as running a diesel and with less wear and tear.

Whales are smarter than you think
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Old 19-09-2011, 04:00   #3
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We live right on the sand at Palm Beach just north of Coolangatta and spotted 6 whale groups today. They are moving south in large numbers right now, these were all between 1 to 4 NM offshore. Visibility is poor at the moment due to smoke from the central Queensland fires, so we couldn't see much further, but no doubt there are many more beautiful gentle creatures out there. Lots of dolphins too.
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Old 19-09-2011, 04:34   #4
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Re: Whales on NSW coast of Oz

Well I suspect that they do get hit by passing vessels and ones with very load engines and big propellors. I was several miles east of Port Stephens 2 days ago and a southbound whale came within 200 metres of our boat. It had a massive chunk taken out of it's back that looked recent. It was too far away to get a good sight of the wound but I don't think a sailboat did it.

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Old 19-09-2011, 23:31   #5
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Re: Whales on NSW coast of Oz

If the boat is moving under sail they will hear you without any need for a motor. You are more likely to hit a sunfish than a whale.
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Old 20-09-2011, 00:27   #6
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Re: Whales on NSW coast of Oz

Hi,
5 days ago I was sailing(no engine, music radio fairly loud) Nth approx 4nm East of Crowdy Hd, NSW, just before dawn, & heard a very loud exhaust of air...., at first thought it was a large dolphin(as i'd seen plenty) but turned around to my starboard aft qtr, & there was the barniculed head of a Humpback whale!! 10 feet away, I was very shocked & became scared instantly, fearing a collison, they(I guess 2 or 3(I guessed more than 1 because it was one side then within seconds on the other side), but could of been 1 only) shadowed me for about a couple of mins, coming within a boathooks length once or twice.
Unfortuneatly the memory card on the camera was full, so by the time I had hastily deleted some other footage to make space, I only managed a few low quality photos and video.
On the video you may be able to pick out the whale diving directly in front of me, & I was sure we would hit it (Warning: Please excuse the language, I was scared), but didn't.



I agree with cat man do, they are smarter than we think.
Wonderful experience once I got over the fear, also saw many jumping high some 300-400 metres away.
cheers.
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Old 20-09-2011, 00:38   #7
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Re: Whales on NSW coast of Oz

I have been told that it helps if you leave the depth sounder running, but I have no proof of this working.
Regards,
Richard.
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Old 20-09-2011, 00:38   #8
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Re: Whales on NSW coast of Oz

You do sound nervous
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Old 20-09-2011, 00:39   #9
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Re: Whales on NSW coast of Oz

That kind of thing happens a lot. They are just checking you out. Wait till one of them rolls on its side and gives you the eyeball.
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Old 20-09-2011, 01:06   #10
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Re: Whales on NSW coast of Oz

They migrate also up and down the west coast and we often found our race fleet crossing paths with single whales, an during one mornings start, a large pod. Our fleet was all still sailing close together, so most turned up their radios also as a way of hopefully letting them 'hear' us.

FYI one year a 30 footer in the fleet did hit a whale apparently sleeping at night. The yacht was charging under spinnaker and the collission brought them to almost to a standstill. Well the boat that is - the rig continued and it all came down.

They reported that the whale was hurt - lots of blood in the water - it dived and dissappeared.

As others have said - lovely creatures.

JOHN
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Old 20-09-2011, 20:40   #11
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Re: Whales on NSW Coast of Oz

Thanks for all these replies everyone. Lots of food for thought. Tophat, I'm sure we would have used the same language if a whale came that close to us. We will have our depth sounder on the whole time and maybe the diesel too. Had hoped to leave early this morning with the south winds but the late forecast NE wind made us reconsider for another day. Soon we hope.
Denise
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Old 20-09-2011, 20:48   #12
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Re: Whales on NSW Coast of Oz

while on my way south here on west coast we crossed paths with humpbacks, blues, greys and had a ball watching them with their babies-- they didnt come in close and we didnt have any problem with them while we were under sail. i hauled in my trolling line until after we saw no more of them. was truly awesome.
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