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Old 22-08-2012, 15:20   #1
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Do whales stalk sailboats? Based on how few whales there are reported to be compared to the number of things that get hit that whales are blamed for, do whales have it it in for sailboats? While I've seen some stories and pictures of whale:boat run-ins, I am starting to think whales are getting used as a scape goat.

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Old 22-08-2012, 15:32   #2
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Re: Whales!

Even Joshua Slocum was harassed by a whale back in the 1800's off South America. Lost an anchor in that encounter I believe. They might just be playing with our boats hard to say. From what I have seen lately I think you have a greater chance of your boat being damaged by a whale than a wayward shipping container.

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Old 22-08-2012, 15:41   #3
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Re: Whales!

Some say whales with calfs can interpret a sailboat as a threat and bump them as a warning off.

I don't know if I really buy that but when we lived in Hawaii we went whale watching several times. We never got bumped and no one else I know got bumped.
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Old 22-08-2012, 15:49   #4
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Re: Whales!

We have sailed with whales all over the pacific and atlantic, up into alaska, blues Humpys, killers, ect ect ! never had a bump yet !! I sorta think whales are getting a bad rap !! maybe Ins Cos pay for whale damage ??? Just wondering
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Old 22-08-2012, 15:52   #5
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Re: Whales!

We just did the short (90 mile) coastal hop from the Clarence River to Southport. During that trip we saw several dozen Humpback whales, some fairly close by. Some were in "cruise mode", just ambling along in small groups. Others (likely testosterone driven adolescents) (just kidding... I don't have any expertise here!) were broaching repeatedly, throwing up large waves and heaps of spray.

During the portion of that trip that was in the dark, I must confess to hoping that the whales were paying attention to traffic, 'cause I sure as hell couldn't see them. Did run the d/s and the forward looking sonar, hoping that they could hear the pings, but I don't know if their hearing includes those frequencies.

At any rate, the opportunity for collision is certainly there on this coast, and the whale populations seem to be increasing fairly rapidly. If not a great worry, whale collision is something to consider whilst cruising here.


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Old 11-09-2012, 16:45   #6
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Re: Whales!

Before we sailed across Stellwagen Bank, NW of Cape Cod, we read the rules for whale watching on NOAA's site. While the whales tend to leave boaters alone, it seems there can be instances when the whales might think the boat is an aggressor, as you're never to approach a whale head on. Most of the whales came close to us, but then moved along. The only time we felt one moving too quickly towards us was when there was a mom & babe nearby.

Last week when we were returning from Maine, we think we hit a whale. Sailing along at about 7-8 knots, we suddenly felt our 48 ft catamaran hit something hard under the keel. Whatever it was, lifted the port side of the boat up as we bounced across it. We were in deep water and there was absolutely nothing visible at the surface. It was a hard enough hit to check the bilges. We were relieved to not be taking on water. It may have been something else, but we were definitely in whale territory. We only hope, if it was a whale, that the animal is ok.
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Old 11-09-2012, 18:48   #7
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Re: Whales!

We bumped something in the Stellwagen area a couple of weeks ago, but concluded it was a shark or a ray. What ever it was, it's got one hell of a headache now.

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