Whales don't like Red ? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 09-30-2013 Thread Starter
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Whales don't like Red ?

Here's one's that's been rattlin' round my empty noggin' since I heard it.
Couple months ago we did a short haul on a friend's boat so a surveyor could check for damage where he'd been hit while acting as the committee boat at the finish of a long distance race overnight. (an interesting story of it's own)
The boat is a new French boat with dark blue hull, gold indented (?) cove stripe, red bottom paint, just gorgeous, a real head turner, classic colors. After the powerwash we noticed paint was about due, the surveyor said "I don't like black or red bottom paint, I prefer blue or green". Why is that, do you think blue lasts better? No he said, I think red and black trigger aggression in whales. When they look up, red and black look like a predator, probably most incidents involve boats with red bottom paint.
I'm not buying it, how about you?

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post #2 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

According to this article, whales see in monochrome.

You're Eye-to-Eye With a Whale in the Ocean?What Does It See? - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic

Whales, unlike nocturnal rodents or ourselves, see the world in monochrome. Leo Peichl at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research co-authored a paper with the nearly tragic title, "For whales and seals the ocean is not blue." Indeed, the first thing that we can know for sure about how whales see the world is that it exists only in shades of gray. The water we see as blue they would see as black. "They do want to see the background. They want to see animals on the background. And the animals on the background are reflecting light that's not blue," Johnsen explained. If we try to imagine what that might look like, Johnsen said perhaps we could picture a grayscale photograph of people wearing fluorescent clothes under a black light.

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post #3 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

very interesting. Don't know about whales but lots of animals don't see red it appears as black and it scares them. Never ever wear red or black around bee hives or you are likely to be viciously attacked. Bees see into the uv range and cant see red which makes them very angry. I wonder if a whales eyes which are designed for the dark conditions under water are also unable to see red? If so they see the black< or red > shape above them resembling a large predator maybe so attack. I believe surf board attacks by sharks are often triggered for the same reason only of a dark shape above that resembles prey.
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post #4 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

I've heard it (red) before and can't say if it is a myth. OTOH I am sure your surveyor isn't Greek: Never go to sea in a blue boat, because that is Poseidon's color, and he'll beat you savagely before he takes you, he's a jealous god.
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post #5 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

With most colours not penetrating below a few feet, especially red, its doubtful they can see colour well. Greater colour perception means poorer night vision. With the depths they work at having not much in the way of colour and not a lot of light , night vision is far more valuable to whales than colour perception.
I get a kick out of fishermen fishing deep, saying you need pink or red on your lures. Red doesn't penetrate more than a few feet.
I once saw an experiment on TV where they tried to detect if a fish could tell the difference between red and a different colour which would look the same at that depth. The fish couldn't tell the difference.
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post #6 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

Thank you Donna for that fascinating read. Think for many whale species echo location is of higher importance than sight in their appreciation of the world. Kind of like dogs and smell. Think lateral line systems and smell have that prime importance for sharks. We are one of the few mammals where sight reins supreme. Olfactory systems/hearing are of more importance to our brethren.
Been told if troubled by a pod while sailing you should turn on the engine ( in neutral), bang pots in an irregular rhythm and in general make as much noise as possible. ?Wonder the truth of that?

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post #7 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

When we were in Australia several people told us that black bottoms attracted whales - perhaps they get amorous?

Finishing our major refit. Our trip to Newfoundland is off because it is too late. Hoping to go to the North Channel instead.
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post #8 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

I'm also thinking its a myth. Certainly the Humpback mother and calf that swam alongside us as we sailed up the NSW coast a couple of years back, did not seem overly threatened and that was with black anti fouling.

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post #9 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

Now you tell me after I changed bottom paint color to red! Last Labor Day we got to within a hundred yards or so of some humpback whales and they didn’t seem to mind our red paint at all. Perhaps they were too busy bubble netting to be annoyed by our paint. I have heard the stories about black paint being mistaken for killer whales, the main predator of Humpback and Gray calves. There was the case about ten years ago of a PacCup boat being rammed and sunk by an angry cow when the boat inadvertently got too close to the calf. But, tdw had a different experience. Perhaps the whales are more mellow down under?

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post #10 of 25 Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Whales don't like Red ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Thank you Donna for that fascinating read. Think for many whale species echo location is of higher importance than sight in their appreciation of the world. Kind of like dogs and smell. Think lateral line systems and smell have that prime importance for sharks. We are one of the few mammals where sight reins supreme. Olfactory systems/hearing are of more importance to our brethren.
Been told if troubled by a pod while sailing you should turn on the engine ( in neutral), bang pots in an irregular rhythm and in general make as much noise as possible. ?Wonder the truth of that?
Sight is probably just as important for many other mammals (if not more so) as it is for us. What do you think are the chances that blind lion could survive? Probably nil. The thing is, other species rely on their sight for different reasons than we do. Your dog can not only see better than you at night, it's vision is more sensitive when it comes to detecting motion than ours is. Anyone who has had a dog has probably had the experience where your dog suddenly stops and stares off into the bushes. Maybe it heard something, but it might also have detected something moving that you wouldn't see. Animals that have near 360 degree vision (zebras on the savannah for instance) rely on that field of view to detect predators anywhere near them.

Researches believe that a dog's sense of smell helps it create a "map" of an area, but scent is dependent on the wind and it isn't precise enough to accurately locate the things that are important to a dog (like a rabbit or the spot where another dog left its "calling card").

Other animals don't see the world in the same way we do, but it doesn't necessarily mean they don't rely heavily on sight for their survival.
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