SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 83 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,550 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Here in Hawaii there are about 10,000 (and growing every year) Humpback whales that winter over, then head to Alaska for the summer. These whales can be up to 40 feet long. The whales can breach, coming almost completely out of the water and landing on their sides (to do this they surface from great depths to build up the necessary speed). Somtimes when sailing there are 20 whales within a 3 mile radius of me.

One of my biggest fears is having one of these whales breach and land on my boat, or ram and hole me or break my rudder. The bottom paint on my boat is black- like a whale, maybe a male whale will try to "fight" my boat. Would white bottom paint be better? I have heard they may think your boat is a killer whale and stay away.

So do these whales use sonar to know there is a boat around? How big of a danger are they? What about hitting a sleeping whale while sailing at night? I think they sleep in a floating vertical position?

There was a tourist killed here a few years back when a breaching whale landed on the side of a whale watch catamaran. I have had whales head towards me (while I am dead in the water with no wind) then dive under my boat only to surface on the other side less than 50 feet away- the exhaling whale scared the heck out of me when it surfaced and blew.
 

·
Don't call me a "senior"!
Joined
·
968 Posts
...
So do these whales use sonar to know there is a boat around? How big of a danger are they? What about hitting a sleeping whale while sailing at night? I think they sleep in a floating vertical position?
...
Toothed whales, including dolphins, etc., echolocate. But baleen whales, like your Humpbacks, don't. There is some evidence that some baleen whales "click" in a similar fashion to toothed whales, but the frequencies they use are probably not very useful for "seeing" with much detail. More likely, they are just able to judge where the bottom is.
 

·
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Joined
·
4,526 Posts
When we were in Australia we were told that whales are attracted to black bottoms. Don't know if they want to mate or are just amorous, or whether this only applies to whales in Australia. We have always had blue antifouling so not able to test the theory.

We had a close encounter with a sperm whale of around 30 to 35 feet (think minor league Moby Dick) north of the USVI in 2009. We were on autopilot at the time and he would have T-boned us but altered his course when he was about 50 feet away to go astern. My wife saw him (her/it?) first and screamed louder than I have ever heard her scream - in fact, I think this is the only time she has ever screamed. i chastised her later and said she should have shouted, "Thar, she blows!". She was not amused.

Of all the things that can kill you at sea, I tend to put whales fairly far down the list. Ahead of rogue containers but that is not a very high bar.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,921 Posts
When we were in Australia we were told that whales are attracted to black bottoms. Don't know if they want to mate or are just amorous, or whether this only applies to whales in Australia. We have always had blue antifouling so not able to test the theory.

...
We had a thread about this last year.

"Whales, unlike nocturnal rodents or ourselves, see the world in monochrome."

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

·
Over Hill Sailing Club
Joined
·
3,688 Posts
I also worry about these critters. Judging from the number of Dolphin that have nasty gashes in their topsides, I would say they are not all that great at keeping out of the way! One wrong move on their part could easily mess up a rudder or a prop. When they dive under the boat and play their games, coming up right alongside, I always hold my breath, waiting for the thump. I once had a big black boat that a LARGE Orca came right up alongside and swam parallel for a while. That was somewhat nerve wracking. A friend of mine nearly sunk after hitting some kind of fish off Shinnecock. He barely made it in. It stove in a couple of ribs. Before restocking the world's oceans with a lot of Sperm Whales, maybe we ought to think it over. We sailors may get to have the same attitude Western Ranchers have about restocking Wolves:)
 

·
美国华人, 帆船
Joined
·
2,528 Posts
I worry about whale more than floating containers. I wonder if there is a device that can emit some low power sonar to guide the whales away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,550 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I worry about whale more than floating containers. I wonder if there is a device that can emit some low power sonar to guide the whales away.
Here in Hawaii my GPS has a depth finder- which sends out some sort of sonar signal. I wonder what impact that has on the whales? I have had pods of humbacks swim under my boat- also pick them up on the GPS's fish finder. Maybe I should turn of the depth/fish finder- might make one of the whales mad and it will come to get me.

What effect does all this noise pollution have on the whales, in my waters there are a few fishing boats also running fish finders.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,686 Posts
6 decades on the water, an average of 70 trips a year, had a right whale surface about 20 feet on day off Ocean City, MD, but never, ever had a close call of any kind and don't personally know anyone that has.

Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,953 Posts
My wife taught for a while at some sort of cetacean studies school near La Paz. They went right out in the midst of the whales all the time and never had a problem. A blue whale even surfaced near them once, twice the length of the boat!

I have no idea what color their bottom paint was :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,550 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
6 decades on the water, an average of 70 trips a year, had a right whale surface about 20 feet on day off Ocean City, MD, but never, ever had a close call of any kind and don't personally know anyone that has.

Gary
Here in Hawaii the danger is very real:

Hawaii Whale Safety Workshops | Pacific Island National Parks

Hawaii Whale Safety Workshops
November 26, 2010
tags: Big Island, boating, conservation, events, Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands, humpback, Kauai, marine life, Maui, news, NOAA, Oahu, ocean, photography, safety, travel, whales, wildlife, workshopby Pacific Island Ranger
.

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is offering special boater safety workshops to help prevent scenes like this! (NOAA)
NOAA’S Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and Office of Law Enforcement Announce Whale Safety Workshops

NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and Office of Law Enforcement is hosting a series of boater workshops to help vessel operators stay safe and operate within the law during humpback whale season.
The public workshops, which begin this month, will review guidelines, tips, and regulations concerning vessel-whale avoidance and safe and legal whale watching. New information and recent research also will be discussed. For the complete schedule of workshops please visit the sanctuary online at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary .

“Vessel collisions are recognized as a major source of injury and death for endangered whales in Hawaii,” said Allen Tom, acting sanctuary superintendent and Pacific Islands Regional Director. “It’s important for boaters to be extra vigilant during whale season, for their own safety and the protection of these magnificent animals.”
As many as 12,000 humpback whales winter in Hawaiian waters each year. These acrobatic, 45-ton marine mammals attract wildlife enthusiasts, but vessel-whale collisions pose a serious injury threat to whales and boaters. Ocean users also are subject to risks when whales surface, breach, or slap their massive tails or flippers.

Humpback whale season in Hawai‘i generally runs from November through May, although whales may be encountered in limited numbers during other months. The usual peak in humpback abundance occurs from January through March.

Endangered humpback whales are protected in Hawaii. Federal regulations prohibit approaching within 100 yards of whales when in the water, and 1,000 feet when operating an aircraft. These and other federal marine mammal and endangered species protection regulations apply to all ocean users, including vessel operators, kayakers, and paddle boarders, throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Humpback whales congregate in ocean waters less than 600 feet deep throughout the main Hawaiian Islands. Mariners may also encounter humpback whales at the surface over deeper waters, however. Ocean users are urged to take caution during the humpback whale season by keeping a sharp lookout, traveling at a slow, safe speed and always staying at the vessel’s helm.

Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is administered jointly by a partnership of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources. The sanctuary works to protect humpback whales through research, education, conservation and stewardship.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration < http:// http://www.noaa.gov/>; or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/usnoaa < http://www.facebook.com/usnoaa> .

On the Web:
http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa
 

·
Living the dream
Joined
·
350 Posts
We get thousands of humpbacks along the coast in winter and there are very few reports of collisions. I've had whales surface for air beside the boat, a mother and calf swim directly under my boat while sailing and, in a pea soup fog, crossed paths with a whale sleeping on the surface. I do get a bit concerned at night though. One time on an absolute still and flat calm night I killed the engine and drifted for a while and was amazed at just how many sounds of air breathing critters (turtles, whales and dolphins etc) there were in earshot.

Sent from my GT-P1000 using Tapatalk 2
 

·
&#32654;&#22269;&#21326;&#20154;, &#24070;&#33337;
Joined
·
2,528 Posts
flat calm night I killed the engine and drifted for a while and was amazed at just how many sounds of air breathing critters (turtles, whales and dolphins etc) there were in earshot.

Sent from my GT-P1000 using Tapatalk 2
That must be what I call "The sound of Music". The world is alive. :D
 

·
Super Fuzzy Moderator
Joined
·
17,137 Posts
It is, no doubt, a major problem. Why only this year with whale numbers at post commercial moratorium whaling records we have an horendous toll on the boating community in Australia. The quite staggering total of no boats were attacked by whales in 2013 and what is more the even more startling no people were killed or injured.

Action is urgently called for if we are to put a stop to these dangerously marauding cetaceans.

I shudder to think of the danger very deep keels on boats travelling at plus twenty knots represents for whales and other marine creatures, the danger they pose for us cause me to worry not so much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,550 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
It is, no doubt, a major problem. Why only this year with whale numbers at post commercial moratorium whaling records we have an horendous toll on the boating community in Australia. The quite staggering total of no boats were attacked by whales in 2013 and what is more the even more startling no people were killed or injured.

Action is urgently called for if we are to put a stop to these dangerously marauding cetaceans.

I shudder to think of the danger very deep keels on boats travelling at plus twenty knots represents for whales and other marine creatures, the danger they pose for us cause me to worry not so much.
You need to read the link:
Hawaii Whale Safety Workshops | Pacific Island National Parks

Yes, we are concerned about damage to both the whale, boats, and people.
Hawaii also has a very aggressive whale de-tanglement program:

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale - Resource Protection - Disentanglement 2011-2012 Summary

2011-2012 Disentanglement Season Summary
Background Information

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) receives, and when appropriate, responds to, reports of humpback whales, and other marine animals in distress. The Sanctuary works closely with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Services' (NOAA Fisheries) Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO), Office of Protected Resources (OPR), Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), and Office of Law Enforcement (OLE); Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR); and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The Sanctuary coordinates response efforts involving entangled large whales around the main Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian Islands Large Whale Entanglement Response Network (HILWERN) is a collaborative effort between, the state and federal agencies already mentioned, local whale researchers, the tour industry, fishers, and many private citizens. The primary objectives of the Network are to provide safe and authorized response to entangled large whales (hopefully freeing some from life threatening entanglements in the process), and to gather valuable information from these response efforts that may mitigate entanglement threat and other threats, like ship strikes, in the future. All Network efforts involving close approach to large whales are authorized, and permitted, under NOAA Fisheries' Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP; permit # 932-1905).

The Hawaiian Islands Large Whale Entanglement Response Network, now in its 11th season, comprises over 230 members who have received various levels of training in order to support large whale response efforts statewide. More than 275 hours of training have been provided since 2002. To support the Network's response efforts, caches of specially designed equipment have been established on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai (see Figure 1).

Since 2002, the Sanctuary has received more than 211 reports of whales entangled in gear. The earliest confirmed report of a humpback whale entangled based on the breeding/ calving season was Nov 1 (2007), while the latest was April 25 (2008). Confirmed reports generally start in December, increase in frequency through February, and then decline into April. Only one confirmed large whale entanglement report (a sperm whale reported entangled north of Layson Island on May 27, 2011) has been received in May (See Figure 2). The number of reports has generally increased each season (see Figure 3). Overall, 112 reports were confirmed as truly involving entangled large whales, representing as many as 70 different animals (see Figure 4). All, but three of these reports - a sei and two sperm whales, were humpback whales.

The Network does not or cannot respond to every report of an entangled whale. Past responses and thorough vetting of initial entanglement reports has shown that approximately half (48%) of reports here in Hawaii have been misreported or cannot be confirmed (Lyman et al, 2007). Continued outreach and efforts into reporting have decreased the number of misreported and unconfirmed reports over the years. This last season 45% (N=31) of reports were unconfirmed (i.e. unable to confirm or confirmed as not representing an entangled whale). Examples of misreports include: white-flippered humpback whales interpreted as carrying gear; animals in the proximity of gear, but not entangled; reflections off the wet backs of animals interpreted as buoys; calves being interpreted as gear; and surface behaviors, like breaching, being interpreted as animals trying to throw an entanglement. Figure 3 shows the total number of reports received each season broken down by confirmed and unconfirmed.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,568 Posts
Male whales are a problem because when they see a keel of a sail boat they mistake it for a......ummmmm.... Another male whales penis.

AND THEN THE FIGHT IS ON!


I have a sign on each side of my keel: "Bigger dick on the other side."



Mark
 
  • Like
Reactions: SoOkay and vega1860

·
Kynntana (Freedom 38)
Joined
·
977 Posts
It is, no doubt, a major problem. Why only this year with whale numbers at post commercial moratorium whaling records we have an horendous toll on the boating community in Australia. The quite staggering total of no boats were attacked by whales in 2013 and what is more the even more startling no people were killed or injured.

Action is urgently called for if we are to put a stop to these dangerously marauding cetaceans.

I shudder to think of the danger very deep keels on boats travelling at plus twenty knots represents for whales and other marine creatures, the danger they pose for us cause me to worry not so much.
Yeah, this reminds me of people who are so concerned about swimming with sharks. You're still 1,000 times more likely to die from drowning than being BITTEN and yet people still don't wear PFDs.

Shoot. Am I off topic again...?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,550 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Yeah, this reminds me of people who are so concerned about swimming with sharks. You're still 1,000 times more likely to die from drowning than being BITTEN and yet people still don't wear PFDs.

Shoot. Am I off topic again...?
Shoots, and I was going surfing today:
Shark warning signs posted in Haleiwa - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Well at least us living in Hawaii do not go and kill great whites and tigers just because we think we might get bit, unlike them Australians.
 

·
Kynntana (Freedom 38)
Joined
·
977 Posts
You need to read the link:
Hawaii Whale Safety Workshops | Pacific Island National Parks

Yes, we are concerned about damage to both the whale, boats, and people.
Hawaii also has a very aggressive whale de-tanglement program:
Maybe it's just my cynical nature, but my guess is that there are more whale-boat interactions because there are more whales and people who want to be close to the 'cutsie-wootsie whale.' How many times do you see YouTube videos of people in large vessels as well as small kayaks closing in on breaching humpbacks to get a closer look? How often do people clamor to touch or swim with the whales and be like one with them when they look into their eyes? Really. It's a human problem -- not a whale problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,550 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Maybe it's just my cynical nature, but my guess is that there are more whale-boat interactions because there are more whales and people who want to be close to the 'cutsie-wootsie whale.' How many times do you see YouTube videos of people in large vessels as well as small kayaks closing in on breaching humpbacks to get a closer look? How often do people clamor to touch or swim with the whales and be like one with them when they look into their eyes? Really. It's a human problem -- not a whale problem.
There is a 300 foot distance you are supposed to keep from whales, and fines are stiff and enforced. Now if you are still in the water, and the whale approaches you, then that is not illegal. If a whale is headed for me, I go the other direction. But here, nobody swims with whales, and if you did- you would be looking at a stiff fine.

I have seen large power boats heading right for a whale that has just dived (the power boater did not see the whale prior to the dive), luckily the whale did not surface and did not get hit- would have been bad for both whale and boat- I almost got on the VHF to warn the boat, but there was not enough time and could have just added to the problem. Most whale strikes in Hawaii are boaters (mostly power boaters) hitting whales they never saw, or saw when it was too late. Sailboats, with there slow speed and somewhat protected prop are probably less of a danger to a whale.
 
1 - 20 of 83 Posts
Top