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Thread: Hit by a Humpback Whale...

  1. #1
    Member killer instinct's Avatar
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    Default Hit by a Humpback Whale...

    I believe the world stopped turning for a milisecond only 3 times since God made it: 1)When Jesus died; 2) Sept 11, 2001; and 3) on July 1, 2010 at 11:07a.m. somewhere off of Latouche/Montague Island. I wasn't there for the first time. I remembered the second time. And definitely felt it on the third.

    The day started like any other "normal" fishing day. We had scrapped our plans to go out fishing from Seward and instead headed to PWS on Thursday, 7-1-10 to beat the traffic that would start to head out for the 4th of July weekend. Had a smooth launch from Whittier (best one ever - not many boaters yet) and headed down to Port Nellie Juan to spend the night.

    Next morning, checked the shrimp pots (5 gallons/8 hour soak), and headed down south. Ten million commercial boaters were out, so we carefully picked our way through them as we avoided the gauntlet of nets that were out. Finally made it through, and enjoyed the rest of the travel until we approached Latouche Island.

    Noticed there were some whales in the distance as we saw their blowholes spouting off. How nice. Then all of a sudden, right beside me, on MY side, a hugh black shape materializes out of the water. (When I mean right beside me, I mean I could slid open my window, and whisper in the whale's ear.... "How was Hawaii this past winter?"..."Are you getting enough to eat?".... "My, how cold & smooth your skin feels" kinda close)....Now I will say I'm not proud of my reaction. It's not a reation a co-pilot should have. But I found myself screaming "OH SH*T" and leaping out of my co-pilot's chair and shoving over to the hubby's captain's chair. He sees the humpback whale apparently at the same moment I do & joggles the boat from HARD starboard to HARD port so we don't go over it with the motors. This is where the world STOPPED turning for a milisecond. I hold my breath & then we heard it ....."KER-THUNK". Ugh! I could just see it now... making a "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday - Going down, taken out by a humpback whale" call.

    The first few seconds after the impact, multiple questions go through my mind - "Is it ok?", "Are we ok?", "Are the motors ok?", "Is there a hole in the boat?" .... We both couldn't stop shaking. In retrospect, we believe his tail hit the side of the boat when we threw it hard right. The motors didn't hesitate as if they had hit an object. Darn close call. Too close.....

    After settling ourselves down mentally & physically (I'm proud to say neither of us "messed" our pants!), we arrived at our fishing place. Killed the motors, drifted, and started to fish. Probably was 100 feet away from the island, 80 feet of water. Then a humpback whale surfaces again - between us & the island. WTH! We felt we were now being targeted & they were gunning for us. But at least if they disabled us, we could make it to shore.

    No other incident transpired between us & them, but for the grace of God, if that whale had popped up directly in front of us that close, or 6 inches farther to the left of us, or a lot bigger, the outcome would have been a lot worse.

    We tried to find out what/who needs to be informed of the above incident, but per Fish & Game (they were on the dock as we came in) & Coast Guard Auxillary, unless there is extensive damage (no damage that we could see - not even a dent), there wasn't a report to be made.

    I have discovered three things about this situation:

    1) Jesus is the true co-pilot - I suck at it.
    2) You can die out there in a split second
    3) Whales don't have your best intentions in mind.

    Oh, and the funny thing is .... our boat name has a whale's picture in it

  2. #2

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    Wow, what an experience. I'm glad it all turned out okay in the end.

  3. #3
    Member wldboar's Avatar
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    Holy ?*%#. Glad it wasn't worse. A friend if mine had a similar incident. Told me humpback was so close, he could smell it, and they stink. We had orcas close to our boat a few years back. Enough to scare me, but not as close as you guys. Glad nobody or anything was hurt.
    The only thing worse than a Subaru is the as*hole who drives it.

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    Member kodiakbound's Avatar
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    ya, ya. But did you catch any fish?
    Experience is a hard teacher because you get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

  5. #5
    Member killer instinct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakbound View Post
    ya, ya. But did you catch any fish?
    You betcha! Nice sized Halibut, Keeper Lings, & Rock Fish! God must've thought he owed us some after that....

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    good story, I've got a few myself, but you've got a way with words. We had a pod of dolphin play with our boat for about a half hour a couple years ago. They would bumped the boat, but the motor wasn't running so were no worries there and they weren't big enough to make us worry about boat damage.

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    A few years back I was on a charter for halibut on John Goodhand's boat which I believe was the Dawn Treader. He wasn't the captain but I forget who it was now. We circled a known GPS waypoint on the east side of Montague Island preparing to drop anchor and there were a few humpbacks feeding in the nearby vicinity. We watched the whales feeding around us as we started to fish. All of a sudden a big bull humpback and a smaller whale charged our boat. They were riding as high in the water as they could and as the big one got to our boat he rolled over on his side and slid under our boat raising it up and rocking us pretty good. As he went under our boat he blew and it was a very fishy stink right in our faces. I will always remember the size of that whale's eye as he looked up at us on the way under us. There was a young lad on the boat who snagged the smaller whale on a circle hook and it actually stopped the whale. It slammed it's tail onto the surface of the water with a resounding whack and the boat captain grabbed his knife and cut the line releasing the snagged whale.
    The captain stated that he had been guiding in PWS for 13 years and that he had never seen anything like that happen before.
    Apparently we disrupted their feeding and it angered the big guy. The strange part is that we were fishing there for a while before the whales did that to us. Needless to say we pulled up the anchor and moved out of his area and let them feed.
    That was one of the poorest fishing days I have ever been on out there but it was by far the most memorial one. The sad thing is that I had my camera out trying to get a good whale picture and I had just taken it back down to the hold when this happened.

  8. #8
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    GREAT STORY glad you and the boat are ok and sounds like the whale should be fine as well.

    have had whale come close and check us out. 3-4 passes, when we were stoppedand drifting, it surfaced 20 yards behind us then circled and went under then circled again and surfaced along side( got it all on video)......longer or as long as my 34 foot boat would be alot hairier now in my 24 footer.
    that kind of stuff is what makes trips to PWS so great.
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

  9. #9
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Great Day on the Water !

    What an experience, great write up on it. One of those, "so how do I prepare for that?"

    Years back, running a commercial boat out west I was on watch with a friend in the wheelhouse, talking about stuff, both looking out front on a glass calm day, when a Killer Whale comes completely out of the water, like to the tail, so close to our bow that we couldn't see him lay over back into the water because he was beneath the bow railing at that point. The splash covered our windows, this was a 50ft boat with "Whaleback-style bow" interestingly enough.

    We both just shouted "Whoa" in unison, the rest of the crew ran up like we we're all gonna die or something, I think we shouted pretty loudly

    So..... how do we prepare for that???????

    I think about it every time I am cruising through whales now, "what if that old guy had laid his tonnage across our bow, or what if i'm in a small boat and that happens?????

    Exciting Day on the water for you guys, eh? Don't ya love those times when it seems God is saying, "ahh, just checkin' on your humility level there, for fun."

    The Ocean'll do that for ya pretty well, and it's all So Fun to Survive. Good Post !!
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  10. #10

    Default Wow, and in a split second is right

    4 years ago a buddy and his son went with me up to fish the marane up Port Wells leading into Harrison Bay. After a while there we seen a whale circling around the area, what a great sight to see.
    After some time I seen it blow directly dead ahead heading directly at us maybe 50 yards out. First thing we did was grab the camera, and I told everybody to hold on to something, being in a 18' inflatable we'd never sink but?
    Well a min later the fish finder went depth 10 feet in 100 feet of water, and all 3 poles started spinning out. Well lucky there skin is so tough we didn't hook it. Imagin yelling Whale On!
    Would of loved another close up pic, but glad it didn't come up right under us. The Rubber Duck wasn't made to fly.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Default I am convinced

    Sometimes, humpbacks do not like us ....

    Two years ago, in late May I was coming back from Montague with our limit of Rockfish & Halibut. Ahead I saw a large group of Humpbacks, mabey 15 or so, as we got closer I decided that we would stop close by and clean our catch and drift through them, take in the sights and sounds of the large group of whales. The group split in two with several adults moving off and about 5 smaller whales and a real large one still in close to our boat. As we were finishing up our cleaning, (I will call her big moma) circled our boat twice looking at us and blowing about 4 times (yes it stinks). I got a bad feeling started the boat and headed out at full throttle until I had a safe distance. I think the big whale was not happy with us being that close to the little ones and she was, in her own way "drawing a line in the sand/surf"

    It is their ocean, we are just visitors ...
    Last edited by ocnfish; 07-05-2010 at 18:11. Reason: spelling

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Default It makes you think, don't it?

    I was hunting with Stan Stevens Charters years ago in the 70's, out of Valdez for Black bear. Had my own Zodiac and was fishing a Halibut Rod about 100' off a secluded shoreline, watching for bear. With my rifle at my side and a rod in my hand, a black shape appeared below my boat and proceeded to move about ten knots, I'm guessing, directly below me. All of a sudden My whole Zodiak started coming out of the water, A whale surfaced below me and I slid off to it's side. I looked at my rifle and then back to the whale a few times until it swam off.
    Nothing in this world makes you feel smaller and puny than having a close up with the monsters of the deep. I know what you were feeling, believe me. It took me a while to stop shaking. Now it is funny... then, it was just plain scary.
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Member slimm's Avatar
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    One of the coolest threads ever... Hope theres more stories to come..
    alaskapiranha..........Awesome picture...

  14. #14
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Default near Admiralty Island

    About 7 years ago on a charter trip out of Admiralty Island, southwest of Kake, in Fredrick Sound, 6 of us were fishing a herring school to get bait for the days fishing, we soon noticed a couple whales starting to feed on the same school, they would roll on their side, open their mouth, scoop in the herring, then sound by flipping their tail high in the air. We had 5 of us on the stern of the boat with herring jigs, and one guy was on the bow, we all had buckets to fill. We heard a scream from the bow, all looked forward and all we could see was Dave outlined by a whales tail, the tail hit the railing of the boat and broke some of the welds. Dave thought he was a goner. We left the school of herring to the whales and went fishing with the fresh bait, I caught my limit of rock fish ,5, in 5 minutes and 24 seconds with that fresh bait. That is a Day I will always remember.

  15. #15

    Smile Whale of a story

    A glass calm day in Homer on my father's charter boat, we were cruising in after a day of fishing. Way out on the horizon you could see the Humpback's cruising along, many of them, more than a dozen different whales were visable. Between the Humpbacks and us, thousands of birds going after what were probably candle stick fish, as we call em'. Between land and us were pods of Killer Whales, many with calves, cruising along also. Every boat in sight was stopped and watching the whales. The Killer Whales would come up next to you, turn sideways and get a good look at you with their big eyes, then continue on. It was the most amazing thing to see so many Killer Whales swim around you, the dark inky colored sea with a white and black giant just a few feet beneath you, just incredible!

  16. #16

    Default June of Last Year

    My brother and I were shrimping out of Whittier and were in the process of pulling pots. I noticed a couple of juvenile humpbacks playing around and didn't think anything about it. We emptied the pots and pitched them back in and headed for the next string, I noticed that they were following us. When we stopped, they swam around us and started breaching right behind the boat! Man, that was some crazy stuff. Don't care if it ever happens again though.

    We never really grow up, we only learn
    how to act in public

  17. #17
    Member AkBillyBow's Avatar
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    I was out there at the same time, June 30 and July 1. We see whales often, but have never seen as many whales as we did on that trip. They seemed to be everywhere we went, from south Culross pass to south Kinght Island.

    We had a couple of really close visits, but nothing to get excited about. But, I always wonder what the whales are thinking when they see the bottom of my boat. I have a catamaran and often wonder if they may think they are looking at 2 whales or fish swimming beside each other when they see the bottom of my boat.

    I have had porpoises swim in between my catamaran sides, so I always stop and kill the engines when I see them. I hope a whale never tries that stunt!!

    Glad everything turned out Ok for you. We did get some great pictures!!

    AkBillyBow
    2007 Glacier Bay Cat 2690 Coastal Runner, Twin Honda 150's

  18. #18

    Question It is funny

    But I didn't mention, that after breaching a few times, another boat pulled into the bay, and off they went and did the same show for them. I wonder if these guys are thinking the boats are other whales and just wanted to play, or what.
    We never really grow up, we only learn
    how to act in public

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakbound View Post
    ya, ya. But did you catch any fish?

    Thanks, I spit coffee out of my nose!.......
    "If your not the lead dog.... the view never changes"

  20. #20
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Any of those lookng for Silvers out of Seward be careful around Cheval Island, especially Northside. Had one this weekend that decided to scratch it's back and head on the rocks while we were sitting less then 50 feet from shore. Then later while trolling, after we thought it left, we had it run thru our gear and then it seemed like I was reliving Jaws as we could not get away from it. No matter what we did we had a whale within 100 yards of the boat all day. Rock fishing was hot, hot, hot after it got done scratching itself and Silvers weren't bad either.

    I did give the Troopers a good laugh when they came by to check us out. I told them I wanted to file a haressment complaint. Then almost on cue the whale surface between us and them. His eyes got big, his suggestion was to move on, I told him I kept moving and it kept following.

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