Paddling with whales.

12:34 a.m. on December 11, 2012 (EST)
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Just wanted to let you see what a friend of mine experienced when they were out kayaking near the town Tromsø here in north Norway. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-6NjazJQtQ 

The best part is close to 11 minutes out in the film. Enjoy!

 

12:57 a.m. on December 11, 2012 (EST)
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Nice, Really Nice!  Would kinda make me worried if it was not such calm weather, with the wales being so close.  But sure looked great, what an experience!

What was the camera, quite a fish eye (wide angle) lens on it.  My head keep wanting to tilt the other direction to upright the picture. :)

Wolf

2:32 a.m. on December 11, 2012 (EST)
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Amazing!

11:26 a.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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Must seem kinda weird when one first encounters a large mammal like that. I have never sea kayaked or anywhere that the water was so deep. I have only canoed one river in my life in Wisconsin when I was 16 in 1972.

12:42 p.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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I have seen orcas from powerboats in the San Juan Islands, WA but not by sea kayak so far.  The Norwegians were too close in the video.  Paddlers seem to be drawn to whales.  In US waters there are some laws on the books for observing cetaceans. 

They need room to avoid stressing them.  You can see orcas eyeballing the boats when they surface for air and they smell like salmon.  It is exciting to see the dorsal fin of a male orca rise 4 or more feet out of the water before the rest of them is visible.  Keep your distance and live to paddle another day.

6:05 p.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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This was not ocras, it was humpback whales. They are about 5 times bigger than ocras in weight. Ocras may hunt humpbacks. Ocra are btw a dolphin, humpbacks are whales, according to wiki.. :)

Our broadcasting org NRK has announced that they will show pictures taken from divers who dive with ocras, one of them obviously giving a gift to the diver (a herring). If it is possible I will post a link to this when it is publicized.

6:26 p.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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ppine is right about keeping your distance, and I'm pleased that many places with 'whale tours' have legislated that. But as a person familiar with whales, I can tell you that sometimes, that's up to the whale.

This past summer I hiked to a cliff overlooking deep water, and spent an hour watching a pair of humpbacks (the whales in this video) feeding on herring. They'd rise and blow, and quickly dive deep again, flukes up. They seemed quite preoccupied with the fish. Then a boat came out of the bay to my right and rounded the headland, saw the whales and stopped their engines. The whales headed straight for the boat. They circled it, stuck their noses up for a look at it ('spy hops'), and proceeded to put on a bit of a show, flippers slapping the water and tail flukes raised without diving. Eventually (skipper late for supper?) the boat restarted and moved slowly on, and the whales flanked it until it left the cove. Then they went back to their fishing. It was certainly interesting to see, from that perspective, exactly what the whales did before, during and after the meeting.

I've had this happen when I was the one in the boat, and with minkes, pilot whales, belugas and various dolphins and porpoises, as well as humpbacks. One fishing trip this summer was actually aborted because no matter where we went, a minke whale followed, staying within ten feet of the boat and, as my dad put it, scarin' off the jeezus fish.

Edit to clarify: let the whales come to you, and sometimes they will. Chasing them, however, especially in a motorized boat, is pure cruelty, and anybody who does it deserves to lose their boat. Whales seem to particularly like kayaks, though, and can easily outrun them if they want to.

11:38 a.m. on December 29, 2012 (EST)
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Islandess,

Good story.  Two years ago I went to Alaska on my first cruise ship.  All of the inland routes were booked so we were outside most of the time.  It was rough out there, but we did manage to see several blue whales in addition to the more common humpbacks, orcas, and pilot whales.  I have been to Alaska on the ferry system twice and found that to be a superior trip in every way to the cruise ship.

 

1:26 p.m. on December 29, 2012 (EST)
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I remember as a Kid, sailing with my Dad outside of PA (Straight of Juan De Fuca) on a clear summer day and spotting Orca's off in the distance.  Because we were sailing we really did not have the option of heading off towards them.   But with in 20 min or so, they were at our boat!  Several did high slams, where they come fully out of the water and slam back down on there sides, creating huge splashes!  I even saw one go under the boat and breach on the other side, it could not have been more then a few feet below the haul of the boat.  All this was probably with in 50' of the sail boat.  Sail up and continuing on a strait coarse.

Because the wind was low and the water was smooth it was easy to see them and watch them play.  After several minutes they were gone and we could see them swimming west in the straight.  For me it was something I will never forget. 

At the time I just thrilled in the moment.  But now as I look back, it almost seems that they were just "playing" for us.  There were no other boats around and they were not doing any of the breaching or high slams before or after they encountered the boat.  I think they actually changed their course to approach our boat, as I remember that they were far off and my dad did not think that we would get a good look at them. 

This was back in the late 70's and I don't know what pod it was or any thing like that.  It was just one of those life time experiences you have as a kid that you never forget.  :D

Wolfman

1:09 p.m. on December 30, 2012 (EST)
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Great story by Wolfman.  The orcas didn't savvy people much in those days.  We sometimes refer to the Straits as Juan de Puka because it gets rough out there.  I have an old Norwegian fisherman friend of 40 years in Port Angeles.  Anyone tried the catamaran power ferry from Seattle to  Victoria?  Forty knots across the big swells.

3:06 p.m. on January 31, 2013 (EST)
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Cool story wolfman, I hope I get to experience something like that one day.

September 21, 2014
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