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Badger
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 9:12 am 
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SMH.

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cascadetraverser
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 9:22 am 
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Very cool; in the Puget Sound! Love the dude who remains calm while the fear is all around...
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RandyHiker
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 11:51 am 
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Too be fair to the scared people whalers used to call the Gray Whale "devil fish" because it would fight back when hunted and not infrequently capsized whaling boats.  It's good those days are over.

Gray whales are very large animals and could have easily flipped the boat.  The 911 caller was trying to report their position in the event they were capsized..

What wasn't shown in the video was how the boat and the whales got so close.  The marine mammal protection act prohibits approaching closer than 100 yards.  But scofflaws looking to have "an experience" violate that rule, sometimes directly,  other times subtly, but stopping the engine up wind/current from the whales and "drifting" closer.  Sometimes whales will approach such "drifting" boats.  The profitability of the whale watching tourism depends on getting closer than 100 yards IMO.
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cascadetraverser
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 12:44 pm 
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Ya, those whales are huge and fear is a reasonable response.  It makes the guy even more impressive though. Having sea kayaked a bunch of times with both Orcas and gray whales my sense was they were perfectly comfortable, curious and knew exactly where to surface and avoid me.  I wondered prior to the encounters if it would be frightening but it wasn’t.  Haven’t done a Google search to see how often boats get overturned in such situations but suspect it happens rarely (wouldn’t  be great if it did!!😲)
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Bedivere
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 12:48 pm 
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cascadetraverser wrote:
Ya, those whales are huge and fear is a reasonable response.  It makes the guy even more impressive though. Having sea kayaked a bunch of times with both Orcas and gray whales my sense was they were perfectly comfortable, curious and knew exactly where to surface and avoid me.  I wondered prior to the encounters if it would be frightening but it wasn’t.  Haven’t done a Google search to see how often boats get overturned in such situations but suspect it happens rarely (wouldn’t  be great if it did!!😲)

You certainly never hear about it on the news and given that news media thrives on sensationalism, whales overturning whale watching boats would almost certainly get coverage.

Therefore my money's on "it never happens."

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Schroder
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 12:52 pm 
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I was on the Mukilteo ferry last Friday and it had to come to a stop for a pod of orcas that passed  right in front of it.  They can move along pretty quickly and sometimes you don't have to do any maneuvers to have them come right up to the boat, regardless of the MMPA.  Every April gray whales come within 20 feet of the beach in front of our house and spend all day here feeding.
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RandyHiker
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 1:36 pm 
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Bedivere wrote:
Therefore my money's on "it never happens."

I agree very rare.  However there was an incident cataloged in Sea Kayaker "deep trouble" about a kayaker disappearing West of San Juan island in an area frequented by Orca watching tours.  The kayaker objective was whale watching.  His boat was found, but not him.  To an Orca a person is quite similar to a seal.

Grey whales in the OP encounter aren't predators, but it hardly matters,  with Puget Sound water temperatures,  unless you are wearing immersion gear, you only have minutes to be rescued before succumbing to hypothermia.  Most people are unable to swim even a 1/4 mile in Puget Sound before the cold saps their strength to the point of immobility.
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cascadetraverser
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 2:40 pm 
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Interesting video that demonstrates two different approaches to a "potentially" dangerous situation.  I am thinking, likely the best approach, by the fearless skipper was to remove the boat from the super proximite position the boat was to the huge whales which deeply disturbed one or more of his family.

That said, I don't think there is a right answer here. I am sure lots of non hikers would admonish us about our high risk behavior (off trail travel or climbing) in the mountains as unsafe, risky and not good for our families.  Does that stop us?  Modifies our behavior perhaps, but surely doesn't stop me (a father and a professional) from seeking out deep remote off trail places that entails risk.  Is that a good idea for society and for my family?  I believe the gains outweigh the risk and I go.....

The way the skipper embraces the encounter and I believe rightly intuits that the whales are peaceful and are very unlikely to capsize the boat is courageous (although perhaps heeding the fears of those around him sooner was a smarter course).

The family members are seized by fear and want out and want warnings out there in case something goes afoul.  Not unreasonable, I guess.

It seems like you choose your approach....
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RandyHiker
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 6:53 pm 
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A number of incidents,  one in New Jersey, another in Mexico.  The Mexican incident had a fatality.  A smattering of other incidents.

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Whale-Flips-Boat-Long-Branch-New-Jersey-491090221.html

https://globalnews.ca/news/1878505/accidents-involving-whales-rare-but-incidents-can-be-dangerous/
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Nov 14, 2018 8:11 pm 
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When I was a kid we used to salmon fish at  La Push as it was the only place on the coast where it was relatively safe to go into the ocean in a kicker boat. There was a marina where you could rent a boat (we had an outboard but no boat). In season the Gray Whalse would be all around. My mom was terrified but I thought it was so cool. On sever occasions the whales would come up within a few feet of the boat. I never heard of anyone getting hurt but people were different in those days. Loved the Indians also wut they had ferocious dogs.

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