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ETpro's avatar

Do whales ever breach under a boat?

Asked by ETpro (34145 points ) December 28th, 2013

I saw this brief video and immediately thought of the famous line from Jaws, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” The boat of whale watchers pictured in the video is not small, but not compared to what lurks right under it, it’s way outmatched.

A large whale breaching is one of nature’s most impressive sights. But do whales look up to make sure there is nothing in the way before they hurl themselves toward the surface? The mom on the boat in the video clearly became terrified the whale might come up under or land on their boat. How realistic was her fear?

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13 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

When I went whale watching in Alaska the whales came so close to the not very big boat we were in you could have reached out and touched the whale if you leaned out the window enough. They would breach pretty close to the boat also, but not as close as when they were just swimming through the water. The guys leading the tour said the whales never hit the boats, they never come up and jar the boats. I don’t know if is a hard fast fact, but at least in their experience they had never seen it and were not concerned about it. We saw groups of whales come up 12 and 14 at a time, it was unbelievable. So many at once. Even the guides that day said they had not seen anything like that in a long time.

zenvelo's avatar

They only do it if they intend to do it, as in the experiences of the Essex, the whale ship out of Nantucket that was the basis of Moby Dick. Days before the ship was rammed by Mocha Dick, the captain’s whale boat was destroyed by a whale that came up underneath it.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I am so jealous. It must have been an awe inspiring experience to be able to see that.

@zenvelo Carve one more notch in the cetacean IQ chart.

JLeslie's avatar

If you go into my albums on facebook the one marked Alaska has a couple pictures of the whales, but I didn’t get the photos snapped when they were very high out of the water. My camera doesn’t snap the photo fast enough.

AshLeigh's avatar

I’ve never heard of it happening, and whale watching is a pretty big tourist attraction in Alaska.
I freaking hate whales though.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie If you have a chance to go again, take a video camera.

@AshLeigh I’ve never heard of anyone hating whales before. Why do you feel that way?

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro I’ve seen whales on TV, and honestly there is nothing like seeing it in person. The video would be good for me in terms of reliving it, but for others, it would be just another movie of whales.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@JLeslie I agree, I’ve seen tons of videos and pictures of whale sharks(yes yes, not a whale or a shark) but nothing could ever prepare you for the feeling of being in the water next to this creature. Magical.

AshLeigh's avatar

@ETpro, they’re ridiculous and ugly. Haha

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie True. Just for the memories, though, I would definitely make a video.

@uberbatman Lucky man. They are awesome creatures too.

@AshLeigh There’s no accounting for taste, I guess. Jest don’t tell one that to their face.

AshLeigh's avatar

If I ever meet one, I’m definately going to call it ugly. :p
They can’t even breathe under water, like everything else that lives in the ocean.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@AshLeigh I suppose,by that logic, dolphins,dugongs ,sea lions, manatees, otters, walrus, porpoises and seals don’t live in the ocean…..

AshLeigh's avatar

I joke. Settle down.

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