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Spanish Orcas, 1st hand experience


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After being attacked by 2 orcas near Barbate a few weeks ago we did some research and came to some conclusions. I would like to share our experience and thoughts in the hope that others can avoid costly and potentially dangerous encounters with these orcas.

We thought we were being careful and were fairly close to shore, I think our attack is one of the closest to shore recorded, however we were in about 40m deep water when the attack started. We had sonar off, wind generator stopped and were sailing (at about 5.5 knots) in an attempt at ‘silent running’. I was helming (autopilot also off to reduce noise) and saw the orcas more than 300m away (I used to skipper whale watching boats so have a sharp eye) and they were already heading straight for us. They approached the boat from the stern and started going for the rudders (the boat is a 35ft cat).

The official protocol, found here: https://www.orcaiberica.org/safety-protocol devised by orcaiberica gtoa and sort of enforced by Tarifa traffic is to: drop all sails, switch off your engine, leave the helm free/disconnect/turn off autopilot, go and hide below until the whales have gotten bored smashing your boat up and swam off. If you are now unable to navigate Tarifa traffic will send a tow boat out to you, the last people I heard of receiving a tow were charged 2000 euros. For me this is retarded and comes from the typical ‘sat in the air-conditioned office with no skin in the game’ mindset. Most people who have followed this protocol have received substantial damage and if you radio in your attack while it is ongoing (as most do) then Tarifa traffic will instruct you to follow these orders while watching you on ais/radar to see if you comply (and start getting shitty if you don't, now your cards are marked!)

In our attack (orcaiberica euphemistically call all attacks ‘interactions’) we were already fairly close to shore and chose to head for shallow/safe water as quickly as possible (which involved getting round the next headland as there was a fairly big following sea), we were also towing a dingy on a long line (engine and everything else removed). The 2 orcas divided their time between the dingy and the rudders so were only at the rudders for 50% of the time. When they pushed the rudders the force on the wheel was tremendous but I managed to get back on course after each push, I also thought they might flip the dingy as they were getting it out of the water at times (that would have been bad!) This went on for perhaps 30 mins and as soon as we got into shallower water (<15m) they left. We pulled into the bay and assessed the damage, 1 rudder was bent at about 30 degrees but the other seemed fine, we were able to sail all be it with very heavy steering. Next day we got to Gibraltar bay and dropped the rudder (diving), which we took to a local engineering workshop to straighten, we then had to glass up the section they had cut open, re install and were good to go. Even this relatively minor damage could have run into four figures if taken to a boat yard as they would have hauled the boat out before even starting, (our total cost, including taxis, 160 euro)

There is now an exclusion zone for yachts under 15m close to Barbate but I don't think everyone is aware of this, Tarifa traffic will call you if you enter it though, see shaded area in pic.

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We returned past this area a few days ago and adopted our revised approach which is to stay in less than 20m water, preferably less than 15m, sailing, motorsailing or motoring, sounder etc all on (we also had an inflatable kayak ready to throw in to tow as a decoy and the dingy was out on a long line). During our passage we heard 3 other yachts broadcast pan pan distress calls on the VHF reporting attacks, all within 6nm of us and 1 within 1nm, all these boats were in water deeper than 20m. Tarifa traffic responded to them and instructed them to follow the official protocols, 1 was in a position to head for shallow water, I tried to call them on DSC to advise but they didn’t respond.

My conclusions: I am convinced the orcas are having a laugh and the best part for them is to change the behavior of the boat, if they can stop it, turn it around etc its more fun. If it is possible to head for shallow water the attack will end as you get to less than 15-20m. If you want to avoid an attack stay inshore of the exclusion zone near Barbate and close to shore as far N as Conil and as far SE as Tarifa (in less than 20m depth). This is easy in good weather but would be at best unpleasant in bad conditions with tide races etc thrown in. The only other option is to sail out in/close to the shipping lanes where there have been fewer attacks, however, if an attack out there resulted in loss of steerage you could be in deep shit as the container ships, tankers etc do not give way and in my experience do not answer their radios even when on a collision course with a small yacht.

Map of ‘interactions’ https://www.orcaiberica.org/last-interactions

For the record, I am against any cull or killing of these endangered animals, we must find ways to deal with this which do not injure the whales.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Israel Hands said:

Wonder how they would respond to discharge of a holding tank?

Does seem like this situation calls for some kind of non-lethal defense + deterrence conditioning -- the equivalent to bear spray, or shotgun reports to scatter geese. Dunno what a few cherry bombs tossed overboard would do to a whale, or a load of capsicum. We need some marine biologists to come forward with a list of Things Orcas Hate.

Cuz what we've learned with bears is that bad behavior, left unchecked, does tend to progress until humans get hurt/very pissed off -- and then the animal is killed. No one wants that.

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13 minutes ago, Diarmuid said:

Cuz what we've learned with bears is that bad behavior, left unchecked, does tend to progress until humans get hurt/very pissed off -- and then the animal is killed. No one wants that.

And these animals are intelligent enough to pass along their hunting & playing routines to other pods, and they live to be 30- to 60-years-old.  Someone needs to come up with a better option than 'sit there and take it' fairly soon.

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1 hour ago, Israel Hands said:

Someone needs to come up with a better option than 'sit there and take it' fairly soon.

Play Friday by Rebecca Black on every sub hunting grade active sonar you can muster 24/7 in the area.

If that doesn't work humanity is fucked and praise our new orca overlords.

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42 minutes ago, mathystuff said:

Play Friday by Rebecca Black on every sub hunting grade active sonar you can muster 24/7 in the area.

If that doesn't work humanity is fucked and praise our new orca overlords.

We are trying to avoid overt cruelty.  Bastard.

;)

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4 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

Does seem like this situation calls for some kind of non-lethal defense + deterrence conditioning -- the equivalent to bear spray, or shotgun reports to scatter geese. Dunno what a few cherry bombs tossed overboard would do to a whale, or a load of capsicum. We need some marine biologists to come forward with a list of Things Orcas Hate.

Cuz what we've learned with bears is that bad behavior, left unchecked, does tend to progress until humans get hurt/very pissed off -- and then the animal is killed. No one wants that.

Yeah, if we cant find a friendly solution it may well end up with a .458

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27 minutes ago, mathystuff said:

Maybe some Britney Spears then?

Her dad says no.

26 minutes ago, Raz&#x27;r said:

cayenne pepper in the bottom paint?

Prior art here. PepperCoat? Orcagard? "What's black & white & red all over?" "A killer whale covered with sriracha."

 

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Here are some orcas literally right in the small bay where I keep my boat.  Pics and discussion from our local community FB page just a few days ago.

They haven’t started seeking revenge on or demanding tribute from, the humans here...yet...

8B322C1A-235F-4C0E-8650-BEEE99AD3937.jpeg

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42 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

They haven’t started seeking revenge on or demanding tribute from, the humans here...yet...

As a very senior English cop once told me when I asked whether his large deployment in my workplace was a sign that they were after me, "it's only a matter of time".

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2 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Here are some orcas literally right in the small bay where I keep my boat.  Pics and discussion from our local community FB page just a few days ago.

They haven’t started seeking revenge on or demanding tribute from, the humans here...yet...

8B322C1A-235F-4C0E-8650-BEEE99AD3937.jpeg

I do wonder if their behaviour is changing, or reverting. Early accounts of Antarctic explorers indicate occasions where orcas would try to upset/break ice floes to get at them. Then for decades, nothing of the kind. Now, at least some are getting aggressive?

It's interesting. I haven't seen any around my area though there's plenty of fat lazy seals for them to feed on. I'm sure the fish farmers would be glad to have a trained pod.

Well, until they decided salmon was tastier and easier to catch anyway.

I always liked seeing orcas, they're magnificent animals. Maybe not so much if they're going to break rudders and damage boats though.

FKT

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1 hour ago, Ishmael said:

We had a young orca near here that separated from the main pod and had fun destroying rudders and anything else hanging in the water. Luna met an untimely end due to the propeller on a large tug.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_(killer_whale)

Evolution in action.

FKT

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This summer, talking about this issue with one of my best mates (a well reknowned oceanographer with lots of experience at sea), he told me this was "learned behaviour" from one or two whales and the only solution is to kill that or those whales.

He then told me that when orcas are stressed they like to bite things, he'd seen one bite pieces of concrete off of a breakwater (destroying its teeth on the way).

Apparently one or more whales tasted rudders and are using then as chew toys.

 

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25 minutes ago, chuso007 said:

This summer, talking about this issue with one of my best mates (a well reknowned oceanographer with lots of experience at sea), he told me this was "learned behaviour" from one or two whales and the only solution is to kill that or those whales.

Alternatively, humans could stop stealing the orcas' food, stop polluting their waters, and keep out of the orcas' playground.

Better than killing.

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7 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

I do wonder if their behaviour is changing, or reverting. Early accounts of Antarctic explorers indicate occasions where orcas would try to upset/break ice floes to get at them. Then for decades, nothing of the kind. Now, at least some are getting aggressive?

It's interesting. I haven't seen any around my area though there's plenty of fat lazy seals for them to feed on. I'm sure the fish farmers would be glad to have a trained pod.

Well, until they decided salmon was tastier and easier to catch anyway.

I always liked seeing orcas, they're magnificent animals. Maybe not so much if they're going to break rudders and damage boats though.

FKT

Serious question; presumably your rudder isn’t made of fibreglass and would not be harmed by orca bites?

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I don't think many anyone really wants to kill them but just like a bear in a national forest that decides to chew on a camper or hiker, the best solution is probably to kill one or two because they are not likely to change their habits.  If left unchecked this behavior will probably result in the loss of human life eventually.

But it would be nice if we could find an effective non-lethal solution like dropping charges overboard.

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5 minutes ago, Tharsheblows said:

I don't think many anyone really wants to kill them but just like a bear in a national forest that decides to chew on a camper or hiker, the best solution is probably to kill one or two because they are not likely to change its habits.  If left unchecked this behavior will probably result in the loss of human life eventually.

I think what that means unless we do some killing now, there may be killing in the future. :(

Why not just stay out of their way?

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44 minutes ago, Black Sox said:

Serious question; presumably your rudder isn’t made of fibreglass and would not be harmed by orca bites?

No, it's steel and bite proof.

Not proof against bending though, however as it's not a spade type rudder but fully supported by a substantial heel bearing, it wouldn't be easy.

I don't actually want to put it to the test.

FKT

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1 minute ago, TwoLegged said:

I think what that means unless we do some killing now, there may be killing in the future. :(

Why not just stay out of their way?

Because that's not realistic.  People are not going to stop sailing boats off the coast of Portugal.  Hoping the problem goes away is just waiting for the inevitable human death.

If it was a standard behavior for the species then it would make more sense to learn to live with it but its not standard behavior.  Its a very unique learned behavior of a couple of highly intelligent animals. 

"Problem animals" occasionally arise everywhere that dangerous animals and humans routinely mix, whether it's a lion or tiger that learns that it can eat the occasional villager, or bears in national parks attacking campers, or even wolves.  Once the dangerous behavior starts it rarely stops and killing the problem animal before it kills a human and/or teaches more animals the dangerous behavior is usually the quickest and most responsible option. 

Of course, like I said, if we could find an effective non-lethal option that would be ideal.  I think most everybody likes orcas, but when they crack the hull of a sailboat by hitting the rudder post hard enough and then a couple children aboard die their fate will be sealed.  It would be nice it we could stop that behavior before that happens

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Does anyone know of an analysis being done of the boats being attacked? Beginning with type of rudder (keel, skeg or spade), but moving on to construction material, equipment on board (running or not) etc.

Do we even know what percentage of boats passing through the area are actually experiencing this?

There must be some common factor that's pissing these animals off - or inciting them to mischief if you will B)

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As mentioned upstream we need to talk to the local fishermen. Do it a non-threatening and non-judgmental way to their livelihood and learn their coping methods.

From there bring in other experts and find a way to train everything and everyone involved.

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1 hour ago, alphafb552 said:

Does anyone know of an analysis being done of the boats being attacked? Beginning with type of rudder (keel, skeg or spade), but moving on to construction material, equipment on board (running or not) etc.

Do we even know what percentage of boats passing through the area are actually experiencing this?

There must be some common factor that's pissing these animals off - or inciting them to mischief if you will B)

Unfortunately the meaningful data is not being shared but boats have been hit when under engine and sailing, systems on and off. Yesterday there was an attack off Tangier and last week 1 off Gibralter so the risk area is getting larger. This is also not just the behaviour of 1 or 2 animals as pods in distant geographical locations have started going for boats, it seems like "100th monkey" shared behaviour.

Time to get a steel boat!

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1 hour ago, Tharsheblows said:

Of course, like I said, if we could find an effective non-lethal option that would be ideal.  I think most everybody likes orcas, but when they crack the hull of a sailboat by hitting the rudder post hard enough and then a couple children aboard die their fate will be sealed.  It would be nice it we could stop that behavior before that happens

I can't agree with what seems to me to be a selfish-human approach which demands one-way compliance.    Vast swathes of the planet have been denuded of wild mammals, and many species have been made extinct by humans.  Many orca populations are seriously diminished, and those off Portugal are severely threatened by overfishing: their resulting efforts to grab fish off longlines are one of the factors which brought them into contact with boats.

So it seems to me that we humans are treating the orcas appallingly badly, and then making death threats when a few of them act up.  I find that approach horrible.

Personally, i hope that if there are any moves to kill the orcas, some heavily-armed hardcore version of Sea Shepherd gets in there fast and intercepts the killers with as much force as is needed.

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I think (and I hope) that we're a ways off from needing to cull problem animals.

Creating the "avoidance zone" on the charts is a good first step. Keeping to the shallows as you pass the area is good. Then we'll try non-lethal deterrents.

A sonar deterrent that would create enough pain to drive away a whale would be very powerful and energy intensive. It's not something that a pleasure cruising sailboat would carry. You're not going to tune your depth finder to an unpleasant frequency and drive them away with it.

Hopefully we can figure out what the "reward" is for the whales and take it away so that they stop doing it.

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1 hour ago, TwoLegged said:

I can't agree with what seems to me to be a selfish-human approach which demands one-way compliance.    Vast swathes of the planet have been denuded of wild mammals, and many species have been made extinct by humans.  Many orca populations are seriously diminished, and those off Portugal are severely threatened by overfishing: their resulting efforts to grab fish off longlines are one of the factors which brought them into contact with boats.

So it seems to me that we humans are treating the orcas appallingly badly, and then making death threats when a few of them act up.  I find that approach horrible.

Personally, i hope that if there are any moves to kill the orcas, some heavily-armed hardcore version of Sea Shepherd gets in there fast and intercepts the killers with as much force as is needed.

I don't disagree with you in theory.  I generally don't like killing beautiful animals.  And we (humans) are certainly a major cause of changes in the food supply that have impacted Orcas so its probably correct to assume that this behavior is somehow indirectly caused by our behavior.

However, I think you can probably make a similar argument about the loss of habitat and changes in food supply of almost every large potentially dangerous animal that exists on the plant and yet empathy for such animals is never so strong that adjacent towns and villages tolerate humans being killed.

The Orca situation might be a little different becasue relatively few people actually go sailing and its generally considered a bit of a luxury so the general public might not be as sympathetic, but the fisherman community might have less patience.

I will agree with you in the hope that we find an alternative solution.

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17 minutes ago, Tharsheblows said:

A related thought, what do you think the Orcas would do if they sunk a boat?  Its possible that they would leave the people alone if they were truly just "playing" with the boat.  

I have dived with many different sharks, including great whites, and many different whales but I would not fancy jumping in with these fellas to be the test subject, they are far to revved up

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6 hours ago, Tharsheblows said:

I don't disagree with you in theory.  I generally don't like killing beautiful animals.  And we (humans) are certainly a major cause of changes in the food supply that have impacted Orcas so its probably correct to assume that this behavior is somehow indirectly caused by our behavior.

However, I think you can probably make a similar argument about the loss of habitat and changes in food supply of almost every large potentially dangerous animal that exists on the plant and yet empathy for such animals is never so strong that adjacent towns and villages tolerate humans being killed.

And that lack of empathy is my objection.  Most humans show far too little empathy for other species.

Iceland and Japan commercially hunted whales from 1954 to  1997, killing over 2,000 of them,  In the 1950s, the US Navy killed hundreds of orcas in Icelandic waters with machine guns, rockets, and depth charges.

Now humans are stealing the food of these orcas, and a small group are getting frisky as a result.  Time to cut the orcas some slack, and respect that the balance of right-and-wrong is stacked heavily against us.  All we need to do is give them space and stop stealing their food.

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2 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

And that lack of empathy is my objection.  Most humans show far too little empathy for other species.

Iceland and Japan commercially hunted whales from 1954 to  1997, killing over 2,000 of them,  In the 1950s, the US Navy killed hundreds of orcas in Icelandic waters with machine guns, rockets, and depth charges.

Now humans are stealing the food of these orcas, and a small group are getting frisky as a result.  Time to cut the orcas some slack, and respect that the balance of right-and-wrong is stacked heavily against us.  All we need to do is give them space and stop stealing their food.

I wonder if those Spanish Orca would be as friendly as the ones here in Aotearoa.

 

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5 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

And that lack of empathy is my objection.  Most humans show far too little empathy for other species

Humans lack empathy for each other. Its not surprising they have none for other species (except perhaps cats and dogs).

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15 minutes ago, Jim in Halifax said:

Humans lack empathy for each other. Its not surprising they have none for other species (except perhaps cats and dogs).

Sure, but the human attitude to non-humans is even worse than their attitude to each other :( 

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4 hours ago, Priscilla said:

I wonder if those Spanish Orca would be as friendly as the ones here in Aotearoa.

I thick the swimmeres lacke of ruddere(s), kinda saived hime frome Ocarian curriositey and  odontiasis.

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Just now, Snaggletooth said:

I thick the swimmeres lacke of ruddere(s), kinda saived hime frome Ocarian curriositey and  odontiasis.

Her. Definite lack of rudder.

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9 hours ago, Jim in Halifax said:

Humans lack empathy for each other. Its not surprising they have none for other species (except perhaps cats and dogs).

Only Cluster B personality disordered people lack empathy. which allows them to rise to the top of their social hierarchies, or troll on Internet forums  

Empathy is a limited resource usually, as otherwise would be to invite nervous breakdown. Obviously people are capable of extending it, as the “save the whales” campaign showed. Does need to be extended to fish, programs like blue planet help

Sometimes empathy is a bit too limited - as a google search for photos of the “Grindadrap” will show

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On 8/26/2021 at 4:37 AM, TwoLegged said:

I think what that means unless we do some killing now, there may be killing in the future. :(

Why not just stay out of their way?

How exactly do you plan on avoiding a 30 knot whale with a 6 knot sailboat?

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Right now we have a rock squirrel problem. Ground squirrel, if you prefer. Chipmunk, for those back East. They are very cute!

13linedsqu.jpg

They turn over the soil in a place with no earthworms. They eat grasshoppers and moth grubs and help keep forbs -- including invasive species like spurge and dandelions and thistles -- under a modicum of control.

But. We also live on this land. In the overlaps, there is conflict. They want a sheltered, moisture-preserving playground with easy-to-dig soils, a nice variety of nutritious plants to eat, and cover in which to hide from wind, coyotes, foxes, badgers, and raptors.

I, for my part, would prefer not having my house's footings undermined, or wiring conduit chewed thru, or every.single.tree and shrub murdered, or to die of plague or hantavirus, or to spend time chasing the little fuckers around the spare bedroom with bucket and broom. We have at least three of them right now coming thru the cat flap, past the cat's litter box, thru a second cat flap, and stealing cat food out of the cat bowl. (We keep cats in part for their local deterrent effect outdoors and rodent clearance duties indoors. We are down to one cat who is a keen but inept mouser.)

Yes, there were critters on this barren land before we staked our house out. There were critters living where your house is, too. And probably some indigenous peoples. Make what peace with that you can, or be called out for hypocrisy.  The (admittedly unilateral) treaty terms are thus:  I grant you 31.5 acres of cross-fenced prairie (bottom wire smooth, so pronghorn can get under). You may live there undisturbed, unhunted by humans, ungrazed by cattle or sheep. But this last half acre and its buildings are mine. Do not enter the shop and shit all over my work, nor build nests in the drawers. Do not come in the house and steal cat food. These are the boundaries. In any food chain, annoying the apex predator bears (ha! bears) consequence.

I respect the critters' interests, and even protect them. Critters that fail to respect my interests may be hazed or physically removed; they may face sonic or chemical deterrence. I will try to set the cat on them. They burrows may be stopped up, or I may run at them waving sticks and shouting (pronghorn). Next step is relocation five miles away. Last step is lethal control. This is Wyoming: the last step is the first step for most people.

With orcas (and bears, and tigers), it becomes an issue between apex predators in their respective environments, and the queasy but ineluctable fact humans fancy all environments are properly our environment. The orcas are declaring their boundaries. We humans have our own: this is my boat -- you may rub against it, cavort about it, breach beside it, ignore it. Do not chew on the appendages, please. I shall try in good faith to not run you over, shall stay 400 yards from you and your young, and not directly nor by proxy annihilate your food supply. Deal? Deal.

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3 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:
On 8/26/2021 at 9:37 AM, TwoLegged said:

I think what that means unless we do some killing now, there may be killing in the future. :(

Why not just stay out of their way?

How exactly do you plan on avoiding a 30 knot whale with a 6 knot sailboat?

By taking a route around their playground instead of through their playground.  

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38 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Won't they just move to where the boats are, since they seem to like them?

We won't know unless the boats try avoiding them.  And if the boats aren't following the rhumb line for their passages, they can spread out a lot more

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27 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

We won't know unless the boats try avoiding them.  And if the boats aren't following the rhumb line for their passages, they can spread out a lot more

The range of area over which the attacks occur is actually quite large stretching from the northern shore of Portugal to well inside the Med.  If avoiding an identified area with small boats would solve the issue then that would probably be an appropriate solution, but you know that won't end these interactions as Orcas don't exactly stay in one place.

And, telling the Portugese (and the greater boating community) to just stop sailing (and fishing) off the coast of Portugal is not likely a viable solution either, especially becasue this problem is not caused by a whole species but rather its a problem caused by a couple individual animals.   And its a problem that will likely grow if ignored.

If you care for these animals, I would suggest advocating for innovative non-lethal solutions because the lethal solution is easy and effective and I imagine its on more people's minds than will admit.

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1 hour ago, Tharsheblows said:

If you care for these animals, I would suggest advocating for innovative non-lethal solutions because the lethal solution is easy and effective and I imagine its on more people's minds than will admit.

Simple no-lethal solution: fit a tracker to each of the miscreant orcas.  Publish the location in real time, and advise boats to avoid.

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On 8/27/2021 at 4:15 PM, TwoLegged said:

Simple no-lethal solution: fit a tracker to each of the miscreant orcas.  Publish the location in real time, and advise boats to avoid.

That's an decent idea.  Its non-lethal and will certainly reduce interactions.

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Some relevant experience. Off Campobello Island we were watching some finback whales. These things are HUGE, only blue whales are bigger. The adults were going close to and under the boat in a non-threatening manner, it was quite something to have a 70 foot whale 10 feet directly below me. One baby whale, maybe 20-25 feet long, was charging a guy in a rowboat and diving under at the very last second.

image.thumb.png.a8ed3554dfd4ffff3ca6b1cbc9e716d5.png

Captain Rowboat was not really concerned, I think he knew this whale was having him on and wouldn't really hit him. Lucky for him he was right!

The whales got tired of the "put on a show for the tourists" act and suddenly as a group took off up the river at about 15-20 knots and went a long way at speed. Unless you are missing these whales by a large margin, they can get to you very quickly.

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On 8/27/2021 at 4:15 PM, TwoLegged said:

Simple no-lethal solution: fit a tracker to each of the miscreant orcas.  Publish the location in real time, and advise boats to avoid.

Just glue an AIS beacon to their backs. Then pretty much anyone can track them. 

Of course all the seals will then want receivers. 

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1 minute ago, DDW said:

Just glue an AIS beacon to their backs. Then pretty much anyone can track them. 

Of course all the seals will then want receivers. 

Genius idea.   And the seals will have to pay for the receivers, so the system will run at a profit.

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Let's get a Kickstarter campaign going. We can enlist the people that sign up for the Tough Mudder type of outing to place the beacons on the whales, and charge them for the privilege - more income. If successful they get a T shirt, if not..... well, there's more where they came from. 

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Some relevant experience. Off Campobello Island we were watching some finback whales. These things are HUGE, only blue whales are bigger. The adults were going close to and under the boat in a non-threatening manner, it was quite something to have a 70 foot whale 10 feet directly below me. One baby whale, maybe 20-25 feet long, was charging a guy in a rowboat and diving under at the very last second.

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Captain Rowboat was not really concerned, I think he knew this whale was having him on and wouldn't really hit him. Lucky for him he was right!

The whales got tired of the "put on a show for the tourists" act and suddenly as a group took off up the river at about 15-20 knots and went a long way at speed. Unless you are missing these whales by a large margin, they can get to you very quickly.

I had a pod of orcas head for our Shark 24 while we were sailing. They dove at the last second and we heard their dorsal fins whacking the keel and underside of the boat. Freaked my friend out something fierce...we turned and sailed with them and they totally ignored the boat for the rest of the time we sailed along together. This was long before there were any rules about getting too close to whales, which was good. Whales of all types really liked swimming along with us. 

orca6.jpg.7b40091f3c04fbb39f6f870941f4cd21.jpg

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Maybe we can put those collars on the big cats in California too. 

This cat was killed after trying to eat a kid.  I kinda feel like one attacked kid is a curiosity, two attacked kids is a pattern.  This cat didn't get to live long enough to establish that he was definitely a problem animal, but that is the standard protocol when animals threaten humans.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/mountain-lion-killed-attacking-child-200700195.html

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10 minutes ago, Tharsheblows said:

This cat didn't get to live long enough to establish that he was definitely a problem animal, but that is the standard protocol when animals threaten humans.

Yes that's the standard protocol, but it's a kinda sick protocol.  We give humans licences to wander around killing animals just for the hell of it, but if one them touches one of us we get all self-righteous and huff that we-can't-be-putting-up-with-killing.

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It’s no joke.  These things are multiplying like crazy.  In part it may be because the deer are multiplying like weeds around farms and “country estates” and the predators follow. But sometimes, animal populations go through peaks and cycles for reasons that nobody really knows.  The bears that used to stay up in the hills are hanging out in the valleys more often - more of a nuisance so far.  But the cats are killers.  Mostly young ones looking to stake out a territory.  We recently had one walk right through the middle of town and claim a motel room where the maid had left the door open.  Two or three every year that move in to farmland and start killing stock and pets.  It’s not a Disney special.    

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My sympathies are basically with the wildlife.  Their habitat is steadily eroded and shrunk, so some of them say "sod this" and go further afield.  Seems fair enough.

But I hadn't heard of them staying in motels before.

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1 hour ago, TwoLegged said:

My sympathies are basically with the wildlife.  Their habitat is steadily eroded and shrunk, so some of them say "sod this" and go further afield.  Seems fair enough.

But I hadn't heard of them staying in motels before.

I understand that, but do you realize that as soon as you communicate that you don’t care if wildlife kills the occasional human (because of your greater love of animals or belief that humans kind of deserve it) reasonable people will completely discount your opinion and move directly toward the simple and efficient solution we discussed earlier.

If you instead suggested innovative solutions the animals might be allowed to remain alive.

Take that cat for instance, if someone had suggested tranquilizing it and moving it 1000 miles away from that neighborhood the residents might have accepted that solution, but saying you don’t care that the cat attacked a child would most definitely fall on deaf ears.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Tharsheblows said:

do you realize that as soon as you communicate that you don’t care if wildlife kills the occasional human (because of your greater love of animals or belief that humans kind of deserve it) reasonable people will completely discount your opinion

Ah, the old framing exercise.  "Reasonable people" is a classic framing device used to police the Overton Window.  Or to put it simply, it's a way of marking some views as out of bounds to avoid engaging with them.

And you misunderstand my view.  It's not I don't care about people being killed; it's that these things happen as a consequence of human encroachment, rather than because of animals being bad.  

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38 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

Ah, the old framing exercise.  "Reasonable people" is a classic framing device used to police the Overton Window.  Or to put it simply, it's a way of marking some views as out of bounds to avoid engaging with them.

And you misunderstand my view.  It's not I don't care about people being killed; it's that these things happen as a consequence of human encroachment, rather than because of animals being bad.  

I agree with you that "reasonable people" was the wrong term.  I should have said "most people" because I wasn't saying that your opinion was necessarily wrong just that it is out of line with the majority of people and likely to be unpersuasive.

And I also agree that "these things happen" but it's not obvious that its the human's fault.  The ocean is a big place and Orcas in most other places in the world seem to mostly leave humans and boats alone.  Maybe these Orcas are doing the "encroaching."  

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The the latest "trick" to stopping these attacks/playful acts/whatever is

1) put your boat in reverse. Seems like the Orcas either don't like it or can't figure out where the rudder has gone  

2) Some Portuguese fishermen tip some diesel into the water (just a little) and the Orcas don't seem to like it. 

We wait and see if these really work.

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13 hours ago, Tharsheblows said:

I understand that, but do you realize that as soon as you communicate that you don’t care if wildlife kills the occasional human (because of your greater love of animals or belief that humans kind of deserve it) reasonable people will completely discount your opinion and move directly toward the simple and efficient solution we discussed earlier.

Lots of us completely discounted everything she has to say quite some time back.

It saves time.

FKT - sitting on a ridge with a 100km view drinking a morning coffee...

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8 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Lots of us completely discounted everything she has to say quite some time back.

FKT's assumption that he speaks for "lots of us" is amusing but unsurprising.

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20 hours ago, Tharsheblows said:

And I also agree that "these things happen" but it's not obvious that its the human's fault.  The ocean is a big place and Orcas in most other places in the world seem to mostly leave humans and boats alone.  Maybe these Orcas are doing the "encroaching."  

Did you read the BBC and Guardian articles posted upthread?  These are Gibraltar orcas, a population in apparently terminal decline due to overfishing and human attacks.  

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3 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

Did you read the BBC and Guardian articles posted upthread?  These are Gibraltar orcas, a population in apparently terminal decline due to overfishing and human attacks.  

I was using the term "encroaching" as a euphemism for initiating contact with the boats rather than coexisting more peacefully with humans as Orcas seem to do in most other places around the world.  I don't doubt that human fishing has made their life more difficult but "overfishing" has happened in many places around the world where Orcas aren't attacking boats so its not obvious that that is a direct necessary cause and effect.   Its certainly possible though.

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47 minutes ago, Tharsheblows said:

I was using the term "encroaching" as a euphemism for initiating contact with the boats rather than coexisting more peacefully with humans as Orcas seem to do in most other places around the world. 

The human conduct described in https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/13/the-tale-of-the-killer-whales is so dire that peaceful coexistence had clearly ended long before any rudder got poked.  Has any other orca population endued such a combination of human misconduct?

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All the times I have been near whales, and I have been close enough to touch them with a boat pole, they came around, took a look, and then did something else or peacefully hung around. Aggression towards humans and boats is not the norm over on this side of the ocean!

Before anyone whines about some law about getting near whales, they came to us, not the other way around.

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On 8/31/2021 at 10:54 AM, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Lots of us completely discounted everything she has to say quite some time back.

It saves time.

FKT - sitting on a ridge with a 100km view drinking a morning coffee...

enjoy the java, i read of this years ago and was certain it was at a tassy whaling station..... but it aint....   https://knowledgenuts.com/2014/07/04/when-humans-and-killer-whales-hunted-together/

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On 8/31/2021 at 7:18 PM, Tharsheblows said:

Now there is a creative solution!  Although, the violence will likely subside but boat visits may increase!

You thought they came around boats too much BEFORE???? They'll be lining up if you try that :D

Whale 1 - avoid the green boat, they have calluses, the multi crew has soft hands.

Whale 2 - So how much?

Whale 3 - I gave them a tuna, YMMV.

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2 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

You thought they came around boats too much BEFORE???? They'll be lining up if you try that :D

Whale 1 - avoid the green boat, they have calluses, the multi crew has soft hands.

Whale 2 - So how much?

Whale 3 - I gave them a tuna, YMMV.

We're wandering into joke territory here. "What's black and white and comes in quarts?"

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On 8/29/2021 at 9:57 PM, Tharsheblows said:

That's an decent idea.  Its non-lethal and will certainly reduce interactions.

Not happening, a tow is 2000 Euros and a haulout is about the same :ph34r:

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