Friday, October 10, 2008

Whale Attack!

Whales are dangerous creatures and do attack ships at sea.
A Newfoundland skipper and his crew have a whale of a tale to tell after they had a run-in with a creature a few hours north of St. John's this week.

Kris Drodge and three friends were aboard his 8.5-metre sailboat Turanga when the boat collided with something big and stopped dead in the water.

"We saw this huge dorsal fin come out of the water and head straight for the boat," Drodge said. The fin got momentarily caught in the forward sail, or jib, of the sailboat.

"(The boat) was just like a toy to him," Drodge said, adding he ordered his passengers into life-jackets. When the whale left, Drodge could find no damage so they continued on - "but we were looking over our backs the whole time after that," he said.

Drodge and his companions are convinced the animal that struck their boat on Sunday was a killer whale, or orca.

"We were all pretty shaken up by it," he said. "I don't know if I'd want to go through it again. I think we were all thinking '"Are we going to survive this?' "

Whale expert Wayne Ledwell said he's never heard of an orca attacking a boat in Newfoundland waters. He thinks it might have been a humpback or perhaps a great white shark.

"Sometimes the whales are sleeping and when they sleep they're just bobbing in the water," he said. "A boat runs up on them and the whale thinks something is going on and tries to get out of the way."

Ledwell said there are a few reports every year of small boats encountering aggressive whales.

"This is pretty strange," he said. "But accidents do happen and you have to pay attention when you are around whales."


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