Whale Tail slapping

September 12th, 2008 by Shane Robertson

Another good day…We left Dolgoi Island at 8:00 am, the last boat to leave the anchorage. We had a squall come through at 1:30 – 2:30am. I woke up to hard rain and staggered back to the cockpit to take a look. It was an interesting site with the bright floods of the fishing boats lit up and the rain pouring down. Walt woke up around 2:30am as the swells came in and rocked us a bit and Ed slept through everything… again.

The seas were were very pleasant and we saw two whales early on and they treated us to nice tale shots, but we missed the photos. We snuck through Unga Strait at slack tide which kept our average knots up. We saw another unusual Humpback whale behavior. We spotted a large tail slapping the water over and over. We believe there were two whales, one larger than the other. The larger whale kept slapping his tale on the water, sometimes lifting the back third of his body clear before slamming it down.

In total we saw six whales today, a nice treat but we weren’t done. Making one fairly open passage I spotted something breaching the water while we were in some fairly heavy seas. It was startling but we got quite excited as Walt recognized the Dahl Porpoise. At least one made a few passes at our bow and came at us from the starboard side briefly breaching in the trough of a wave. We slowed but they did not continue their fun, but it was a great new experience.

We saw many fishing boats today, many our size which brings a good level of comfort as they know the waters better than us. The fog lifted at times and we saw the ruggedness of the land here. It is hard to describe as the jagged rocks rise at least 400 feet (the fog ceiling limit) with shards at the points. The hills are covered with a green blanket streaked by white falls in the gullies, it is a beautiful and treacherous place. We safely anchored between, Jacob Island and Paul Island in Kupreanof Harbor.



3 Responses to “Whale Tail slapping”

  1. Chuck Single Says:

    9/13/08 – Shane:
    I enjoyed your “reflections” of a couple days ago. I know Walt is forever in your debt for all you have done to keep the voyage going. I hope to meet you someday. Your contributions to the voyage are probably matched by your enjoyment of the good times. I’m sure you are more familar with the “engine compartment” than you ever hoped to be !!

    You have a new family now (three months on a boat probably gurantees that), as you MUST know everyone quite well.

    All the best on your way to Sitka.

    Chuck Single

  2. Hugh Reynolds Says:

    9-13-08 3PM Ahoy Ed,

    It sounds like you’re getting a real education in boating, on the fly boat repair 101, cooking on board and open ocean cruising. You will have to give us all a lecture on your adventures. I hope you’re taking lots of pictures. Looking forward to hearing all about this trip. We are getting ready for Shepherding and we will miss you. Eva is coming I think although Mimi says she may have a cold. I went out fishing this week with Tony and we caught 2 halibut and 3 – 7 Gill sharks. I’ll bet you have some fish stories as well. Take care and we will see you soon.

    Hugh and Mimi

  3. Trish Foley Says:

    Dearest Shane and crew of the “famous” Geraldine, We love reading the blogs and keeping up with your daily journeys… Have spoken to Pat and your mom since Pat’s return…he is so very much in love all over again as I’m sure Shane will be in a few days….No further comment…… We pray for all of you each and every day.. may the roads ahead be smooth and the weather calm..As so many people have commented, you all feel like family to us.. so….if you ever wander into the central part of the country..yeah right!!! You know you are always welcome in our home since you have taken Pat and Shane “in” as part of your family We certainly welcome Walt, Kip, Ed and any other members of the crew!! Lots of love and a safe journey to Sitka!!! Until then, Trish and Bill Foley

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