Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Jim Wallace, Feb 12, 2013.
I think your right, Even I have noticed theres way more surfers at westport than ever before
Any possibility that it was a transient killer whale and not a great white shark? While there have been a few sightings off Washington, our water, especially in the winter, is a bit on the cool side for a great white. Here are the tracks of a number of great white that were tagged off Monterrey and tracked for several months (see http://qwstnevrythg.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/GR2009110303427.gif). Transient killer whales do the same ballistic missile attack on marine mammals, including seals, seal lions, porpoises, and dolphins. They can be very stealthy in contrast to the "salmon eating" transients. But regardless of identity, your friends had a close encounter with the top (or #2) ocean predator. Pretty disconcerting to think that one may be on the same menu....
Steve, my friend Tay said that he saw a dark form. When I asked him how dark, he said nearly black. Nobody saw a fin before or after. Just the ballistic attack and the sea lion cartwheeling up into the air. I guess after that, the Oregon surfer was just trying to get to the beach quickly. Tay was struggling on his broken half of a longboard, with the same intent. Kevin was clueless about the shark until the surfers came in and told him about what had happened.
Thanks for the link to the tracking data. I have also read that some shark researchers believe that the Great Whites that inhabit our northern waters here are of a different tribe than the ones swimming off Monterrey. (But I don't think that they really know enough about 'em to make that kind of statement).
But yes, it is possible that it may have been a transient killer whale. Neither surfer said that they positively Identified it as a Great White, but my take is that's what they thought it looked like. The ocean is a totally wild place. It was less than a month ago that I saw what I believe was a Pilot Whale just outside the surf about 4 miles to the south of Westhaven. I have a pic of the large Great White that got tangled in a commercial fisher's net here inside the Harbor entrance back in 1969. It was pretty big, at just under 17' long.
I read that K-pod has been zooming up and down the coast recently, but they are a "resident" fish-eating pod.
As far as water temp, the buoy data indicate that the sea surface temp has risen from around 45 or 46 F (about 8 Celsius) 6 weeks ago to about 47 - 48 F (about 9 Celsius) recently. I have read that 10 Celsius, or 50 F is on the lower end of the range of the comfort zone for many cetaceans. Is it the same for Great White sharks, too? The current temps aren't that far below that comfort zone.
Narwhal. No way! Those things are almost as rare as unicorns around here. But it seems that some of these creatures have a wanderlust that takes them to places where they aren't normally seen, and where its aqua incognito to them, as well.
Jim, I saw the Narwhal exactly where we fished together a few years ago- on the cut. I was astonished. No one believed me. No doubts about identification.
I spent my misbegotten youth in the water at Bolinas, CA for as long as possible on a 10' Sonny Vardeman board, and never saw a white there. Drake's, hell yes, but Bolinas/Stinson? no. Along comes the "marine mammal protection act" making it illegal for the salmon fishers to shoot sea lions, and voila, white sharks everywhere. Numerous sightings, and attacks are not infrequent there now. Good Lord, the stories I could tell about diving in the Farrallones off the coast there!
With global warming, has the water temp in our waters risen? If so, it could be just the beginning. Maybe we'll be fishing for bones at the Narrows along with GWS in the not too distant future....
I know a fellow who's surfed off the coast of OR and WA for the past 20 years. I remember him telling me of seeing great whites off of the WA coast 10 years ago. He was much more concerned about the numbers of them off of central and southern OR than WA waters, but they were still present here.
Bob, aka "Buddy the Elf",
You look good in the suit, just saying....
Wow, this is one cool thread. This seems like something that NOAA or the local universities would want to hear about. My first thought was that if it's a GWS, it must be following some warmer currents. Definitely something worth following!
I believe you, Bob.
I have discovered that the "range" of habitat for species described or depicted on maps in guide books like the Audubon field guides are to be taken with a grain of salt. None of the species described has probably ever read the field guide.
The really old one I have states that Narwhals are "...uncommon in the W Arctic, more abundant in central Arctic . Tends to be found in pockets within its range rather than widely spread over region."
For reports of GWS sightings and encounters, check out the following site:
Here's a shot of the jetty, looking West from near the base. Surfing' on the S side, fishin' on either side, but I prefer the N side. The sighting incident was outside where the surf is breaking and approximately in the area on the left edge of the photo. The surf was much bigger last Sunday than it is in this photo.
I need more yak-fishing buddies...to spread the risk! here's why the risk is worth it: Two in the photo in the back of the yak are 22.3" and 28" long. These were caught sometime around late May or early June of last year. The mouthy critter on the bottom went 32.5"
makes surfing interesting I bet