Monday, December 21, 2009

At least I didn't see it coming


I hadn't seen the grey whale everyone has been talking about so I rowed out to Rat Island this morning - and hit it! I thought you'd be interested in the details.

I was rowing around the south end of Rat Island about 100 yards past the turn inside the green buoy. At very low tide I know it's about 20 or 30 feet deep there since I can sometimes see the eel grass. Anyway my right blade hit something and immediately thereafter the whale blew briefly right under my port rigger - and then dived, brushing the bottom of my boat with its back or tail.

I'm pretty sure the whale was as surprised as I was which answers the question I have had since a grey whale breached about ten feet away along side the Salish Star we were rowing about five years ago just off Chetzemoka Park: Did the whale see us? That one was about 40 feet long and could have easily overturned the Salish Star. No, I decided today. Greys don't look where they are going.

So, after our encounter this morning the whale took off toward the Navy dock, and then circled back to swim parallel to my path and blew a couple of more times. It never did breach and I never really saw it but I would guess it was at least 25 feet long and made quite a wake just below the surface as it swam away from me.

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