A Whale of a Tail/Tale!

A Whale of a Tail/Tale!

A Whale of a Tail/Tale!

Hey Kat!

This story is for you!

Yesterday we were ready to leave Northern Alaska to head across the Gulf of Alaska to Sitka. Sharry had just mentioned that we hadn’t seen very many whales over the past couple of weeks and just then I heard a scratching sound against the side of Starr’s hull. It sounded like rough sandpaper rubbing and the boat moved slightly to the port as though it was being pushed or nudged. Then I heard a blowing sound and smelled what seemed to be dead fish. I stuck my head out the starboard wheelhouse door and looking up at me was this enormous eye as big as the wheelhouse window. I was amazed to see whale nudging against the hull. The whale’s left fin was rubbing up and down Starr’s side as though the whale was petting Starr. As I was yelling for Sharry to come out and see this, the whale pushed away from the hull and rolled onto its side so I could see it’s whole side. At first, I thought, this can’t be real. I swear the whale’s mouth was upturned and had a worried look on her face. She started motioning to me with her enormous fin as though she wanted me to come closer. She rolled back onto her stomach and was somehow able to reach her left fin up over her side and clearly signaled me to get onto her back. Fortunately, I had on my deck shoes with good traction, so I first put on my life jacket, as all good sailors do, and got on…. all the while thinking this is crazy! Sharry threw me a handheld VHF and told me to turn it onto channel 9 and off we went. The whale swam with what I would describe was a certain sense of determination and headed around the point of land off to the right. On rounding the point, the whale swam in between a couple of large rocks into a small inlet. Up high and dry on the beach there was a baby whale with its tail and left fin tangled up in a discarded fish net. It was obvious that the baby had been up there for quite a while because it’s skin was all dried out. I knew that there had been some very high tides a few days earlier and that there was no way another tide would be high enough to get the baby into the water for another two weeks. What can we do I asked myself?

I called Sharry on the VHF and asked her to bring Starr around the point and back the stern in as close as possible. When I saw Starr rounding the point I swear I could sense the mommy getting excited over Starr coming to save her baby! Sharry threw me the 600 foot ¾ inch tow line we keep on the top aft deck along with 4 of our rubber survival suits. After I cut away the old fish netting I used the rubber survival suits to pad all around the baby’s tail to keep the line from cutting into its dry and tender skin. With the line securely tied we gently pulled the little baby back into the water. I released the line and the mommy went up to her baby and started feeding her.

After we got all of our gear back on Starr we headed out and were given a grand show by seeing the Momma and her baby jumping clear out of the water right next to us as a wonderful farewell. Bye, bye Baby Whale!

Papa Don

  • Sherry Nebel
    Posted at 12:21h, 27 June Reply

    This story took my breath away. Amazing!!!
    —Reply posted by peter kartak on 6/27/2018
    Such a pity the digi-camera was out of film! 😀

  • d2a@capstanpartners.com
    Posted at 18:44h, 27 June Reply

    SUBJECT: Re: A Whale of a Tail/Tale!

    You are all great heros!  Congratulations!

    From: Starr”s Blog
    Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 9:03 AM
    To: Douglas Adkins
    Subject: A Whale of a Tail/Tale!

  • Steven D'Antonio
    Posted at 19:59h, 27 June Reply



    If it were anyone but you I wouldn’t believe it. Well done!  The mother whale must have heard about Starr’s machine shop, she knew her baby would be in good hands.

    By the way, underwater point and shoot cameras were designed specifically to be used while riding on whale’s backs, just saying, for next time;-)

    I think we may need to start calling you Jonah.

  • donnajlee@aol.com
    Posted at 14:40h, 28 June Reply

    SUBJECT: RE: A Whale of a Tail/Tale!

    That’s amazing!


    From: Starr”s Blog
    Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 6:04 AM
    To: donnajlee@[…]
    Subject: A Whale of a Tail/Tale!

  • tabbrewer@gmail.com
    Posted at 15:33h, 28 June Reply

    SUBJECT: Re: A Whale of a Tail/Tale!


    This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard. Especially
    after reading the gripping account of the loss of Kelaerin! Thank you for
    reminding us about the great side of boating and the amazing and beautiful
    world around us! May I share this beautiful story?

    Kind regards,
    Tab Brewer

    On Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 9:04 AM, Starr”s Blog wrote:

    —Reply posted by Don Stabbert on 7/7/2018
    Hi Tab

    Please feel free to use as you wish!


  • tags
    Posted at 01:40h, 29 June Reply

    This indeed is a Whale of a Tale.. the boredom of a long passage gets the creative juices going!

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