Whale encounter scary

  • Aug. 13, 2003 8:00 a.m.

A fishing charter ended early last Tuesday (August 5) after a close encounter with a humpback whale.
Hubert Nalleweg, 52, of Sandspit was guiding three clients aboard the 24-foot ‘Salmonator’, in Gudal Bay on the west coast, when one told him there was a ‘dark thing’ coming towards the end of the boat.
“I was just about to tell him it was an optical illusion,” Mr. Nalleweg told the Observer, “then this hump comes out the water five feet away from me, and starts to dive then and there.”
As it was diving, the whale hit the motor leg hump first, and hit it hard. The leg was completely ripped off, and the back of the boat driven three feet in the air.
“It was only the last part (of the whale) that hit the very bottom of the skeg. It peeled the props back. Major damage done”, Mr. Nalleweg said, estimating the damage at between $4,000 and $5,000. He also broke his tooth. “They’re calling me ‘Captain Ahab’ right now,” he said.
“It looked like when the tail came out of the water, the tail was wider than the back of the boat. I leapt up and yelled ‘you bastard’. The other guys were in shock.” “It was scary is what it was, at first,” Mr. Nalleweg said.
He thinks the whale was just having a look at the boat, and did not intend to attack. “After I got to thinking, for a 100,000 pound animal, it was just a love kiss,” he said. “I kind of want to see the whale again and kind of apologize for having something sharp on my boat. It roared off, I think it must be hurting,” he said, adding the whale probably has a 5-foot long, 1-foot deep gash in it’s back.
It all added up to a long day for Mr. Nalleweg who limped back through the narrows on a small outboard, not getting home until around midnight.
Gudal Bay, a popular spot for sports fishing, is just north east of Marble Island.