I am not a whale, nor am I a whale psychiatrist, but of one thing I am certain, pilot whales like to bodysurf.  How do I know this?  It's easy. While I was sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, I watched them bodysurf in twelve foot seas.  I am sure these mammoth mammals could have made it through their day just fine without bodysurfing.  But when given the opportunity, they position themselves on the crests of the big waves, and they go for an exhilarating ride.  Dolphins do the same thing.



In December 2005 we sailed 2100 miles from the Cape Verde Islands off the African coast to Barbados in the Caribbean taking sixteen days to make the trip.  On such a long passage a lot of water passes under our keel, and we had an opportunity to get up close and personal with whales and dolphins.


We were halfway across the Atlantic when we had the privilege of sailing in company with a large pod of pilot whales.  Just before noon, Donna was on watch when she saw a large dark shadow resembling a small submarine moving through the water next to Exit Only.  She wasn't sure what caused the shadow, and she called us on deck to take a look.  She had never previously seen pilot whales and wasn't familiar with their characteristic appearance - the blunt rounded forehead and swept back dorsal fin.

These pilot whales appeared to be about half as long as our boat as they bodysurfed and swam alongside at warp speed.  All four of us remained transfixed on deck as we watched the pilot whale parade that lasted for half an hour.  We estimate that this pod contained at least forty whales.


The pilot whales were expert bodysurfers.  They rocketed down the faces of breaking seas - their torpedo like bodies effortlessly rode the waves.  Two energetic whales performed spectacular jumps sending their entire bodies airborne, and then they hit the water making a whale of a splash.


A few whales swam toward Exit Only at an oblique angle to the hull diving under our yacht.  They could have easily given our catamaran a nudge or thump with their massive tails, but they didn't exhibit any aggressive behavior toward our yacht.  They weren't interested in combat.  They just wanted to frolic in the waves and put on a bodysurfing and aerobatic show we will never forget.


Good on you pilot whales.  You made our transatlantic voyage into a real adventure.



Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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