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Topics about marine biology, ocean science, oceanography, etc.

Did I see a shark or a whale fin

Did I see a shark or a whale fin

Postby delson310 » 10/27/12

So here is the story:

A few Christmases ago, my girlfriend and i took a trip to Maui. one of the days while there, we rented a kayak to go snorkeling. while out and about we noticed a humpback whale way out in the distance. we said to each other that it didn't look "that" far, so we started paddling. about an hour later we come up on the humpback whale. he was a bit shy, we would paddle close to him and once we would get closer than he liked, he would dive down and disappear for about 10 minutes. Then come back up to say hi.

well at one point he disappeared for a while. then a fin popped up about 50-75 feet from us. it was facing parallel with our kayak, we both got a bit scared thinking it could be a shark. but in the back of our minds we had Hoped it was the whale, maybe on its side.

well here is the scary, odd part. this fin turned slowly and faced us head on. it then made small cuts left and right toward us. the fin then dove straight down and disappeared. we freaked out and thought we were dead. a good few minutes later the whale reemerged. we slightly calmed down and quickly started our hour or so journey back to shore.

so my question is, was this a shark or the whale? me wanting to sound like a bad ass thinks it was a shark and the whale scared it off. the strange things are; as far as i know whales don't move that fast, if it was a whale on it's side it had to be making some strange maneuvers to make the fin do what it did, and also if it was a whale in its side, when the fin disappeared straight down, wouldn't the tail of the whale have shown up.

amongst our horror, for some crazy reason i snapped a picture, which I hopefully added onto this.

any one have any sort of expert opinion?

thanks,

David
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Re: Did I see a shark or a whale fin

Postby kpdelaune » 11/29/12

That looks awfully big to be the dorsal fin of a shark. By looking at the picture it's hard to tell though, especially from that distance. I would personally say it was a fin of a whale, but I don't see a whale making the movements you describe.
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Re: Did I see a shark or a whale fin

Postby Guardianofseas » 9/2/13

hm... tough call on that. it looks awfully triangular to be any whale Ive ever heard of. then again the last fellow said looks awfully big for a shark. Megalodon? xD haha joking of course. but honestly most sharks aren't really going to bother you in a kayak anyways...
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