Whale Collision

During the entire day the water was very calm like glass to be sure, we were heading into Norfolk Va.. To remove the Admiral who had been stricken by a ( Stroke or Heart attack ? ) during the day, it was felt that it was safer to go into Norfolk rather than to remove him by aircraft, as we were close to the base no more than a hundred miles or so it was decided to take him in. We were moving at a good 30 knots when about 23:15 as I was heading toward a coffee locker forward to get a coffee before I went on watch. Suddenly we hit something that every one at the time thought possibly was a submarine. We hit with such a momentary stopping force, not to say that it stopped us by any means, but to say that it caused a hesitation in our forward motion for sure. I took about three quick steps to regain my balance as the ship went into a wallowing type movement as if suddenly we hit wallowing sea's, as we gradually came to a complete stop and then began to back up. As you looked over the bow with large flood lights you looked down into a BLOODY but calm sea and as we moved back a large whale which was almost completely cut in half surfaced, it was about 90 feet long as I recall.

We were all relieved that it was not a manned vessel, but were a bit sad for that sleeping whale that never knew what hit it. I don't recall what happened to the Admiral other then the fact that we did get into Norfolk the next morning. That whale had punctured our fresh water and diesel tanks. We had sickening tasting water until it was straightened out some time later on.

That was my recollection of the event, possibly maybe some one can add to it later on.

Notice that it says no damage, that is wrong as the whale bones punctured the fresh water tanks and
 diesel oil tank.   The water was awfull until they had it fixed some time later on.
Needless to say the milk and anything else that you could drink was all gone in short order.
Also it was not the bay, but a hundred miles out and we were steaming at close to 30 knots.
The Admiral had a hart attack that day and rather risk a shot out on the Cats, we were close enough to
run into Norfolk Va.  It was thought to be the safer of the choices, the water was almost perfectly flat
with long slow rollers, when we hit I was going up for coffee before a 24:00 watch. It was around 23:30
when we had impact.  It was a heck of a thudd that caused me to take about three quick steps to keep my ballance.
The ship at that point begin to roll back and forth like it was on a rocking chair, we thought we had hit a sub.
Some time later we backed off the whale surfaced as you see here, but you can't see the red water from the blood.
 She was sleeping just under the surface, radar at that time was really not good enough to pick her up.
I remember working in Radar in the early days of my Leyte tour, the rough water made it almost useless as
the whole screen would whiten out, watches were still the main source of visibility back then in bad weather.

My memory isn't so good anymore, if anyone would care to add or make changes to this

story as they remember it. Please drop me a note.

Thank You.

New Addition Below

Bill Higgins, recallection of the whale strike.
click on this line for Bills recall.



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