Humpback Whale

Just when you thought sharks were the only animals to avoid while in the ocean, it seems some angry whales are in attack mode.

Whale Attack in Queensland

A giant Humpback Whale attacked a 30-foot fishing boat below the water line last week in Queensland, Australia. The pressure from the whale threw the charter boat, “The Mistress,” into the air.

“Within a split second, we all hit the floor, the boat launched up into the air and dislodged everyone off their feet,” Captain Oliver Gales told the local newspaper, the Telegraph. One passenger was knocked unconscious and three others were injured.

Afterward, the whale just swam by.

“We see whales all the time, but it’s never known for this sort of thing to happen,” Gales said.

Whale Attack in Alaska

Orca Killer Whale

A few weeks ago in Sitka, Alaska, an Orca Whale attacked a 33 foot boat on a weekend excursion. While the boat was anchored near Little Biorka Island, the Orca rammed the boat, yanked its anchor line and whacked the boat with its tail. Boat owner Victor Littlefield screamed at the whale, hoping to scare it off.

It didn’t help that the night before Littlefield had seen the movie “Jaws.”

The First Whale Attack

Angry whales attacking ships was unheard of before 1820. We humans thought we had the upper hand. It seemed it was perfectly acceptable for humans to attack whales, but unimagineable for whales to attack us.

Whale attacks the Whale Ship Essex in 1820, depicted in a drawing at the time.

That idea changed a little after 8 o’clock in the morning of November 20, 1820, in the Pacific Ocean at the equator, almost 1500 miles from land. The 89 foot whale ship,  Essex, was attacked by an 85 foot sperm whale.

The angry whale bashed in one side of the wooden ship below the water line, swam under the ship and bashed in the other side. The ship rapidly took on water and eventually sank, leaving the crew huddled in a few small boats. Most of that crew perished at sea, trying to reach land, as water and food supplies dwindled.



Cover of Listen To Read audiobook “Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale Ship Essex,” available as a digital download or an Mp3 CD.

We know the story of the Essex because one of the survivors, Owen Chase, First Mate, wrote down the story and had his book printed privately the next year.

You can hear Chase’s first person description of the incredible attack and fight for survival on our audiobook, “Narrative of the Most Extraordinary And Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale Ship Essex.”

The “Moby Dick” Connection

Twenty years later, in 1841, Owen Chase’s son served on a whale ship, which crossed paths with another whale ship in the Pacific Ocean, almost exactly where the Essex met her doom.

On board the other whale ship was a sailor and future novelist, Herman Melville. As the two crews socialized, Chase’s son let Melville read his father’s account of the doomed Essex, which gave Melville the idea for what would become his famous novel, “Moby Dick,” the story of an angry whale.


Andre Stojka

Listen To Read


PS: You can easily download the audiobook of  “Narrative of the Most Extraordinary
And Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale Ship Essex” here:

PPS: You can see pictures and hear a free preview of our Listen2Read audiobook here: