A 'massive' whale destroyed a sailboat in the middle of the Pacific, leaving 4 friends stranded for 10 hours

A 'massive' whale destroyed a sailboat in the middle of the Pacific, leaving 4 friends stranded for 10 hours
  • Rick Rodriguez and his friends went on a boat journey from the Galapagos to French Polynesia.

  • About two weeks into the trip, the group found themselves stranded for 10 hours in the middle of the Pacific.

  • Their sailboat had been struck by a whale and sunk, The Washington Post reported.

One of the first things Rick Rodriguez did after his boat started to sink was text his friend. "Tommy this isn't a joke," he wrote. "We hit a whale and the ship went down."

He really wasn't joking.

Rodriguez and three of his friends were on a three week sailing journey. They had started near the Galapagos Islands and were on their way to French Polynesia. Just shy of two weeks into their journey, however, they found themselves in a lifeboat, floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, The Washington Post reported.

They drifted for 10 hours before a civilian ship finally rescued them, Sail World Cruising, an online sailing publication, reported.

Rodriguez told The Post that him and his friends were eating pizza at about 1:30 p.m. on March 13 when they heard a loud bang. Some 15 minutes later, the boat sank. The friends quickly collected essential supplies like water, food, and documents, and then scrambled into the lifeboat, according to Sail World Cruising.

Rodriguez, who fortunately still had some charge left on a portable wifi device, was able to reach out for help. "Tell as many boats as you can," he told his friend, who was also a sailor. "Battery is dangerously low."

Alana Litz, one of the friends on the sailboat, told the Post she was the first to see what she now believes was a Bryde's whale that was at least 44-feet long — the length of the boat. Bryde's are a species of great whale, similar to blue or humpback whales.

"I saw a massive whale off the port aft side with its side fin up in the air," Litz told the Post.

Rodriguez said he saw it bleeding as it went back into the water.

Fortunately for the stranded crew, there were about two dozen ships sailing in the same direction — part of a yacht race known as World ARC, according to Sail World Cruising.

"There was never really much fear that we were in danger," Rodriguez told The Post. "Everything was in control as much as it could be for a boat sinking."

It's not uncommon for boats and whales to collide, especially with the rise in the amount of cargo and cruise boat traffic. The Los Angeles Times reported that ship strikes have actually been a danger to whales in the Pacific.

"Anywhere you have major shipping routes and whales in the same place, you are going to see collisions," Russell Leaper, an expert with the International Whaling Commission told the Times. "Unfortunately, that's the situation in many places."

The Maritime Executive, a magazine covering maritime issues, reported last week that a sailboat had to be towed to safety in the Strait of Gibraltar after three orcas knocked into it. The magazine reported that orcas have been slamming into boats in the area for years.

A spokeswoman for the International Whaling Commission told the Post that since 2007, there have been 1,200 reports of boats and whales colliding. But according to the US Coast Guard it's rare for collisions to cause significant damage.

Read the original article on Insider