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Marlin Mauls Man in Maui Mishap

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Marlin spears whale expert off Maui

 

By Christie Wilson

Advertiser Neighbor Island Editor

 

LAHAINA, Maui - A well-known whale researcher was speared by a marlin yesterday while filming an attack by false killer whales about 3 miles off the West Maui coast.

 

Mark Ferrari, 52, underwent surgery at Maui Memorial Medical Center for a puncture wound that went through his right shoulder, said his wife and research partner Debbie Ferrari.

 

The couple, who live in Louisiana and visit Maui three months of the year, head the Center for Whale Studies and have been researching Maui's humpback whales since 1975.

 

Mark Ferrari entered the ocean around 9 a.m. yesterday off Puamana to videotape a pod of false killer whales attacking a 10- to 15-foot marlin, said his wife, who watched from aboard the vessel Hokulani.

 

"One (whale) would take a bite, then leave. When one of the (whales) attacked, the marlin turned" and went after Ferrari, she said. "The marlin was being attacked and it was going at whoever was there. Mark just happened to be in the wrong place."

 

Capt. Jim Peckarsky reversed the 26-foot catamaran and helped Ferrari onto the deck. "He stayed conscious, but was in incredible pain and lost a lot of blood," Debbie Ferrari said.

 

Despite his injury, Ferrari managed to videotape the entire incident.

 

False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are actually dolphins. Sightings are somewhat unusual in Hawai'i because they prefer the deep ocean.

 

The Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Explorer whale-watch cruise saw a commotion in the ocean just minutes before the Ferraris arrived in their boat. Capt. Brendan Keaney said there were 50 to 100 false killer whales in the pod, excited and breaching. "They were definitely feeding or chasing or herding something," he said.

 

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I wouldn't have credited a dolphin with the speed to catch a large marlin, and didn't know that they were inclined to take big prey. Interesting stuff. The photographer may be more fortunate then appears - if they'll take marlin, well, he's a good deal smaller, and I'd bet they take seals, too.

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wow, that really sucks for him. i have never heard of any thing like that. i suppose that is because divers rarely get to swim with marlin. i have heard some stories about mates getting speared when tagging/unhooking billfish. some apparently have died

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"50 to 100 dolphins feeding on something"

 

My guess is that the marlin wanted in on the feast and the dolphins didn't want the marlin crashing the party. Just a guess.

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Its not an uncommon thing I guess. You folks remeber hearing about the mini sub, Alvin, getting damaged by a swordfish (1967)?

http://www.oceansonline.com/alvin.htm

 

1967

 

"ALVIN returned to the Bahamas for Navy dives with subsequent transit north for biology/geology dives on the Blake Plateau and off Cape Charles. During Dive 202, on July 6, ALVIN was attacked by a swordfish on the bottom at about 2,000 feet. The fish became trapped in ALVIN's skin and was brought back to the surface (and cooked for dinner)."

 

Which would you rather have for dinner: marlin, OR swordfish?! Hmmmmmm wink.gif

 

 

 

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Ray 'md2020'

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