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Fin Whales are Flying!

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Whale Watching | Mammals

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


That's more rare than pigs flying!

I thought for sure I’d seen something spectacular when I saw a fin whale fluke this last year, but on December 17, 2009, they decided to show me something even more amazing… a breaching show!

Sometimes on the boat when we’re looking at whales, people will ask me if we’re going to see whales jump out of the water. That’s called breaching. Typically the larger whales, such as the blue whale and fin whale, don’t breach because they are too big. The blue whale averages around 320,000 lbs, and the fin whale averages around 270,000 lbs. You might see a juvenile breach, but it’s not all that common. Gray whales and humpback whales tend to do a lot of breaching, but they’re only 80,000lbs compared to the other two. So when we saw a large fin whale breach, I couldn’t believe my eyes!

The first whales we looked at during the trip were also fin whales. There were about four hanging out together in an area not too far off the coast. I had notified everyone that when the whales came back up from their deep dive that it would be the last look we would get before we had to head back to the docks. As we were waiting for the whales to come back up, I heard commotion coming from the captain. He was in the wheelhouse shouting and when I looked at where he was pointing, about 2 miles away there was a huge splash! We told everyone to sit down and went full speed ahead. I was asking myself “What whale is that? Is that a humpback? Gray whale? It can’t be a fin!” By the time we could actually see the whale, I was in shock because it was a fin whale!

Ironically, not too long before we saw the breaching whale, I was talking to a co-worker of mine that was on board and he was asking if fin whales breach. I had told him about how they are too big, so basically no. You can’t ever say never when it comes to science, but to see a fin whale breach would be something extremely rare! Wow, I’ll know to never say that again! They sure proved me wrong that day!

I’ve probably said this a million times, but “Never put your cameras down when we’re looking at fin whales. They are always surprising me and seem to do something I never thought they would!” Once again, they’ve shown me what an amazing animal they are and how we really don’t know much about them at all. They never cease to amaze me!

If you’d like to join us as we search for whales, and hopefully see more breaching whales, the weather has been great, and the whales that we’ve seen have been spectacular!

Fin Whales are Flying!
A fin whale breaches from afar.  | Kera Mathes
Fin Whales are Flying!
What the fin whale looked liked when we first saw it breach a couple of miles away.  | Kera Mathes

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