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June 19, 2008

Minke whales

BY: Silvia García




ur second day filming the Bermeo seamount was very special. Three Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) have accompanied our boat for more than 1 hour, getting as close as 2-3 meters from us. They were feeding, two large and one small whale, which is the one that came close to us various times. The adults were less curious. This seamount is a hot spot for marine life in the area. We’ve spotted schools of fish, dolphins, marine birds, and even the Minke whales, feeding.

The Minke whale is the most common of the rorquals and the smallest. The adults can reach up to 7 to 10 meters in length. Proof exists that these whales have been sighted in the past in the waters of Galicia. Distribution is practically worldwide and these whales can be found in tropical, temperate, and polar waters in both hemispheres. We saw its pointed snout because it lifts its head out of the water, and then its back, when it surfaces to breathe. We also saw the white bands on the pectoral fins that are perfectly visible even when the whale is underwater. In the photographs, we can also see how the transition from the white of the whale’s belly to the darker hues of its back form characteristic “shapes” on the whale’s flanks, different for each individual.