Our sightings this morning started off early. Miles before the bank we came across an enormous fin whale!
|Fin whale blow — close approach!|
This animal appeared to be foraging along the edge of a small seamount west of the bank. Interestingly, we observed huge schools of mackerel (see photo), but it wasn’t clear whether or not this fin whale was feeding on these schooling fish.
We were approached by a second fin whale that made it very clear by the scat it left at the surface that it was certainly feeding, but we observed no active surface feeding behavior despite the large schools of mackerel in the area. On what was supposed to be our last looks of our fin whales, one of these animals surfaced right next to the boat, surprising everyone on board with a powerful exhalation! Lorna, Kelsey and I squealed with excitement like little girls at such a close approach by this gorgeous animal! As Lorna then pointed out, you know you’re seeing something really special when your naturalists are freaking out (which we were)!
|Fin whale left head|
|Fin whale right head|
We spent our afternoon trip with this same fin whale as it appeared to be searching the area, traveling back and forth just south of the underwater hill where it foraged on our morning trip. Thanks to Captain Earl, we were able to have great views of this behemoth despite its unpredictable surfacings.
We noticed two other fin whales enter the area as the bird activity began heating up this afternoon. Since birds often feed on the same food as whales, we hope this is a sign of more whales to come in the days ahead!