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Fin Whale ( Balaenoptera physalus)
Date: February 2009 during one of our whale and dolphin observation cruises onboard our motor vessel Katrin we saw the most amazing fin whales migrating their way south between Tenerife and La Gomera.
Fin whales belong to the Rorqual family and are the most frequent visitors here in winter and springtime. Fin whales can be confused with Sei or Blue whales at sea as they are part of the same family, but they have very distinctive markings on the head:white on the lower right side and black on the lower left side. Also when you observe the head from above they have a V shape on top in front of the blow hole. The body is torpedo shaped, dark grey turning light grey underneath.The small erect dorsal fin is located about two thirds along the back towards the tail. They swim just below the surface and lift their heads out of the water to breath about every 10 minutes. The blow can reach a height of 3 metres. They usually travel alone or in pairs cruising between 10-27 km per hour, accelerating up to 33 km per hour when in danger. They feed by filtering large quantities of water through bony plates in their mouths, trapping fish and plankton. Males can reach a length of 25 metres, females 27 metres, weighing up to 80 tonnes. Pregnancy lasts between 11 and 12 months, bearing one calf at a time, usually around 6.5 metres long.
photos courtesy of our crew member Carmelo
photos courtesy of Simon Dunn
Simon and Kate Dunn from Cumbria joined us on our 2 hour dolphin/whale watch on 24th February 2009. Simon returned again for a second trip onboard Katrin. Thanks Simon for the photos, hope to see you both again soon.