Whale Watching In Antarctica
Enjoy whale watching in Antarctica on a WILDFOOT expedition. One of the highlights of an Antarctic holiday is the opportunity for whale watching on a grand scale.
One of the highlights of an Antarctic holiday is the opportunity for whale watching on a grand scale.There are eight species of whale found in Antarctic waters, the Blue, Fin, Humpback, Minke, Orca, Sei, Southern Right and Sperm. Of these, the most impressive is the Blue Whale, weighing in at over 130 tons, the largest mammal ever to live on the planet and now gradually recovering in numbers after being nearly hunted to extinction. It is nevertheless still rare and the chances of seeing one when watching for whales are extremely unlikely.
WILDFOOT Antarctic Expedition Specialists
All Antarctic whale species migrate long distances, feeding in the cold, nutrient-rich Southern Oceans during the southern summer then heading to warmer northern waters to breed and give birth to their young during the winter months. Apart from the Orca or Killer Whale, these are all baleen species which feed on the rich krill (small prawn like animals) concentrations present in the summer. In contrast, the Orca is a toothed whale and ruthless hunter, feeding on fish, seals and even other juvenile or small whales. These whales often travel in packs or pods and are known to chase and herd their prey which is then consumed by pack members.
Whale watching opportunities on an Antarctic holiday
Some whale species, such as the Blue, travel alone whilst others also swim in large social groups or pods, for instance it is not uncommon to come across a pod of upwards of twenty-five humpbacks during the krill season. Whale watching opportunities are therefore plenty on an Antarctic holiday, especially chances to see Humpback Whales and Orcas, both of which travel in pods. The first sighting is likely to be a whale blowing and then perhaps the fluke or tail of a Humpback as it dives. Nothing compares, however, to the display of a whale breaching, hurling two thirds of its body out of the water in a cloud of spray and then falling back into the sea – whale watching at its best!
But it is not just whales that will be seen on your Antarctic adventure; the seas there are rich in other cetaceans. There are porpoises and three species of dolphin, the Hourglass, Peale’s and Commerson’s. Most visitors are unaware of the distinction before travelling to Antarctica but soon become enthusiastic about dolphins too when whale watching in Antarctica.
Whale watching, of course is not the only wildlife activity in Antarctica. Apart from other mammals such as the six species of seal, there are the numerous bird species. See our section on Antarctic animals.
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