If there was one thing that I didn’t expect to see in great numbers on our voyage around the Svalbard Archipelago were Whales. However, we saw 4 species, 4 Humpback Whales, 1 Minke Whale, 11 Fin Whales (the second largest creature ever) and an outstanding 5 Blue Whales (THE largest creature ever)!!! This post explains the story of how we managed to see the Blue Whales:
Blue Whale 1, 24th July
We were having a party at the bar that night to celebrate Super Bear and the Fin Whales that were seen during dinnertime. Just as the party was dying down because it was nearly midnight, all of the staff and guides suddenly vanished, we thought they had turned into pumpkins! But just on the STROKE of midnight there was an announcement on the speaker, stating a Blue Whale had been spotted! We weren’t as confident as we should have been though, because during dinner there was an announcement beholding the presence of a Blue Whale, which just turned out to be another Fin Whale. When we got up to the bridge it was a real Blue Whale, and no one could hold in their amazement (and their warmth, we were still in our party clothes!). This sighting was the most southerly one of the whole trip, which turned out to be amazing because we were already out of the Blue Whale’s known distribution!
Blue Whale 2, 26th July
In contrast to the very late night sighting of the last Blue Whale, our next Whale’s announcement was our wakeup call! The Blue Whale was spotted just before 7:30, though loads of people turned up to see it. This sighting was even further north than our last one, just above 80 degrees, which made it more special. The reason we spot these whales when they spend most of their time underwater is because you can easily hear them breathing! You can differentiate a Blue Whale from all the other whales by its mottling on its side, the tiny dorsal fin and its HUGE size!
Blue Whale 3, 4 and 5, 26th July (again!)
Further north still, these Blue Whales were spotted as we were zodiac cruising the SEA ICE, way above 80 degrees and the furthest north we reached on the whole voyage! Our last Blue Whale sighting was also the only one to be seen from the zodiacs, as the first one was spotted by Will the geologist as we were loading them. Once the boats were loaded (with people), we headed off in the direction the Whale was last seen. Soon enough we counted three Blue Whales, and were able to say that we had been in a boat on a Blue Whale’s footprint, seen a Blue Whale above 80 degrees north and been in the water with three in 30 minutes!