Whales You Might See During Your Antarctica Cruise

By ExpeditionsOnline / 10 August 2017

Whales You Might See During Your Antarctica Cruise

Whale watching is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Antarctica is one of the best spots for whale watching because you can see these majestic mammals in one of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas of the world. It is a very special experience. 


Humpback whales are well known for the way they breach the water or how they use their tail to hit the water. They are an incredible sight, measuring anywhere between 40-60 feet and weighing up to 35-40 tonnes. They are also known for their majestic whale song, which carries for miles. It is possible to see humpback whales in Antarctica, as this is a known feeding ground for them. 


The magnificent sight of a humpback whale breaching the ocean surface


Minke Whales are quite sociable and inquisitive, which makes them a great breed to watch, as they are likely to come close to the boat to investigate. They measure around 30 foot in length, and there are healthy numbers of them around the world now. They are common in Antarctica, so there is a good chance of seeing one when you travel on an Antarctic cruise.


There are thought to be around 515,000 minke whales in the Antarctic


Orca, or killer whales can also be spotted in Antarctica. They are easily identifiable with their black and white colourings, and they are usually around 30 foot long. They earn their name for being big hunters, working in packs to kill and eat seals, penguins and sea lions. Killer whales live together in pods of up to 40 other orcas. Ironically, they can be quite friendly, connecting with other species of mammals that are smaller than them, who they know to frequent the same waters. Yet, a mammal of the same species that they are unfamiliar with can become prey. 


The iconic markings of the Orca (Source: Wikipedia)


Sei whales are one of the fastest breeds of whales. They can travel at a rate of 50km per hour if they wish to, over short distances. It is possible to see them in the Antarctic, but they are a more rare sight here, as they are known to prefer warmer waters. 


A mother Sei whale and her calf swim side by side (Source: Wikipedia)

Sperm Whale

Male sperm whales can be found in Antarctic waters. They are known for spending a great deal of time far under water searching the depths for food, and for the loud call they have, which is a bit like a clicking sound. Female sperm whales are more rare in the Antarctic as they prefer warmer waters further north. 


The tail of a sperm whale as it dives down into the ocean

Southern Right 

Southern right whales can be found in Antarctic waters. They are known for being slower swimmers and earned their name during times when whales were hunted. They were seen as the ‘right’ whale to hunt since they were slower than others, had more blubber and floated to the surface after they had been killed. It is incredibly sad that this species went through all that. 


Southern Right whales were once popular amongst hunters - they were classed as the 'Right' whales to hunt


The largest mammal ever to grace planet earth was once almost hunted to extinction. Thankfully the numbers are recovering, but they are still quite elusive. However, it is possible to see one in Antarctica, if you are lucky. That would be wonderful!


Blue whales can grow to almost 30metres (98ft) in length! (Source: Wikipedia)

See whales in wild and beautiful Antarctica. 

These are the species of whales you might see during an Antarctic cruise. They can be spotted right throughout the season from December to April; however, the peak time where you have the best chance of seeing some is February to March. 

Visit us at expeditionsonline.com to find out about traveling to the Antarctic on our Antarctic cruises, and seeing this wonderful wilderness and its wildlife for yourself. 

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