Fin Whale - Balaenoptera physalus
In the early morning hours of 30th January 2011, while surveying for beaked whales,
BMMRO scientists had a surprising sighting. They saw a massive blow which rose about 30 feet in the
air and knew that was the blow of a very large whale! As the team approached more closely a 65-foot fin
whale surfaced alongside. The animal was extremely close to shore, just south of Cross Harbour Point in South Abaco.
BMMRO's team followed the lone animal as it travelled along the canyon wall until it rounded Southwest Point on its way
back out to the Atlantic Ocean. A biopsy sample was obtained along with photo-identification images and acoustic recordings.
Fin whales are the second largest species of whale, and have asymmetrical head colouration with the left side of the head being quite dark, and the
right side of the head being fairly light. Fin whales can reach 27 metres (71 feet) in length.
Females are approximately 5-10% longer than males, and these whales can swim up to speeds of 37 km/h (23 mph).
Fin whales are listed as an endangered species and their numbers have not yet recovered from whaling. The only other record of fin whales in the Bahamas was from a stranding
on March 4th 2000 in Lower Bogue, Eleuthera.
Should you happen to be out on the water and see a fin or any other whale or dolphin species, please try to
take pictures and fill in our online sighting form. By contributing such data, you will be helping our understanding of
the distribution and occurrence of marine mammals in the Bahamas.