The Blue Whale is the largest known animal to have ever roamed on the planet and that includes all of the world’s dinosaurs! They are a rare visitor to our area, but as we always say, you just never know what you’re going to see out on the ocean. In my 18 years of whale watching I have been fortunate enough to see two of them. The first was in 2007 and the second was in 2009. Both of these sightings occurred off of the coast of NH in area known as Jeffrey’s Ledge. These Blue Whales were likely drawn here by an abundance of krill, their preferred food.
These whales are beautiful. They get their common name for their skin coloration which is a blue/grey mottled color. Researchers can use the mottled spot patterns as a way to individually identify each whale similar to how we use fluke patterns to individually identify Humpback Whales. Blue Whales also have a very small dorsal fin in comparison to its body size.
When I saw the Blue Whales that I mentioned above, I was on a 65’ whale watching boat named the Granite State out of Rye, NH. These whales can grow to be 100’ and in some cases even larger so seeing a whale who was clearly much larger than the boat I was on was very impressive. I’ll never forget the feeling of awe that I was overcome with when I watched these whales arch their backs to go on a dive. It seemed like their bodies were just endless.
It’s interesting to note that Blue Whales and Fin Whales are pretty close in size. These are the largest and second largest animals known to have ever roamed the planet. There are visual differences which can easily distinguish one species from the other. As a few examples, Fin Whales aren’t mottled like Blue Whales. Fin Whales are asymmetrically colored while Blue Whales are not. Their dorsal fins are also shaped completely differently. With that said, there are several documented cases of whales believed to be Blue Whale – Fin Whale hybrids. Where would these two species meet up to mate? How would they find each other? Why would they mate considering they’re different species? There’s just so much we still have to learn about these amazing animals.
"We owe it to our children to be better stewards of the environment. The alternative? - a world without whales. It's too terrible to imagine." ~ Pierce Brosnan