Sea Life Surveys
on the Isle of Mull, Scotland have been taking guests to watch minke whales for over 20 years.  

Minke whales have proved to be fascinating to watch, a species that is often ignored by the whale-watching industry elsewhere. Minke whales will return to their summer feeding grounds each spring and because they return to the same area year after year they are a predictable species to find. Minke whales often approach stationary vessels because of their natural curiosity. The younger animals tend to do this more than the older ones.

Click here to see video footage of a minke whale near to the boat 
 

 

 

 


At Sea Life Surveys this natural curiosity has allowed us to have some amazing encounters with the whales.  

Common behaviour is to circle the vessel or repeatedly pass underneath the hull. The whale in the picture to the left was one of these curious whales. It stayed with the vessel for over an hour and we used a video camera attached to a large pole to capture this image of the whale hanging about underneath the hull.  

Click below for video footage of this whale
  QuickTime

Minke whales will often swim by flashing their big white bellies towards the hull of the vessel or twist themselves upside down as seen in the photographs above. 

Click below for a video of a young whale twisting in the water
  QuickTime

Minke whales will also "spy-hop" next to the vessel. This is when they rise up vertically from the water with their rostrum (snout) out of the water. Their eyes are above or just below the surface waters allowing them to have a look at their surroundings. 

The photographs below show some of these friendly whales. 

Minke whales will also approach moving vessels to "ride the bow" just like dolphins. We have noted that this is usually at speeds of 4 knots. One day, for over an hour, a minke whale rode alongside the vessel continuously crossing from one side of the bow to the other.

On another occasion two minkes came to our bow, one on each side of the vessel. Working together these whales would cross over each other at the bow to swap sides periodically.

Click below for a video of a  minke whale riding alongside the vessel
QuickTime

 

 

See more video clips of minke whales interacting with Sea Life Surveys vessel

Minke whale passing under vessel         QuickTime

Minke whale curious about people on the vessel         QuickTime

 



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