My huge Atlantic friends


Out in the blue, North Atlantic Ocean, 2014

This is definitely paradise for me. To be far out at sea spending hours after hours in the deep blue pelagic water.

Here I have about 3-4 kilometers of water underneath me and the clear, infinite surrounding really gives me the feeling of flying! :-)

It´s not only the water that makes me love the Ocean so much though. The main reason for my strong passion for the sea is the life living in it.

In this blogpost I want to share my most recent whale encounters in the North Atlantic, with pics taken during our sailing this summer.

There are two main types of whale, which are toothed whales (Odontoceti) and baleen whales (Mysticeti). The toothed whales have teeth and feed mostly on fish, squid, and some of them (like the killer whale) even on bigger marine animals.

The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) (picture above and three pics beneath) is by far the largest of all toothed whales. It can reach a lenght of 18 meters and weigh up to 50 tons.

These massive toothed whales normally feed on giant squids and dive really deep to get their prey. Some evidence suggest that they may dive to depths of at least 3000 meters!

Wow, just imagine to be a part of that impressive dive and to observe the hunt of giant squids probably as big as the whale itself...

The sperm whale can get very curious and I have experienced really close encounters with them (see YouTube-clip further below).

This time they just came for a quick look though, before disappearing into their blue Atlantic surrounding...

Below you find 5 min of footage from our film "Europas sista jättar" (Last Giants of Europe) and our really close encounter with a huge sperm whale pod.

This footage was taken in the Azores summer 2005 and with permission from the Azorean Government. An amazing encounter I will never forget!! Not possible to get closer than this...

Yes, I definitely do understand the ones that get the feeling of being "height afraid" when swimming in pelagic water. The Ocean really feels never ending underneath you...

I enjoy this wonderful feeling though, and this with a great curiosity of what or who that might be hiding in the big blue next to me ;-)

Wow!! No words can describe the feeling when a big whale is appearing just underneath me. No, she is not big, she is huge...

It is the second biggest animal ever lived on earth, it is a fin whale!

The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) belongs to the baleen whales (Mysticeti). Baleen whales include most of the larger whales, such as rorquals, right whales and the gray whale.

This type of whale has baleen plates instead of teeth and do normally feed on huge shoals of krill or smaller fish.

Only the blue whale can get bigger then my new curious friend. The fin whale is known to grow to more than 26 meters and they can reach a weight of 80 tons. A newborn fin whale baby measures about 6–6.5 metres in length and weighs approximately 1800 kilos...

I´m truly stunned by my new company!! There are two fin whales in the area, one of them seems to be more curious than the other and she keeps coming to have a closer look on me... :-)

Yes, I´m feeling like being in heaven!! :-))

For many years, whales were thought to be "spouting fish". However, they are mammals, and like all other mammals, whales breathe air, are warm-blooded  and nurse their young with milk.

Whales breathe via blowholes, located on the top of their heads.
Unlike most animals, the whales are conscious breathers even when they sleep. Baleen whales have two blowholes while toothed whales just have one.

My new friends keep circulating around me. The curious one starts to roll in the water and I get the feeling that she might not only be curious. It almost looks like she is a bit happy about having me in the water... Can it be true?

The fin whale keeps coming and coming, and it almost looks like she starts to dance... ;-)  Wow, what a beauty she is!

So many encounters I have experienced with plenty different whale species in both cold and warm waters, but still I will never ever stop being amazed of these majestic beings.

I was 11 years old, the very first time I saw whales close up.

This was in 1995, when I spent hours after hours in the cold water together with a friendly bottlenose dolphin in Southern Norway. The same year, I then got to experience the great gathering of Orcas in Northern Norway. From that time on, I feel a strong growing passion for these fascinating creatures...

Maybe the whale sense the deep love I feel for her?

When the fin whales seem to be gone I slowly start to swim back to the boat. As I´m quite far away it takes some time to snorkel my way back to the others. About half the distance, I hear them shouting on the boat and when I look around I see that the whale is approaching me again!

It seems like the whale wanted to say a last "Good Bye" to me before leaving. Like she appeared, she finally disappear into her infinite blue world. There I am left alone in the water totally speechless and overwhelmed about my last hours in paradise! :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment