Rare Fin whale sightings two days in a row!

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Fin whale, wikipedia commons

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The second largest animal on earth, the Fin whale, has made a rare visit to Manx
waters
.

The two 26 metre long whales were first spotted by a team of local land-based
observers on Saturday 1st October at 15:25. Mike Kelly, joined by Carol Woodall
and Sue and Bill Whittaker were watching from where the road closes along
Marine Drive. They spotted some unusual disturbance and saw a whale surfacing.
Usually we would expect a Minke whale, but this was much larger and you could
see its distinctive tall, column shaped blow which can be up to 2 metres tall.
They watched in amazement as the two animals swam up and down, feeding or
foraging for an hour.

On Sunday at 14:25, we received another call from Sue to say that the whales were
still in the area. We put an alert out on facebook and drove over from Peel
with spare binoculars, on the way Tom popped in to Manx radio to put an alert
out and gave an interview. We watched the whales until 17:30 and
were really impressed by the number of people who also rushed to the drive to
get a glimpse of these rare rorquals. They were a long way off but with our
help most people managed to see them by looking out for their tall blow. The
two whales stayed in the same area for 3 hours hardly moving any distance at
all. This was also the same place they were seen the day before. They are most
likely feeding on Herring which spawn at this time of year on the east coast.

These follow on from another Fin whale sighting on 17th September also off
Marine Drive which was spotted in the same area as the pair of Herring boats.

Fin whales are incredibly rare visitors to Manx waters. What also makes this
sighting incredible is how shallow the water is where they were spotted: around
36 metres deep. If you consider the whale itself is 26 metres long, the water
is only 10 metres deeper than the animal is long!

If feeding is good the whales may stay in the area. Keep a look out over the coming week for a glimse of this incredible cetacean.

What to look out for:

  • Use binoculars and slowly scan the sea for tell-tale signs:
  • Disturbance in the water, odd areas of white water
  • Tall blow as the whales exhale
  • Diving Gannets

Here’s some facts about Fin whales for you:

Length: 26 metres (85 ft)

Weight: 74 tonnes

Diet: Small fish, crustaceans, squid

Feeding
techniques
: Filtering out food using baleen plates, made of keratin

Distribution: Worldwide, except under polar ice caps, largely pelagic (offshore) making them
difficult to study

ICUN Status: Endangered

Speed: up to 25mph

Age: up to 90 years 

Thanks to oceanwide-expeditions for the info 

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Fin whales, thanks to Wikipedia Commons

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Fin whale blowing, Wikipedia Commons

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