Minke Whales

Although the ice hasn’t moved completely out, we do have quite a bit of open water around McMurdo Station.  Arriving with the open water were some minke whales.  The minke whale is the smallest of the baleen whales.  They grow between 20 and 30 feet and typically weigh between 6 and 9 tons.

Orcas, or killer whales, are the other whale species that are common to the area.  Apparently, there are orcas by the ice edge.  At this point, they have not been spotted from town.  The minke whales have much smaller dorsal fins than the orcas.  So it should be easy to tell the difference, even from a distance.

Minke whale with the small dorsal fin.

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