Antarctic Minke Whales – Antarctica 2018

Antarctic Minke Whales. As we sailed along the Ross Ice Shelf we spotted the distant blows of Antarctic Minke Whales feeding just in front of the ice cliff. As we approached we realised there were about 30 of these animals and they were feeding on the upwelling of krill caused by this barrier.

These 7-10m long whales weigh between 5.8-9.1 tonnes and are found in circumpolar regions in the Southern Oceans between 65oS and 20oS migrating to Antarctic seas in the austral summer with some animals reaching as far south as here in the Ross Sea (78oS). Krill is their main food in these southerly waters. They are usually found in small groups (5-10) but can reach up to 400 in number. Typically they role quite high revealing their large, curved dorsal fin. Their population is between 500,00 and 1.4m animals.