Whales in Antarctica

Viewing whales in Antarctica is something that any and all wildlife enthusiasts should consider, and you'll do well to head to this frozen continent during the austral summer if you are interested. In addition to blue whales, the whales of Antarctica also include humpback whales and killer whales. For clarification purposes, the Antarctica killer whales are also known as orcas, and you are likely to hear both appellations used with regularity. Fin, minke, southern right, sei, and sperm whales round out the bunch when it comes to the whales in Antarctica, so you're bound to see more than one species on your summertime visit.

It's hard to argue that whales don't figure among the most magnificent creatures on the planet, especially when you consider their size and their intelligence. Unfortunately, whales were almost hunted to the point of extinction decades ago, though their numbers are rising thanks to conservation efforts. Japan still hunts and kills a large amount of whales on an annual basis, though this practice is generally frowned upon by most other nations. While whale hunting has decreased significantly around the world, the bulk of the whale stocks are still low, which is why whale conservation is still a big topic of the day.

You might not notice that whale numbers are hurting when you come to see the whales in Antarctica. That's because the waters are virtually teeming with them come the austral summer. For those who might not know, the austral summer coincides with wintertime in the northern hemisphere. Once summer approaches in the southern hemisphere, Antarctic whales migrate south to take advantage of the vast food resources. Krill, which is a small kind of shrimp, is a large part of the diet for many of the whales in Antarctica, though the killer whales also hunt for fish, birds, seals, and other marine mammals with regularity. If you have ever been to Sea World, which is an amusement park that has operations in Florida, Texas, and California, you have more than likely seen an orca whale. Each of the Sea World parks is home to at least one orca, which they name Shamu.

Some whale enthusiasts might put orcas, or killer whales, at the bottom of their popularity lists, as these whales hunt for things like seals and penguins, which are among the most endearing animals in Antarctica. The blue whales in Antarctica, on the other hand, are usually quite popular with sensitive visitors who applaud the fact that they only eat krill and other small crustaceans. Another thing that helps to make the blue whales so popular is the fact that they are the largest creatures on the face of the Earth. In addition to their large size, the blue whales in Antarctica are also noted for their blue colored skin, hence the name. Blue whales can weigh anywhere from 85 to 150 tons, which is quite impressive when you consider what they eat. While the blue whales in Antarctica are quite popular, they might not be as overly popular as the humpbacks, which are known for their complex songs and their water acrobatics.

Whether you're in a cold place like Antarctica or hanging out in a warmer climate, such as that of Hawaii, watching humpback whales can be a most rewarding endeavor. This has a lot to do with the fact that few other whales are so acrobatic. The signature move of humpback whales is known as breaching, and it involves leaping almost entirely out of the water. One can imagine the magnitude of the crashing splash that an animal of this size can make. Humpback whales might not be as big as Blue whales, but their average weight of 48 tons is still something to contend with.

Chances are very good that you will see some whales in Antarctica if you come at the right time. Thankfully, the peak season for Antarctic travel coincides with the peak season for whale viewing. Sea and light conditions have a lot to do with how many whales you will see on your Antarctic trip, and it's a good idea to keep an eye out for them whenever you are cruising the area waters. On numerous occasions, Antarctica tourists who aren't necessarily looking for whales will see them when they least expect it, and you never know exactly when and where one might surface for some air.

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