The white continent and its frozen waters are home to eight species of whales. Since I didn’t go scuba diving while in Antarctica, my only chance of spotting them was when they surface. In my pre-photography days when I didn’t have a decent camera, I had some difficulty getting any kind of respectable photos. Probably I shouldn’t be posting these at all, but something is better than nothing when it comes to sharing!
These next four photos show some some of the world’s most common whales which are humpbacks. Without exaggeration I saw them on a near daily basis while in Antarctica. On the surface, generally the only impressive photos you can get is either a tail shot before they dive or if you’re lucky to catch one leaping out of the water. As you can see I didn’t really get any of those, but had several encounters where some of them got reasonably close. Probably if my zoom was good these could have been much better photographs! My favorite encounter was with the whale on the upper left who was actually quite close to us. We were in a small zodiac boat when this whale gave us a visit, and what you’re seeing above is his actual head. Luckily whales are pretty docile creatures, otherwise this giant beast cold have easily destroyed our little boat. Not only did the whale approach us and have a look, he actually hung out with us for a while.
These final two photos are some terrible shots of minke whales. Just by my experience here in Antarctica, I could immediately tell the difference from humpbacks and minke whales by their behavior. Humpbacks would tend to surface and hang out in the area. Minke whales on the other hand seemed to come up for some air and then immediately descend before later reappearing hundreds of feet away. For this reason, I found minke whales especially difficult to photograph since their movements were so random and their appearances so short. There are about 500,000 minke whales all around the world.