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Largest Gathering of Whales Seen in a Century

Passengers aboard the National Geographic Endurance came across the fin whales foraging near Antarctica - the biggest congregation of baleen whales seen in more than a century.

Fin whales as far as the eye could see, hundreds upon hundreds of them, shrouding the horizon in clouds of their breath. Near Antarctica in January 2022, passengers and crew aboard the National Geographic Endurance stumbled upon this magical sight, unobserved since industrial whaling drove the species to near extinction, says NatGeo.

“Once we got closer, the sound of blowing from the whales was continuous and all around us, as was condensing whale breath in the air, which required regular cleaning of our camera lenses and sunglasses,” says Conor Ryan, a zoologist and resident naturalist aboard the ship. It was a veritable "sea of spouts."

Somewhere between 830 and 1,153 fin whales, along with a handful of humpback and blue whales, had gathered to gorge themselves on a dense patch of krill off Coronation Island, which lies north of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Weighing in at 80 tons, fin whales are second in size only to blue whales. This video gives a very good sense of what the lucky passengers witnessed...


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