Whales, one of the most majestic marine animals on the planet, are a spectacular sight to behold when they are in their natural environment.
Seeing killer whales swim together in a pod against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and endless oceans is an unforgettable experience. Perhaps it is a Humpback Whale, launching its massive body into the air before diving into the frigid ocean beneath it.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have the opportunity to witness it at least once in your lifetime.
Continue reading to find out more about the tragic history of Antarctic whaling, the various species that have been encountered, and how to see these magnificent creatures in the wild with a little forethought and preparation.
Off the coast of Antarctica, I’m observing whales. Whale hunting is a popular pastime in Antarctica.
Whales have been hunted in the Southern Ocean since the first humans set foot on Antarctica’s shores thousands of years ago.
Whale blubber has traditionally been consumed as a delicacy in some countries, but it has also been used as a rare and valuable oil in others.
Whaling experienced a significant increase during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, which resulted in the extinction of some whale species as a result of the increased demand for whale meat and oil during this period.
Whale populations have continued to decline despite the fact that large-scale commercial whaling was outlawed more than three decades ago.
Deception Bay still bears the scars of the whaling era, which can be seen by those who travel there.
Whales of the Antarctic and Other Cetacean Species
You’ll have the opportunity to see eight different kinds of whales in Antarctica, which will likely surprise and delight many cruise guests.
The Killer Whale, one of the world’s most recognizable species, can only be found in Antarctica, where it is one of the world’s most endangered species (also known as Orcas).
In the waters surrounding Antarctica, you’re more than likely to see this apex predator devouring seals, fish, penguins, and even other whales, among other prey. It’s possible to catch a glimpse of a killer whale as it scours the ice for an unlucky seal if you’re lucky.
Another common sighting is that of a humpback whale. Humpback whales are excellent subjects for wildlife photography due to the fact that they spend a lot of time in shallow water and move slowly.
Minke Whales have also been spotted on a number of occasions. Make sure you have your camera ready because they are curious creatures who enjoy getting up close and personal with boats and other moving objects.
While on board, it is possible to see a variety of other species, including Sperm, Sei, Southern Right, and possibly even the Fin, which is the world’s second largest whale at over 100 tons.
The Blue Whale, on the other hand, is one of the most elusive species to be discovered in Antarctica, and it is the largest animal ever known to have existed on the planet.
It is impossible to accurately estimate the population of these whales, which can grow up to 100 feet long and weigh more than 200 tons. They are so rare that scientists have no way of knowing how many there are.
Because of the abundance of krill in Antarctic waters, Blue Whales can consume more than 5 tonnes of food per day while feeding!
Despite the fact that it is not frequently seen, the best time to see this magnificent species in person is during the summer migration.
Whale watching is a popular activity in Antarctica.
The best time of year to see whales is in the spring and summer.
Whales migrate south during the summer months of Antarctica to take advantage of the nutrient-rich waters of the Southern Ocean before returning north to breed and give birth to their calves during the winter months.
The months of February and March are the best months to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
It is possible to save money by taking a cruise during this time of year, but wildlife has already moved on.
Whale watching in Antarctica’s Wilhelmina Peninsula is at its best in Wilhelmina Bay, which is home to humpback whales and a variety of other marine life.
Increase the depth of your dive into the ocean.
An undiscovered paradise awaits you beneath the deck’s breathtaking views, just waiting to be discovered!
A lot of people aren’t aware that scuba diving is available in Antarctica, but for those who have done it before or who have a strong sense of adventure, it can be a fantastic addition to an Antarctic cruise experience.
It is possible to see some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet in Antarctic waters, which are virtually untouched by human activity.
In addition to jellyfish, sea butterflies, and soft coral, you may come into contact with larger animals such as fur seals, penguins, and even the ferocious leopard seal during your snorkeling expedition.
Divers should be aware that scuba diving in the Antarctic is not for everyone, as should be obvious from the start. It is necessary to have both an international certification and prior cold water diving experience before diving in cold water.
Because of the lack of a decompression chamber, it is recommended that deep dives and stunt dives be avoided. When done correctly, the opportunity to see dolphins in their natural environment can make whale watching an even more enjoyable experience.
Make the Most of Your Travel Experience
Even though whale sightings in the wild are extremely rare, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of seeing one.
The most effective way to see whales is to book a cruise that includes stops at well-known whale-sighting locations and travel later in the season, when you have a better chance of seeing them.
Whatever happens, you’ll have a fantastic time in Antarctica regardless of whether or not you see any whales.