Sailors and scientists aboard four krill fishing boats and a research vessel were treated to the majestic sight of 1,000 fin whales congregating near Antarctica to feed.
Second only in size to the blue whale, fin whales were once one of the chief targets of whaling vessels—and were driven to near extinction by the practice; they haven’t been seen in these numbers for over a century.
It may be, estimates researcher Conor Ryan, the largest congregation of fin whales ever recorded, and the sea was so dense that day with the 81-foot (27-meter) long slender baleens, their breaching created what Phillip Hoare described as a “misty forest of spouts, as tall as pine trees.”
Ryan, a zoologist aboard the National Geographic Endurance, filmed the whales going about their business as the boat passed around 375 miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula, near the South Orkney Islands.
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