These sheets are brought to you by Serge Briez, founder of the Peoples of the Sea, a citizen NGO whose aim is the protection through knowledge, the enhancement of a maritime area of the Mediterranean: the Gulf of Lion and more precisely the Marine Natural Park of ‘’Golfe du Lion’’
Observation areas: Where to meet with Fin whales?
Present in the Mediterranean, the fin whale is a migratory oceanic species going from cold nutritious waters to more temperate waters in winter. They are common in the PELAGOS sanctuary (especially between Corsica and the mainland) and in the ‘’Golfe du Lion’’ (more particularly in the southern canyons between the Creus and the ‘’Golfe du Fos’’).
4 facts about the Fin Whale
1 – The fin whale is called an “engulfers” because its feeding technique is to engulf quantities of water and food (20,000 liters) and to filter with its baleen enclosed in its mouth by contracting his skin muscles. They feed mainly at night and must go through the filtration process 73 times which represents 2.2 tons of food engulfed!
2 – They have no predators except for humans. About 80,000 fin whales are spread all over the world’s seas and 2 to 3,000 in the Mediterranean. The gestation period is 11 months, the little one at birth measures up to 6.5 m for a weight of 4 tons. The baby whale drinks 72 liters of milk containing 33% fat every day, creating a strong social bond with his mother. The time between 2 births is 2/3 years, the birth of twins is not uncommon and sextuplet births have been observed. The fin whale is the second largest mammal in the world after the blue whale.
3 – Fin whales swim alone or in pairs. They can congregate in groups ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred individuals when food is plentiful. Some groups can synchronize to form queues that probe and come up at the same time. They sometimes jump out of the water, falling either on their sides or on their stomachs.
4 – Fin whales communicate by moans or moos. They also emit quite different pulses in a range from 20 to 100 Hz. It is possible to hear the sounds emitted by some fin whales over 160 km away.
Observation and interaction tips with Fin whales
The best way to encounter Fin whales is not to look for them but to navigate observing all the signs on the water and in the water. The encounter can be opportunistic: your paths cross, but these encounters can also be the subject of a different way of SAILING TO OBSERVE and meet all the species that inhabit our Seas and Oceans.
1 – You must always head towards a point next to the group rather than heading straight towards the cetaceans. .
2 – It is recommended to have your engine running; even if it is not engaged.
3 – Once you are in a radius of 300 meters around the cetaceans (distance at which they will probably detecte your boat), you will adopt a slow course and constant approach, at speeds from 1 to 2 knots.
4 – Take advantage of the approach to identify the species, the number and the behavior.
3 – You must not approach within 100 meters of cetaceans.
Observing is an apprenticeship and many associations offer eco-volunteers wildlife observations where you will learn a lot about these MASTERS of the oceans that are Cetaceans.
In the meantime, we will meet you very soon for the next sheet produced in collaboration with The Peoples of the Sea..
See you soon for new discoveries on the marine fauna of the Mediterranean. Find all the cetacean sheets from the Peoples of the Sea by clicking here!
Fair Wind Captain,