Today we were lucky to spend our afternoon with two finback whales. The first whale we spotted turned out to be a whale named Loon, a large female finback. Loon was named for a natural marking on her left flank that looks like the head and neck of a type of bird, a loon. As we watched Loon, we noticed that she was surfacing in a circular pattern around our boat, indicating that she was likely feeding deep. We had beautiful, close looks at Loon when she was at the surface, especially when she came right by our bow.
After leaving Loon, we traveled further north and we picked up another finback whale. This whale was absolutely massive; it was quite humbling to be in the presence of the second largest whale in the world! We also had looks at several minke whales that were meandering through the area. Minke whales are the second smallest baleen whale in the world and it was more difficult to spot the minkes as they were quick and elusive and it was raining.
We had excellent looks at this second finback including looks at the right side of the jaw. Finback whales are asymmetrical in color; the right side of the jaw is white and the left side of the jaw is dark gray. Each finback whale also has an individually distinct pattern on the right side of the back called the blaze and the chevron. The asymmetrical coloration of the jaw may help the whale catch its prey. When we were watching Loon earlier, we only had looks at her left side, so it was nice to see the right side of this finback whale. Despite the rain we had a great day of whale watching!