Brazil to The Falklands – Day 8

Reading: Real Tigers (Mick Herron) (finished)
Weather: Sunny and windless …..
Thought for the day: How is it that when you meet a ship in mid-ocean they are always on or close to a collision course?
Evening meal: Spinach and cheese pie with carrot salad
Course: 210-230oC
Distance covered: At 1200 we had covered 1,078 miles (Log 5,263)
Wildlife headcount: Minke whales, albatrosses and cape pigeons and did I say minke whales?

At the 6am watch changeover Jet suddenly asked if people wanted to go swimming. I was just about to answer with a mouth full of porridge when Marit suddenly spotted whales blowing. Sanne, Tinke and Erik went swimming but I was too busy watching the whales (and eating porridge). It looked like a pod of three Minke whales and they were close enough this time for more reliable identification. We watched for about fifteen minutes while they blew and surfaced, arching their backs, every so often.

Minke whales can be up to 8 metres long for the males and 9 metres long for the females – an impressive length. They apparently don’t ever raise their flukes out of the water when diving (unlike humpback whales) and this was certainly the case with this group. They tend to spend most of their time fairly close to the surface diving for around 6-12 minutes, though they usually make shallow dives for up to twenty minutes. They feed on small fish and zooplankton (krill and copepods) and they capture their prey by side lunging with their mouth open close to the surface. Their expected lifespan is fifty plus years. There is an incredible grace and beauty about their movement through the water – an unhurried elegance and purpose.

Swimming and whale watching over, we motored on in our search for wind …..