Whale species in Vesterålen

Vesterålen has several whale species. Here you can read more about some of these.

2014-06-1913:42 visitvesteralen.no

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) Size: 10-18m in length, weighing 40-60 tons. The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales and can live for up to 80 years. The males are found here, the females and their young live in the more temperate waters of the North and Mid-Atlantic (50›S-40›N). These whales can often be seen outside Bleik. Here the continental shelf ends and waters from different streams and currents converge resulting in a rich nutritious source which the whales willingly take advantage of. A fully grown adult can eat as much as a ton of food in one day. Normally, they dive to a depth of 500-700 m in their search for food. They spend about 7 mins at the surface before they dive down again for ca. 20-35 mins. The maximum time they can be under water is around 2 hours. Reproduction is very slow, a female gives birth every 3-5 years but on the other hand, these whales live for up to 60-70 years.

Humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) Can be up to 18 m long and weigh up to 40 tons. They are sometimes seen in groups of 3 or 4. They are able to perform acrobatic jumps out of the water and often beat the water with their long flippers. Some scientists believe this to be a form of communication. Humpbacks are also known for their «singing talents». These high-pitched sounds can continue for up to 20 minutes.

Killer whale (Orcinus orca) In norwegian waters; males are ca. 7m and 4 - 5 tons. Females: 5.5m and ca. 3 tons. Their diet is quite varied and consists mostly of fish like herring and mackerel, but also cod, squid, birds, seal and even other whale types can be a part of their menu.  More recently, the herrings migration patterns have changed a little and the orcas can now be seen here all year round.   

Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) 7-10 m long, 10 tons in weight. One of the smallest baleen whales. The baleens filter krill, small fish (such as herring and capelin) and certain squid. They are normally seen either alone or in small groups, but larger gatherings can occur around the feeding grounds. Mating is believed to take place in the winter and the females can give birth each year, believed also to be in the winter, after a ca. 10mth pregnancy. However, acoustic data suggest they give birth in May in tropical waters. 

Pilot whale (Globicephala melas) Male 6-6.5 m, female 4-5.5 m and ca. 2 tons. The shape of the males back fin which is larger and more bowed on the male. They live in groups of 10-20, which is believed to be for the benefit of the females and their young, but often one sees large groups of many hundred whales with a strong social connection. Pilot whales dive mainly to a depth of 30-60 m but they can go so deep as 600 m. They feed on squid, fish and certain crustaceans.


Marten Bril
Marten Bril
Marten Bril