This message’s focus is Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus.) They are also called finback whales, razorback, or common rorqual. Fins are baleen whales found in all the world’s major oceans. Although they are the second largest animal (the largest recorded was around 80 feet.) in the world, they are sleek and slender. Their body is also asymmetrically colored. Most noticeable is the lighter coloration of the lower part of the body. This lighter lower color makes fin whales a bit easier to spot when they are near the surface. The day I took these photos, there were a few conditions working against me. The water was choppy. We were in a smaller boat (we got drenched with cold sea water on the ride back to shore after viewing the whales and visiting a penguin island.) As expected, the boat was fairly unstable and standing and trying to guess where a whale might surface was challenging. One other minor issue was often the whales were too close ot allow focusing with the lens I was using. Changing lenses wasn’t an option on the boat with the rough seas. Finally, although there were quite a few whales around, they were staying just under the surface and only partly coming above to breathe. These images represent different individuals, with the best diversity of situations I could find. These images were all taken off the western coast of Chile by the town La Higuera. The nearby Pingüino de Humboldt National Reserve was the primary destination of the boat trip (no landing was allowed.) We ended up in La Higuera because the village to the south where boats typically leave from was closed to that activity by the government due to high seas.

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