At Gili Lankanfushi we offer an incredibly popular Dolphin Cruise. Usually we have fantastic sightings of the delightfully acrobatic Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris). Sometimes, if we’re lucky we can also see pods of Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), and previously in our blog we have even played with the idea of calling our Dolphin Cruise a Whale Watch! But last months’ Dolphin Cruise exceeded everyone’s expectations; as it’s not every day that one gets the opportunity to cruise alongside the biggest known animal to have ever existed on this planet. Nope, not a Dinosaur – A BLUE WHALE!
Photo Credit: Michael Sandak
The large dorsal fin and small overall size of 15m indicates this is a juvenile
This Indian subspecies (Balaenoptera musculus indica) is known to migrate Eastward through the Maldives archipelago between November and April as they search for more productive regions to feed. Despite their size, these whales have baleen plates in their mouths used for filter feeding on tiny plankton!
Population estimates for the subspecies are currently unknown but thought to be around 1500 individuals, with only a handful of sightings in Maldives each year! We count ourselves incredibly lucky to have such a rare encounter!
Typical of Blue whale, the breathing “blow” is spotted just before the dorsal fin is visible.
This one wasn’t much larger than our boat, but adults can reach a monstrous 30m long!