Making New Friends with Whales


Getting ready to go kayaking in Antarctica takes a long time because there are so many layers of clothes to put on! We start by putting on singlets, a couple of thin jerseys, then thermal pants, trackpants and a jacket. Once we have those on, we put a dry suit on over all of this. Dry suits are big waterproof suits that cover your feet and fit tightly around your neck. Then, we slip on a kayak skirt, which stops water splashing into the kayak. Most importantly, we put on our life jackets along with a hat, scarf and gloves to help keep warm. Even with all of these layers on, if you manage to fall out of the kayak it’s going to be VERY COLD! This was one of my biggest fears when kayaking in Antarctica. I knew there were going to be a lot of seals and whales around us, which had me worried that one would swim up from under my kayak and tip me in! On a cold grey day when kayaking in Antarctica, I started to feel a bit nervous when I saw the dorsal fin of a Minke whale pop out of the water very close to my kayak. Thankfully it was friendly and just swam up to say hello.

What does this creature or plant look like?:

Minke whales are quite small, as far as whales go. They are the second smallest of the Baleen whale family and usually grow between eight and nine meters (26 to 29 feet) long. That’s still quite a lot bigger than me in my four meter (13 foot) long kayak!