Characteristics: The minke whales are the second smallest baleen whale; only the pygmy right whale is smaller. The minke whale is a black/gray/purple colour. Common minke whales (Northern Hemisphere variety) are distinguished from other whales by a white band on each flipper. The body is usually black or dark-grey above and white underneath.
Habitat: Due to their relative abundance, minke whales are often the focus of whale-watching cruises setting sail from, for instance, the Isle of Mull in Scotland, County Cork in Ireland and Húsavík in Iceland, and tours are taken on the east coast of Canada. They are also one of the most commonly sighted whales seen on whale-watches from New England and eastern Canada.
Habits: The whale breathes three to five times at short intervals before ‘deep-diving’ for two to 20 minutes. Deep dives are preceded by a pronounced arching of the back. The maximum swimming speed of minkes has been estimated at 38 km/h (24 mph).