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Whale Watching

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Due to the richness and diversity of cetacean species that live in Chilean Patagonia-50% of the species found in the world—and that particularly inhabit the area explored by Atmosphere, we have created a complete observation program based on solid scientific grounds.

This program includes amply trained guides and is committed to maintaining strict sustainability guidelines. We have also added technology and comfort, features unknown to the international whale-watching circuit, until now.

Watching Excursions
Whale-watching excursions last a full day or half-day and are held aboard the Zodiac Hurricane 920 R.I.B. This watercraft has a 16-passenger, 3-crew member capacity and can be safely used in a variety of marine conditions and settings.

Furthermore, Atmosphere also offers an observation platform located on the fifth deck, with a wide visibility range.

Commonly Seen Species
Throughout Atmosphere`s navigation route there is a rich population of small endemic cetaceans such as Peale`s dolphins, Commerson`s dolphins, Dusky dolphins and Chilean or Black dolphins, together with a variety of considerably larger whale species: beaked whales, rorquals, sperm whales, orcas - killer whales - and the always awe inspiring blue whale, which in this region has a smaller fluke than its Northern hemisphere peers.

Scientific Approach
All approaching and operation techniques comply with the strict observation standards suggested and required by such institutions as the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, among others.

Furthermore, our guides will gather and record data which will contribute to scientific research purposes.

One of these investigations that Nomads of the Seas is collaborating with is the first regional catalogue of recorded cetacean voices. Guests are welcome to help us record the song of these gigantic creatures.

CH-Nomads-Blue Whale.gif (19902 bytes) Blue Whale  (Balaenoptera Musculus)
33 meters max / More than 100 tons; Present in all the oceans of the world, and mainly pelagic, the blue whale migrates to Antarctic waters in summer and returns to tropical and subtropical waters in winter. This is the largest animal in the world. It has a long and slender body, with a wide U-shaped head, and a small concave dorsal fin located on its rear third. Its pectoral fins are long, thin and pointed, and have from 58 to 88 gular folds. Its main feed is zooplankton which they eat in circumpolar zones, or else cephalopoda, amphipoda, copepoda, and red crabs. Usually eats alone or with its mate, separated by a long distance from each other, possibly due to the large space required by their considerable sizes.
CH-Nomads-Fin whale.gif (19011 bytes) Fin Whale (Balaenoptera Physalus)
25 meters aprox / 60 tons - Found in all of the Oceans, from the tropical zones to the polar regions, fin whales are mainly a pelagic species and are believed to migrate to polar waters in the summer to feed, and return to more temperate waters in the winter to breed. this is the second largest animal after the blue whale, and grows to be as much as 22 meters long, with 50 to 100 gular folds on the abdomen. Fin whales are long and slender, with a narrow V-shaped face, and a small sickle-shaped fin which they never deploy when diving. Their air blast has the form of a long inverted cone, and their pectoral fins are relatively fine and short. Fin whales are mainly characterized by their asymmetrical pigmentation on the head, presenting some white whalebones on the right side, and uniform grey whalebones on the left. Fin whales mainly feed on zooplankton, especially krill, which they eat in circumpolar zones, in addition to small fish and squids.
CH-Nomads-Sei whale.gif (11196 bytes) Sei Whale (Balaenoptera Borealis)
18 meters average / 20 tons - Preferably pelagic, may be observed in all of the oceans throughout the world, especially in medium latitudes. While mainly recorded in tropical and subtropical waters, Sei whales are believed to migrate to Antarctic waters. If we look dorsally at the head, we may note that their mouth is less rounded than that of the blue whale and less pointed than that of fin whales. Sei whales show a prominent crease in the face from the nasal orifices to the tip of the mouth, and from 30 to 60 gular folds. The dorsal fin is quite humped and is located much more to the front than other rorqual species, while their pectoral and caudal fins are small. It feeds mainly on krill, but may eat squid and fish of up to 30 cm. The feeding behaviour of Sei whales is a regular swimming on the surface of the water with their mouths open, catching their feed.
CH-Nomads-Sperm Whale.gif (29398 bytes) Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus)
18 meters max / 50 tons - Generally pelagic, but occasionally found in bays and canals, the sperm whale is present in all the oceans of the world, from the Equator to the limits of polar ice (60°N and 70°S). Young females and males are frequently found in tropical and subtropical waters, between 40°N and 40°S, and adult males reach higher latitudes during southern summers. Males may grow to be up to 18 m, while females are quite smaller, up to 13 m, and may weight approximately 50 tons. Sperm whales have a square head, which in males, is as much as 40% of their total body length. They dive down to great depths in search for giant squids, their main prey. However, they equally feed on octopuses, fish, crabs, and even small sharks and manta rays.
CH-Nomads-Southern Right Whale.gif (26348 bytes) Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena Australis)
17 meters max / Between 45 and 60 tons - In general, the southern right whale is found in warmer waters during winter, and migrates to temperate regions in summer, and to sub-polar regions to feed. This is a mainly coastal species, but there are oceanic records of it. Very large in size, female southern right whales may be as long as 17 meters, males being somewhat shorter. This species characterizes for having a round body, with no dorsal fin or grooves below the mouth. Its head occupies almost 1/3 of the total body length, and its arched mouth hosts long whalebones of up to 3 m. Near the nasal orifices and upper lip, it has calluses or structures formed by natural skin thickening, where small crustaceans live. These calluses allow for individual identification through photographic records. During the southern summer, they swim in the cold waters surrounding the Antarctica, feeding on small plankton organisms, such as krill, and copepoda which are abundantly found there in that time of year. In general, they feed in the surface, and occasionally, near the sea bottom.
CH-Nomads-Ballena de Bryde whale.gif (13741 bytes) Ballena de Bryde (Balaenoptera edeni)
Up to 15 meters / Up to 20 tons - Brydes whales live in temperate and tropical waters in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indic Oceans, generally between 30°N and 30°S. Bryde€™s whales have been recorded in coast and pelagic environments. This species is mainly characterized by three prominent creases or "careens" which are centrally or laterally projected from the nasal orifices to the mouth.
Brydes whales are able to make sharp turns of direction during feeding, mainly of fish and certain low-depth crustaceans.
CH-Nomads-Humpback-whale.gif (26521 bytes) Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
15 meters max / 40 tons - Mainly a coastal whale, but during migration and in the Antarctic zone, it may be found in the pelagic media. Present in all the oceans of the world, from the tropics where they reproduce, to polar seas, where they feed. Nevertheless, there is evidence of whale populations which do not always migrate. Their pectoral fins are very long and show protuberances, at least along the front edge. The white or black pigmentation of the pectoral fins vary from one individual to another. The humpback whale's body is wide, basically black or grey with a white abdomen and neck, and a wide and rounded head showing flesh protuberances or warts and colonies of small crustaceans (ciamida). Humpback whales feed mainly on krill and small fish banks. Generally, they feed in the surface, no more than 50 meters deep.
CH-Nomads-Ballena Minke.gif (10325 bytes) Ballena Minke (Balaenoptera acuorostrata)
Less than 11 mts / up to 9 meters approximately - Mainly pelagic, Minke whales may equally be observed near the shore. They live in tropical, temperate and polar waters throughout the world. In the Southern Hemisphere, during summer, they are observed south from 55 L s. Characterized by their narrow slender trunk, with 50 to 70 gular folds which frequently do not surpass pectoral fins. Minke whales have thin pectoral fins with pointed ends underlined by a white strip, which is less frequent in the Southern Hemisphere. Their whalebones are white-yellowish, but may have black pigmentation. Seemingly they feed in cold waters, mainly on krill and small fish and crustaceans. In the feeding zones, large congregations may be observed, apparently of up to 2,000 individuals.
CH-Nomads-Commerson's Dolphin.gif (6228 bytes) Commerson's Dolphin (Orcinus Orca)
9 meters approximately / 10 tons - Commerson's dolphins are found in all of the oceans, from the tropics to continental Antarctic. It is possibly the largest hunter in the sea, and the largest carnivorous in land and sea. Commerson's Dolphins are actually the largest of the dolphins. In 1758, Carl Von Linné classified this specimen in the Dolphin order under the name of Delphinus orca, but, given the differences between this species and smaller dolphins, in 1860 the new gender Orcinus was created, designated by the scientific name of Orcinus orca. Commerson's Dolphins are very common in Antarctic waters, where they feed on seals, penguins, fish and even other whales. They often hunt in groups and use their calling to organize and coordinate attacks. Commerson's Dolphins like to live in small groups, of around 20 individuals, but on occasion, they equally live in solitude. The male is larger than the female, and has a more developed dorsal fin. Specimens weigh around 8 tons. The population of Commerson's whales in the Antarctic is around 200,000 specimens.
CH-Nomads-Pygmy Right Whale.gif (15241 bytes) Pygmy Right Whale (Caperea marginata)
Less than 7 meters / 5 tons - There is scarce information on the pygmy right whale€™s exact location, but several sightings and beaching episodes locate this species in temperate and circumpolar waters of the southern hemisphere, north from the Antarctic convergence. Coastal and pelagic, its distribution range has been estimated from 31 S to 55 S. Its robust head is not too large and the mandibular exceeds the maxillar arch that narrows its face. Unlike other right whales, its trunk is narrow and slender; on its neck, two barely visible longitudinal folds are noted, with no calluses, and a small dorsal curved fin, located so far back on the trunk that it remains invisible when it surfaces. Females, larger than males, may be as long as 6.4 m and weight around 4.5 tons.