The sneakiest whales in the Salish Sea
Minke whales (pronounced mink-ee) are one of the trickiest marine mammals in the region to find, but we love them! These speedy whales spend most of their time in the Salish Sea on the search of their favorite food, bait fish. Watching a minke whale lunge feed through a bait ball is exhilarating, especially when there are multiple animals feeding in the vicinity!
The sleek mid-water feeding minke whales offer unique sights, sounds - and smells!
Minke whales are one of the few species of whale that can be found by smell alone. Their overpowering breath is quite memorable and has earned them the nickname "stinky minkes". Because of their speedy and shy nature, we don't encounter minke whales often, but if you are lucky enough to catch a whiff, it's an experience you'll cherish forever!
In the 1950's the Navy recorded some mysterious, otherworldly underwater sounds off California and Hawaii. It took them more than 50 years to finally identify the strange, sci-fi sounds as the vocalizations of minke whales!
Through no fault of their own, minke whales have not been studied to the extent that many of their more charismatic cousins have. Very little is known about our local minkes, including how many there are or where they go when they aren't in the Salish Sea. Island Adventures contributes photos and sightings information of minke whales to local researchers each year in an attempt to understand more about these shy cetaceans.
Learn more about the area’s wildlife and scenery.
The waters surrounding our three departure locations offer some of the most diverse whale and wildlife viewing on the west coast. Onboard each of our tours, an experienced naturalist helps identify all of the whales, wildlife, and rich history that this area holds.