Close Encounters Of The Finned Kind

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A small group of whale watchers got a special treat off the Southern California coast, when a young fin whale repeatedly approached them. As captured in the video below, the juvenile whale, about twice as long as the outfitter’s 26-foot RIB, circled the boat and even followed it as it drifted with the current.

The drone footage of the rare encounter happened a 45-minute boat ride north of Newport Beach, California, and was captured by Mark Girardeau for Newport Coastal Adventure, which specializes in private and semi-private whale-watching trips.

Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), also known as finback whales or common rorquals, are the second largest mammals on earth. An adult can reach a length of 85 feet. Only the blue whale is larger. Fin whales are very boat shy, can stay down for long periods and are very fast, so it is rare for humans to get a really close look at them. They have been called “the greyhound of the sea” because their slender bodies allow them to cruise at 25 mph and sprint up to 29 mph.