'Sea & Hear'
Whales &Dolphins...in the
Sound of Mull - West Highlands - Scotland


Cetaceans or Whales (which include Dolphins & Porpoises) have sleek, streamlined bodies that move easily through the water. They are the only mammals, other than manatees (better known as the Seacow), that live their entire lives in the water, and the only mammals that have adapted to life in the open oceans. Like all mammals, whales have lungs and they breathe air. They are warm-blooded, have a four-chambered heart, and nurse their young with milk from the mother. Unlike fish which swim by moving their tail left and right, whales swim by moving their flukes or tail flippers up and down.
Female whales reach sexual maturity between 6 and 11 years old. Pregnancies usually last about a year and rarely is more than one calf born in a season. Though whale calves can swim at or soon after birth, mother whales protect and feed them for up to 12 months. At birth, the young calves are frequently mottled in color and have a sparse covering of hair which they lose as adults. A typical whale's lifespan is between 20 and 40 years though some may live to be 80.
Have a look at a size comparison chart for the largest mammal to ever live, the Blue Whale.

The Minke Whale was named after an infamous 18th-century Norwegian whaler who regularly broke the rules concerning the types and sizes of whales that he was permitted to hunt (commercially at that time bigger was better). Soon all the small whales became known as 'Minke's whales'.
• Minkes are the only baleen whale that is still hunted commercially. Japanese and Norwegian whalers kill a few hundred each year for scientific purposes and for meat.
• The Minke whale has a remarkable song that sounds very mechanical, causing some problems for military sonar listening for submarines during WWII. (many a whale has been Sunk!)

The smallest of the rorqual or large baleen whales, Minke whales were generally ignored as a commercial species until quite recently. As the larger whales became more scarce (and gained more protected status) Minkes have become more economically attractive. Though opposed by many countries, including the United States, Norway and Japan continue to legally hunt Minkes for both scientific and commercial purposes taking a few hundred each year.
Found throughout the world's oceans, from the Arctic to the Antarctic Minkes are by far the most abundant baleen (or filter-feeding) whales in the Southern Ocean. They can be observed traveling alone or in small groups in areas of high food availability. During the summer months, dense concentrations of Minkes are often found in southern waters where they feed close to the edge of the polar pack ice, often in bays or estuaries. In winter, most animals move north to the lower latitudes.

Minkes have a narrow v-shaped head with a sharply pointed snout, relatively short flippers (only reaching one-eighth their body length), and a tall dorsal fin They have black or dark grey backs with white bellies. A distinguishing feature is the pale-grey, diagonal blazing on the flanks, one above and behind the flippers and one in front of the fin. As with all baleen whales, the females are slightly larger than the males.
Minkes are excellent swimmers sometimes reaching speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They are known to approach slow-moving or stationary vessels.

Check out these images or listen to their sounds

Or download a movie in Windows Media Player or Real Player format: these files are 877kbytes and 1.7mbytes in size respectively, broadband recommended

Click on Links below






Whale watching trips

Diving in the Sound

Contact us

Other Links


Minke Whale images
(click on image to view)

Minke 1

Minke 2

Minke 3

Minke 4

Minke 5


Other Whales

Orca 1

Orca 2

Sperm Whale

Whale from air

Whale feeding




Sound Files
(click on link to listen)












Minke Whale File 1




Minke Whale File 2




Minke Whale File 3




Minke Whale File 4



Listen to some other Whales

Orca 1

Blue 1


Audio Spectrum Analysis of Sound files
In general, all "calls" attributed to minke whales consist of very rapid sequences (lasting about a minute altogether) of short frequency-modulated (FM) pulses, in the frequency range of 30 to 450 Hz, with durations of 100-200 msec each. Two types of pulse sequences are most common:
- In one type of "call", the pulse rate starts fast and ends slower (minke file 1)
- In the second type, the pulse rate starts slow and ends faster (minke file 2) Pulse sequences occur over a wide frequency range, and there are many variations of the pulse rate:
- minke file 3 depicts a pulse sequence in which the pulse rate is relatively constant.
- minke file 4 depicts a pulse sequence in which pulse rate varies during the "call".
Pulse sequences often occur in pairs with sequence pairs separated by several minutes. "Calls" (both paired or unpaired) with nearly identical features are usually repeated regularly every 6-12 minutes.