Thar she blows~~~~~~~~~ A Minke Whale North of Whitby

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

The North Sea is often visited by large numbers of Minke whales, especially during the summer months when the huge herring shoals migrate to spawn all along the UK east coast. As an off-shore angler, I regularly saw various species of whales, dolphins and porpoise and two types of seal..The day this photo was taken, I counted upwards of 30 minke whales feeding off the herring shoals which could be easily seen on my fish-finder (SONAR) screen laying on the ocean bed, several metres thick. One whale, a huge creature about nine metres long, surfaced within a few metres of my seven metre boat, I could almost have touched it. The stench from its blow-hole will never be forgotten.

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Comments (36)

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>| Micha |< on May 18, 2009

Wonderful moment. I enjoy this splendid capture.

Best wishes Micha

Jim Evans (AXOTA) on May 18, 2009

It was a wonderful moment Micha, I hope to capture some more whales soon ;>)

Many thanks ;>)


>| Micha |< on May 18, 2009

I hope for you too and then again witch camera. ;-))

Best wishes Micha

su.schle. on June 8, 2009

this is so beautiful and inspiring. Exactly what I need at the moment... Best of Best wishes, susan

Sterntaucher on July 4, 2009

Hej Jim... wow, that must have been a wonderful day on the sea! These animals are really beautiful and in the best meaning of the word magnificent (which does not 100% catch the meaning of the german word "großartig"). I hope that one day i will have such a luck too. I saw some purpoises in Jutland in Denmark 20 years ago. The were hunting flatfish very close to the beach (i was sitting on a bunker...). Even that was a day i never will forget. I lived in the city of Kiel for many years. From time to time (and more often in the last years) there were young finners, a pot whale and some dolphins on a dangerous visit. The ship-traffic on the Firth of Kiel is one of the most intensive in Europe and it's difficult for these big animals to find food in the Baltic Sea. Unfortunately i was not at home when these whales were there... :-) Did you know, that people from Schleswig-Holstein had a long tradition to catch whales together with english, scottish and irish whalers? Even in the traditional music of our westcoast your can hear these relations.

Kind regards, Mathias

Jim Evans (AXOTA) on July 12, 2009

Hello and welcome w.tanschlesinger. If you felt up-lifted at this Susan then I am delighted. There are many people who go to great lengths in their quest to see whales, often without success. I am fortunate in encountering these fantastic creatures several times during any one year. I too, feel humbled by their appearance!!

Greetings dear Sterntaucher!!

The sea holds many secrets and surprises Mathias and for me, to see these amazing mammals is a great gift, much more satisfying than any fish caught! Everything stops when I hear the whales, for that is always the very first sign. When these creatures blow through their air vents, the noise can be heard for miles. If they get very close, the stench of their breath is awful! Your comments regarding the killing of whales is most interesting, Whaling from my home port was big business in the 18th and 19th centuries.

William Scoresby was a famous hunter of whales and there was a large processing plant in the town!

The only link to the past whaling history is the whale bone arch just here

Thank you both for dropping in ;>)

Kind regards


Sterntaucher on July 19, 2009

Greetings dear Jim!

Yeah, that's true. And it must be great and wonderful to have the chance to see these beautiful creatures so close... :-)On the cemeteries in Northern Frisia, on the island Föhr for example, you can find many memories of these whaling-times...

Kind regards my friend, Mathias

Jim Evans (AXOTA) on June 25, 2010

You did well to see it in Google Earth's not every one who looks at the empty sea ;>))

Yes!! of course, to see something like this is a privilege..The whales are quite common in the North Sea..especially during the summer months when the herring amass in great shoals..These denizens of the deep just gorge themselves!! They often come very close to the boat, spouting within just a few yards...Their breath smells absolutely revolting...Thanks for your visit and nice comment ;>)


JoelleGiannoni on January 13, 2011

Wow, not everyone can say he saw this for real!!! Great meeting and perfect shot at the right moment!!! Cheers! Joelle

Closed on February 6, 2011

Are you sure it's a whale Jim ;>)?

Or is it a mermaid? Pretty amazing capture feller! :)

Jim Evans (AXOTA) on February 7, 2011

JoelleGiannoni~~~~Whale watching has become a very popular attraction for those lucky enough to see them Joelle ;>)..This day I was fishing in my seven metre motor boat some eight kilometres from my home port..The sea was placid and the air was very still..I heard the whales spouting all around me and was hoping for one to surface nearby..This one was several hundred metres away from my boat..There were at least 20 to 25 whales feeding on the huge herring shoals that are now plentiful in the North Sea.

A huge whale surfaced so close to my boat that I could have stepped onto its back..The smell from its vent was disgusting and I was too shocked to even think about my camera..It actually looked me in the eye..Respect Joelle! Respect! and I do!

GordJessPhotos~~~~We have a number of different species visiting our coast line GG..Minkies, Humpbacks, Pilots and of course, there are dolphins and porpoises too..I'm going miss all that--big time!

Kind regards to you both !


Diggory Venn on February 12, 2011

Hi Jim! I saw one when serving in the Soviet NavI!It was at the Japan Sea, cold winter morning I entered forecastle and HE looked at my eyes!I shivered to the bones!.....

Peter_private_box on February 19, 2011

Hi Jim

I don't know how I have missed your gallery before, but I am really impressed with what I have seen. I visit Whitby once or twice a year, and I am amazed at how well you have presented the area. I will be back for a better look soon.

This whale too has impressed me. I've seen them in Iceland. Went out on a boat like this, but not been able to get as good a picture as this. (Funnily enough, an identical pose, just that your picture is musch clearer, and gets a 'like' for that!)

I will be back!! Best Wishes Peter

Jim Evans (AXOTA) on March 23, 2011

My sincere apologies for taking too long to respond!

Diggory Venn~~~Greetings Digg...A close encounter with something so big can be somewhat intimidating!! especially when they are much bigger than my boat!

Peterprivatebox~~~Thanks Peter, I am pleased to meet you and you will always find a welcome in these pages! I have lived most of my life in Whitby, therefore I know it very well. As for this was one of a very large number which had accumulated to feed off the huge herring shoals which feature all along the east coast during the summer months! They are not a commercial viable in the UK since the ban on herring fishing was imposed thirty years ago! The markets no longer exist

Thanks guys! I enjoyed your friendly visits and great comments!


Marco Callini on April 23, 2012

Bellissime foto, complimenti! Marco

Arpad Dudas on October 15, 2012

Beautiful photo :-)


Greetings, Arpad

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Photo taken in Goldsborough Ln, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO21 3RX, UK

Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 2, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Jim Evans (AXOTA)
    • Camera: NIKON E8700
    • Taken on 2008/09/26 11:03:07
    • Exposure: 0.001s (1/1000)
    • Focal Length: 8.90mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO50
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash