Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) are the second largest species of whale. They have been known to grow to up to 85 feet long!!! They are also commonly known as finners, finbacks, and common rorquals; however, their extraordinary speed has earned them their most fitting nickname,  “greyhounds of the sea.” These speedsters are able to reach speeds of up to 40 km/h (approximately 25 mph) while traveling through the Atlantic ocean. This is due to their remarkable streamline bodies and powerful tails. If you’ve ever seen a finner out on a whale watch, you’ll truly understand how far they can travel in such a short amount of time!

Other physical characteristics: they have a sleek, long body which minimizes drag while swimming, their flukes (tails) are wide and propel them efficiently through the water, and they have distinctive asymmetrical colouring on the underside of their jaw. The left side of the lower jaw on a fin whale is dark, while the right side is white or light grey.

In the expansive realm of marine life, fin whales stand out as true champions of speed. Their title as the “greyhounds of the sea” reflects not only their remarkable velocity but also the awe-inspiring spectacle they create as they gracefully navigate the world’s oceans. Witnessing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a testament to the wonders of the marine world and the incredible adaptations that enable these gentle giants to be the true athletes of the sea. All of us marvel at their beauty and speed whenever we get a chance to spot  them out on the water at Whale Camp.