Laguna Beach is home to spectacular sights. One of those is a visit from a minke whale. Just this week, a minke whale breached 11 times off the shore of Laguna Beach.

What’s Special About a Minke?

Minkes are part of the baleen whale family. And, they are the smallest of the rorquals. The scientific name for minkes is Balaenoptera acutorostrata. That means winged whale with a sharp snout. The name “minke” comes from the amateur whale spotter from Norway named Meincke, who actually is believed to have mistaken the minke for a blue whale.

This beautiful species can be as long as 35 feet and weigh up to 20,000 lbs. So, even though they are on the small side for whales, they are still pretty big. Their body is dark with a white underbelly and they have a pale chevron on their back behind their head but above their flippers. The calves are just a bit darker than their full-grown counterparts.

What is the minke’s status?

While not endangered, the minke whales are on protected status. But, some oceanographers believe that their population has been depleted due to modern hunting and whaling practices.

How do they live?

Minke whales move around in small groups of two or three, but pods of up to 400 have been seen together nearer to the poles. They feed on plankton, crustaceans, and small schooling fish like herring, mackerel, anchovies, and wolfish.

Known for their vocalizations as grunts, clicks, ratchets, thumps, pulse trains, and more recently discovered boings, sounds differ by sub-species and geographic location.

When they surface, they do not have a large spray, but offer a blow that is about six to ten feet in the air. Their quick, fluid movement often creates a rooster-tail-like spray when diving in and out at high speeds.

You can read more about the minke whales at the NOAA website here. To whale watch off Laguna Beach, check out these resources.

Live Where Seeing Whales is Normal

Live in Laguna Beach. Here, you’ll find that natural beauty and extraordinary sights are part of life.

If you’re looking for the best place to live with access to the beach, check out these homes on the market right now.