The blue whale is the largest animal on the planet. It can weigh as much as 200 tons, needs to eat nearly four tons of krill each day, and boasts a call that reaches 188 decibels — louder than a jet engine.
Until the second half of the 20th century, these whales were hunted nearly to extinction by the Norwegians, Japanese and Russians. By around 2011, numbers worldwide were believed to be around 10,000 to 25,000, an approximately 90% reduction compared to 1911.
Since the commercial whaling ban in 1966, threats to these massive creatures have decreased. But they are still endangered due to environmental change, and because they can can be hit by ships and become caught in large-scale fishing equipment.
Today, various subspecies of blue whale are found in parts of the Antarctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. For the most spectacular blue-whale-watching experience, book an Iceland boat tour in June or July. Watching these massive creatures swim under the midnight sun off Iceland’s north coast will take your breath away.