The Sei Whales, which remain on the endangered species list, were seen by Silversonic about 2.5 kms west of Agincourt 3 Reef. Shane Down, Skipper of Silversonic said "The adult was approximately 15-18 metres long and the calf 6-7 metres long. It appeared the mother was cruising and the calf was playing and trying to engage mum in her antics. They were about 150 metres from the vessel and it is quite early in the season to see these whales."
Quicksilver marine biologist and Environment Compliance Manager Doug Baird, said they are quite inquisitive and the key to identifying a Sei Whale is through the distinguishing feature of a single ridge extending from the blowholes to the tip of the upper jaw.
Silversonic had first recorded sighting one of these rare whales in January 2008 and our last sighting was in January 2012.
The Sei (pronounced "say") Whales are among the more elusive of the large whales and are rarely seen inshore preferring the deeper oceans. They are one of the fastest whales with bursts of speed up to 55km/hr. The Sei Whale is very similar in appearance to the Fin and Brydes whales being long, streamlined and having a V - shaped head which is flat on top.
Growing up to 20 metres and 30 tonnes, they are the third largest of the baleen whales, after the Blue Whale and the Fin Whale. Their body is dark grey with a paler underside. It has twin blowholes with a low splashguard to the front.
The Sei Whale is a filter feeder, feeding on small schooling fish, squid and crustaceans. It feeds by swimming at a relatively high speed, opening its jaw which causes it to engulf up to 18,000 gallons of water. It then closes its jaw and pushes the water back out its mouth through the baleen, allowing the water to leave while trapping the prey. They can consume up to 2 tons of food per day.
In general, the Sei whale migrates annually from cool and subpolar waters in summer to temperate and subtropical waters for winter, where food is more abundant and mating occurs. The Sei Whale is on the endangered species list with reports of less than 54,000 in the world.