Voyage to the Arctic: A Whaler's Tale

What is Whaling?

Whaling is the hunting and killing of whales. Whales are marine mammals - this means that they are creatures that live in the sea, and give birth to live young (rather than an egg).


When did whaling start?

Whaling has been done all over the world for thousands of years, but whaling in Britain started in the late 1500s. Other European countries had a whaling industry too - France, Spain, Denmark, Holland and Germany. Eventually everyone was competing against each other!


What type of whales were caught?

The type of whale that was generally hunted by whale ships from Hull was called the 'Greenland Right Whale'- it was called the 'right' whale simply because it was the right whale to catch! It is also known as the Arctic Whale or the Bowhead Whale.


The Right Whale is a 'baleen' whale, this means that it does not have teeth like other whales. Baleen looks a bit like a comb, and sits between the whaleís jaws. This allows them to filter krill (tiny sea creatures) from the seawater to eat. Baleen is made of a substance called keratin, just like human fingernails and hair!


Handle baleen and other exciting objects during the 'Voyage to the Arctic: A Whaler's Tale' led session! Click here to go to led session information.


The Right Whale can grow to 20 metres (66ft) in length and can weigh up to 136 tonnes (152 tons). The Right Whale spends all of its life in the fertile Arctic waters, unlike other whales that migrate (move from one place to another).

Document icon Learning article provided by: Hull Maritime Museum | 
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