One of the great experiences of our Spitsbergen Holiday was the encounter we had with a Minke Whale when we were in a zodiac.
The minke whale is the second smallest of the baleen whales - only the pygmy right whale is smaller.Estimates of maximum length vary from 9.1 m to 10.7 m (28'10" to 35'1") for females and 8.8 m to 9.8 m (28'8" 10" to 32'5") for males. Both sexes typically weigh 4-5 tons at maturity, and the maximum weight may be as much as 14 tonnes.
Because of their relative abundance they are still hunted in the guise of "scientific study" by Japan, Iceland and Norway. Japan in particular would like to end the hunting ban. This is situation that very civilised person must find deeply depressing. See the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.