How long can a whale stay under water?

Though the whale lives in water, it is not a fish. It can stay beneath the surface for as long as about twenty minutes, but it must then come up to breathe. Before taking in fresh air it first breaths out through the blowhole (or holes) which usually opens on the top of the head. As the hot, exhaust air is expelled it becomes steamy as it condenses in the atmosphere. Sometimes, before a whale quite reaches the surface, a cloud of spray is thrown up by its exhalation, and ‘there she blows!’ cries the lookout on the whaler.

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