There’s a unique and dangerous sea creature that prowls the waters of the Arctic. Few have ever heard of it.
Photographying the extremely rare and endangered whalloon is an experience few have enjoyed. I had the incredible opportunity to go to the far north and search for this elusive creature.
The eight-foot-long predator is ideally suited for a harsh environment. It has a layer of fat and slow metabolism that allow it to live in an ecosystem where ice and freezing temperatures are all too common. Few humans ever venture where the whalloon plies the deep waters. But I was game!
The obvious problem with trying to spot whales of any kind is that they hide under the water. With just seconds required to get air before diving again, the opportunities of seeing anything is limited. Thankfully the whalloon has a patterned camouflaged back which, ironically, makes it easier to see on the water.
I nearly froze after days of getting whipped around by the wind as our captain skillfully manoeuvred around giant ice floes. Just when hope was receding, I spotted a whalloon. With frozen fingers I tripped the shutter and cracked a smile through frosty lips. I got what I came to see!
OK that may not be exactly what happened. A few days ago, I drove a couple hours north and was completely surprised to find ice still on the lake. While photographing loons, I had to chuckle that they appeared headless when starting their dive. Somehow it reminded me of whales and the rare whalloon was born. A story about finding a whallon seemed much more fun than explaining how I missed another shot.