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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Beluga Whales

Published: February 6, 2018

By Mark Seth Lender

(Photo: © Mark Seth Lender)

A clan of beluga wales frolic in the Arctic Ocean. Mark Seth Lender watched them and wrote this blog post.

(Hudson Bay, August 9) Finning and frolicking, and rolling on their sides to get a better view (flukes cutting the water like a blade) a clan of Beluga Whales comes through, so white against that southern arctic ocean blue. They are whiter than foam; whiter than pure white stone. Cavorting and blowing they dive - head breaking free, round as a melon, then the smooth curve of back sounding low.

They have come for the succor of warmer water, here where the Seal River pours out, like a thin thin blanket, light and sweet on the salt sea. It is the color of strong tea, brewed in the dark brown peat of the tundra where the rivulets, rain fed and melt fed, join to seek Hudson Bay. Rich in nutrient here in the mix things breed, tiny things; so many must be taken to nourish a white whale, even one (as whales go) so mignonne as these.

(Photo: © Mark Seth Lender)


Such is the whale as seen from the air by human beings. But to know the whale, you must enter the elemental of the whale. And I do.

For all their numbers, Belugas stern and starboard and off the pot bow, Hudson Bay is still vast. To find a whale you must not only skim the water like a whale, you must sing, like a whale: High. Melodious. And in an instant you are surrounded! Side by side, face to face, eye to eye and me I am floating in every sense that word was ever given, and unwilling, to ever come out again to dry and lonely land.

Back to North Knife: An Expedition to Hudson Bay with Mark Seth Lender


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