Mariners who spend lots of time at sea are witness to all sorts of amazing sights, but very rarely does one get to witness the almost mythical white whale. Dan Fisher has seen and documented this animal. While crewing aboard the three-masted SV Antigua in August, in the waters of Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, Fisher made the sighting of what looks to be a pure white humpback whale from high on the mast. (For whatever reason, Fisher waited until recently to release his footage and share his story. These are his images, Wildlife Extra. Scroll down for video.)
Rare white humpback whale as seen by Dan Fisher from the mast of the SV Antigua.
The whale first appeared as a white hump on the horizon, and was swimming with other humpbacks.
“As I realized it was a white whale, I was amazed,” Fisher told the Daily Mail. “I quickly climbed the mast to get a good vantage point and captured these pictures. Afterwards we were all talking and decided to dub him Willow the white whale.”
News of the sighting began circulating on the Internet this week.
White whales are rare and the most famous among them, of course, is Moby Dick, a fictional sperm whale in the 1851 Herman Melville classic novel of the same name.
More recently, a white humpback known as Migaloo has been spotted sporadically off Queensland, Australia. A white humpback calf also has been seen off Queensland. According to Wildlife Extra there have been reports of white killer whales off Alaska and Russia (possibly the same animal), white right whale calves off South Australia and an albino dolphin off Louisiana.
The white humpback spotted by Fisher, who is Welsh, is either an albino or its coloration could be the result of a condition known as leucism, in which pigmentation cells fail to properly develop. Albinos are totally white and usually have red or pink eyes.
Fisher, 32, who for the past 10 years has worked as a maritime engineer, referred to the sighting as a “once-in-a-lifetime spot” and added: “I saw lots of humpbacks this year, but nothing as spectacular as this one.”
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