Sperm whale mother and albino baby swimming off the coast of Portugal
© Flip Nicklin/Minden Picture
Celebrating a whale of a tale
A sperm whale surfaces in the North Atlantic as her young albino calf swims beside her. It's a rare photo opportunity as these majestic creatures spend much of their time deep down, over 1,000ft below the waves. On this day in 1841, a young Herman Melville set out from New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA, on a whaling voyage to the South Pacific which would help inspire his masterwork Moby-Dick. The day is celebrated at the New Bedford Whaling Museum with an annual marathon public reading of the novel - an event that lasts 25 hours.
Though the calf in the photo may resemble Melville's fearsome white sperm whale, the whale family is nowhere near Massachusetts or the Pacific. They’re on the other side of the planet - in Portuguese waters - and we had to go a fair distance to find them. Little Moby Jr is a rare sight, since albinism only appears in about one in 10,000 mammal births and the worldwide sperm whale population stands at only about 300,000.