Story at a glance

  • A Dutch merchant ship off the coast of Jamaica captured video of an all-white sperm whale swimming in the Caribbean.
  • The sighting has drawn comparisons to Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick” — the story of a sailor driven mad by his obsessive quest to enact revenge on Moby Dick, a large, white sperm whale that had previously bitten off his leg below the knee.
  • Sperm whales are typically grey or blackish, making the all-white whale a notable sight.

It was the stuff of legends and renowned books.

A Dutch merchant ship off the coast of Jamaica captured video of an all-white sperm whale swimming in the Caribbean.

Leo van Toly, who was on board the ship, recorded the sight initially made famous by Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick" - the story of a sailor driven mad by his obsessive quest to enact revenge on Moby Dick, a large, white sperm whale that had previously bitten off his leg below the knee.

Sperm whales are typically grey or blackish, making the all-white whale a notable sight.

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"I don't think I've ever seen a fully white sperm whale," Hal Whitehead, an expert on sperm whales, told The Guardian. "I have seen ones with quite a lot of white on them, usually in patches on and near the belly."

Sperm whales can grow to 49 to 59 feet and weigh 35 to 45 tons and have the largest brain of any living creature on the planet.

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Published on Dec 01, 2021