Four free divers on a government-approved expedition got the shock of their lives while in the waters off the small island of Dominica. They spotted a sperm whale nearby and immediately began taking photos, when a startling event occurred.
“Four of us got into the water near the whale, then it slowly approached us, stopped, and pointed itself straight down before [the] storm began,” said 30-year-old Canadian photographer Keri Wilk. “At first, it seemed like a regular bowel movement but rather than continuing its dive down, it remained at the surface and continued to defecate for a startling length of time.”
This underwater bowl movement swelled into a massive cloud — over 30 meters, or 98 feet, in diameter — caused by the whale spinning on its side and flapping its tail. The blast engulfed the group in what Wilk described as a “Poonado.”
While it’s not uncommon for whales to defecate before they descend, the specific actions of this mammal are leading some to believe that it was performing a rarely-seen defense mechanism.
“I’ve never heard of it happening before, and I don’t know anyone that has had this happen. It very well could be the first time that it has been photographically documented,” said Wilk. “The water was crystal clear, initially, and was the most idyllic Caribbean blue water that you could imagine. After a few waves of feces were released and stirred vigorously by the whale, the water was like chocolate milk. I couldn’t see my hand when I held it in front of my face.”
Making matters worse? Wilk dives using only goggles and a snorkel because the bubbles from scuba diving equipment can disturb the whales. While the ocean water eventually washed away the excrement and didn’t leave any lingering odors, Wilk did add that he took an extra long shower once he’d returned to shore.
More Photos: Caters News Agency, via The Daily Mail