Underwater photographer Keri Wilk was swimming with sperm whales off the coast of Dominica in March 2014 when found he found himself capturing something rather unexpected: a massive whale “defecation event.”
The 30-year-old Canadian photographer says he and a diving group he was leading had managed to swim up to one of the gentle giants for a closer look before the “poopsplosion” occurred. They managed to snap a number of close-up photographs with the whale:
All of a sudden, the whale repositioned its body, pointed its tail towards the surface, and the “epic bowel movement” began.
Wilk says he believes what he captured was one of the whale’s defense mechanisms, perhaps similar to what squid and octopuses do with ink. It “pooped out an incredible amount of feces” and then “proceeded to stir it around by swimming in circles and bobbing up and down.”
The cloud of poop became so dense in the water that Wilk couldn’t see his hand or his camera. It ended up getting everywhere: inside his mount, eyes, and wetsuit. He was “soaked in the poop from head to toe,” he says.
The blinding cloud eventually grew to an area roughly 100 feet in diameter. Wilk created an animated GIF of the event out of a sequence of photographs:
Here are some of the images Wilk captured during the same trip to the coast of Dominica without a poop haze interfering with his shots:
Image credits: Photographs by Keri Wilk and used with permission