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part one: paul nicklen on the spring narwhal migration

"i have been traveling to northern baffin island for more than 12 years to try and get one underwater picture of a male narwhal. narwhals are very shy. they have a sensitive nature and excellent echolocation. you can see hundreds passing by the ice edge, but when you slip into the water, you may never see one.

"late one afternoon, i had been in the -1.7°C water for a couple of hours, and i was freezing so badly that my legs and arms were cramping up. i couldn’t feel my lips around my snorkel, so i just stared into the black 2,000-foot abyss trying not to think about how cold i was.

"then, out of the corner of my eye, i noticed something bright traveling through the murky water. i turned my head, and there they were: several male narwhals, swimming in beautiful formation. i put my frozen finger on the shutter and, as i was about to take the picture, the narwhal closest to me let out a stream of bubbles. i snapped the picture in what was the most incredible moment of the assignment." 

of note, the tusk of the narwhal is actually a tooth that grows in a spiral, and is thought to have evolved from sexual selective pressures, not for defensive reasons.

part two: the narwhal hunt

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    One time when I was 8 I made a Narwhal snowman.
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    I used to wonder if sailors (or as my mother once remarked, “Pirates”) cut off their horns and told others that they...
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