Photographer: Vyacheslav Zametnya
Text: Vyacheslav Zametnya
Translator: Ekaterina Kurova
From Vyacheslav Zametni’s diary:
July 9, 2014
“I have dreamed about killer whales before going to sea. And after couple of fruitless days we have met several families at once at the Luzhin’s Strait. We filmed the material we needed for identification, took biopsy and made recordings of vocal dialects. Everything went well.
We stopped working in the late afternoon due to saltatory meteorological conditions. Heavy fog has started to fall on Luzhin’s Strait. The sight distance has sharply worsened. There was a wall of milky fog around our boat, and loud languishing sighs of killer whales were coming from there. Unusual sounds were coming from all around. At once the ocean created by Tarkovsky in “Solaris” came into my view.
There was no chance to locate our lost boat in this fog, and we have decided to go back to the camp, staying close to each other. After a short talk-in our motor flotilla started a return journey. It turned out that in pursuit of killer whales we have moved almost 40 km away from the base.
We have started monotonously bouncing on the waves in the heavy fog. Suddenly someone shouted: “Humpbacks!” I peered into the fog and saw gigantic shadows quickly shooting past in the dense loom… I was scared.
We reached the possible location of whales and silenced engines. Anticipation flowed ponderously. We were literally boring holes in the space around us. Silence hung, and we could hear the sound of the boat swinging on the waves. I was standing on the prow turning my head in all directions. Tension mounted.
At once, tearing the weave of ocean, a whale of royal dimensions flew out from the depth. The seagulls that were flying above the water were demolished as if by a blast. The humpback whale was flapping his white fins in the air. Time stood still; the whale was doing chandelle. It turned around and crashed on its back, and the wave spread from the swirl it has made.
Later biologists told us that it was a female with its baby. And the “infant” was playing with us. It could easily have turned over our boat as if it was made out of paper».