My close encounter with the population of walrus on the eastern side of the White Island (Kvitøya) was magical! First and foremost the sheer numbers, as this is a species that has been so severely hunted in the past that it was headed for extinction. For this reason it was protected in Norway in 1952.

What first appeared as yet another male colony was in fact full of mothers and calves! This is a thriving colony with many generations of Walrus. A great sign of a recovering species.

This individual was one of so many that swam up close to the zodiac and some seemed like they regarded it as a visitor of their own species, as no threat or nervous behavior was seen from them. Instead, the mothers, sometimes several together, swam up to us with their calves to show them, and when they thought it was enough, then embraced them with a flipper to show – come here now little one – let’s dive.

The only ice here at this latitude (80.13 N) was from the ice sheet of Kvitøya, as the ocean is so warm that the sea ice is long gone. Just 10 years a go I was unable to get to this location by boat, and now we can get further and further to the north in the summer

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: NIKON D4S
  • Focal length: 700mm
  • ISO: 160
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250 s