Baffin Island: Floe Edge – Narwhals

It was the chance of seeing the mythical narwhals that the Floe Edge is al about. Narwhals are extremely rare small-sized whales that inhabit mostly the Canadian Arctic. Males usually have long straight helically-twisting tusks making them the most bizarre looking animals in the world perhaps. In the middle ages, the few tusks that made it to Europe gave rise the the legends of unicorns and were sold for insane amounts of money, far exceeding diamonds and golds. While I was somehow thinking I would see dozens of narwhals with the tusks poking at the Floe edge, that clearly was unrealistic – it was more like single individuals swimming by the edge and occasionally surfacing (at which point you need to manage to snap a picture). Nevertheless, still managed to see several of them, right on the first day at the Floe Edge. Narwhals are rare, less then 15,000 remain, and the reproduce very slowly at 1 baby every three years, and yet they are really threatened here by both the new mining activity destroying their habitats and breeding grounds and the continued hunting by Inuits for food.