Canaries of the Sea

With their prominently large melon and bright white color, the beluga whale is the easiest whale species to recognize and probably the most familiar. Also called white whales, belugas are actually born gray or brownish in color, fading to white by the time they are 5 years old. They are nicknamed “sea canaries” due to their distinct, and unique vocalization of loud squawks, whistles, squeals, and clucking, filling the sea with beautiful music.

One of the smallest whale species, belugas are commonly sighted in the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean, though they do migrate south into subarctic waters when the sea freezes over. They are well adapted to their environment, using their white color to blend in with the ice and lack of a dorsal fin to swim under the ice with ease. These exuberant whales have a long history of human interaction, like the dolphin, and are seen in many marine parks throughout the world. They are highly social, traveling in family pods of 10-25 individuals. If diving with beluga whales is on your bucket list, grab your drysuit and check out the dive sites on the map below where belugas have been seen.