Photo: Shutterstock/Lilian Mai Potvin

Meet Australia's Real-Life Moby Dick

Sydney Travel
by Matt Hershberger Jul 23, 2014

A famous white whale appeared off the coast of Australia last month, and notably did not terrorize any monomaniacal sea captains before biting off their legs and sinking their ships. Because yes, world, there is more than one famous white whale.

Migaloo, unlike Herman Melville’s famous Moby-Dick, is not a dick, and is generally thought of as a relatively friendly cetacean. Migaloo is Aboriginal Australian for “white fella,” and is one of the world’s only known albino humpback whales.

He’s been showing up off the coast of eastern Australia for over 20 years now, and is believed to be around 25 years old.

The whale has created no small amount of public interest, on account of not being particularly camera shy, and as a result has a Twitter account that follows him as well as a Soundcloud recording of his song.

There are three other known white humpback whales, but Migaloo is probably the most social. There are at least two off the coast of Australia, one named Bahloo and one calf called Migaloo, Jr. There’s also a white humpback near Norway known as Willow.


The other three whales have tiny black spots on them, however, which makes Migaloo the only known all-white humpback whale. There are probably more white humpbacks in the ocean, but they are very rare.


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