9 April 2021

#AntArcticLog: Narwhals, narwhals, swimming in the ocean (& other whales)…

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here

#AntarcticLog was created initially as part of the work I agreed to produce for the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program that the National Science Foundation administers.  That program sent me to Palmer Station, Antarctica, in March to May 2018, as summer ended and winter drew close to setting in.

When I arrived at Palmer Station the two months seemed like a long time. It turns out that it wasn’t nearly long enough. I quickly began to feel that there would never be enough time to explore everything that opened up to me through that experience — the setting, the science, the stories.  That’s why I’m still creating #AntarcticLog, week after week: to keep exploring this extraordinary continent, to expand on the research going on not just there, but worldwide, concerning climate change, and to share what I’m learning about it — from the basic science of it to the complex, from the observations of people in their own backyards to the work of activists around the world.

One thing I never got to do a comic about during the time at Palmer Station were the whales. Whales spouting at a distance…breaching nearby…diving, fluking, flapping…and, in the gray gloom of an early winter morning, taking an audible inhale before disappearing under the surface, ahead of a background of icebergs.  I extended my comic coverage of whales to the Arctic, as well, for the Polar Whale series.  Here are the first three.

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram