Moby-Dick is the real Moby-Dick. A rare white sperm whale, similar to that in Melville’s novel, has been spotted off Jamaica

  • The coast of Jamaica was home to an extremely rare white Sperm Whale.
  • Leo van Toly recorded the rare creature when it rose to surface water.
  • Last sightings of albino Sperm Whales were in 2015 and 2006.
  • The albino sperm whale Mocha Dick inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

In the waters of Jamaica, a rare white sperm-wale, which is the same kind that inspired Moby Dick’s legendary Moby, was seen. 

A video captures the moment when the rare all-white creature, which measures around 30 feet in length, partially emerges from the depths.

Leo van Toly recorded the footage from his Dutch merchant vessel just off Jamaica.

It was later shared by conservation group SOS Dolphin Foundation which described the sighting as ‘special’.

Leo van Toly, who had been sailing on a Dutch merchant vessel off the coast of Jamaica, recorded as a spout of water was visibly blown into the air by a rare white sperm whale through its blowhole

Leo van Toly had been onboard a Dutch merchant ship off Jamaica’s coast. He recorded a visible spouting of water being blown up by an uncommon white sperm whale.

Only the top of the sperm whale could be seen by the shocked witnesses, making it difficult to tell whether the white animal was in fact albino - as the distinctive pink eyes could not be seen

Witnesses were unable to see more than the top of sperm whale, which made it hard for them to know if albino was actually white.

Albino whales can be easily identified by their distinct pink eyes. However, the video footage is too far away and it’s difficult to 100% confirm that they are albino.

A possible reason could also be the fact that certain whales have leucism. This is a condition in which some animals lose some of their pigmentation and give them a white appearance. 

Albino Sperm Whale sightings are extremely rare. The last time they were seen was in 2015. 

Mocha Dick is a notorious white sperm-wale known for its ability to survive in the Pacific Ocean up until the late 19th century.

The whale was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, which was published 1851.

Captain Ahab is seen having one leg bitten by Moby Dick in his novel. This leads him to chase the mysterious animal around the globe, who can also shapeshift as a book character. 

At one point, the sperm whale sent a small amount of water spiraling upwards after firing air out of its blowhole

After blowing air into its blowhole, the sperm Whale sent water upwards at one time.

Sightings of albino sperm whales are incredibly rare, with the last recorded previous occasion taking place in 2015 - and 2006 before that

Albino Sperm Whale sightings are extremely rare. The last time they were seen was in 2015.

A white humpback whale named Migaloo has been seen in waters offshore of Australia’s coast since 1991.

The average sperm whale is 60ft long and has teeth bigger than most other animals.

They are usually grey or black in color, so it is not uncommon to see an all-white one.

The largest brain size of all known animals, sperm whales are also the most intelligent. This allows them to communicate with each other via clicking in a wide variety of languages. 

The Guardian was told by Hal Whitehead, an expert on sperm whales. He said he has never seen one that had a completely white surface.

He said, “I’ve seen some with quite a bit of white, often in patches near the belly.”

Sperm whales (stock image) are normally found to be grey, black or brown in colour and can grow to up to 60ft in length

Stock image: Sperm whales can be found in grey, brown or black colours.

Moby-Dick’s inspiration came from real albino Sperm Whales 

Helman Melville drew on a number of sources for inspiration when writing Moby-Dick – including his own time working on the whaler ‘Acushnet’.

The character of Moby-Dick was based on two real-life events, the first being the sinking of the Nantucket ship ‘Essex’ in 1820, after a sperm whale rammed her 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America.

Melville’s second inspiration was Mocha Dick’s alleged murder in the 1930s.

Mocha Dick was an albino sperm whale that lived in the Pacific Ocean until the 19th century – when it was claimed to have been killed off the coast of Mocha, a Chilean island.

Herman Melville's Moby Dick

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Mocha Dick, who had been killed in previous attempts, was found with around 20 harpoons.

Mocha Dick attacked ships who were too close in what was believed to be premeditated attacks. 

Moby Dick’s forehead and hump are highlighted in the book.

It is believed that the rest of the animal’s body will be covered with grey and white stripes. 

Moby-Dick, a novel by Ishmael is told through a character who joins the whaling vessel called the “Pequod”.

This book examines Ahab’s obsession with Moby Dick. Moby had previously bit the Captain’s leg in an earlier encounter. 

Moby Dick, the Pequod crew and their three-day battle ensue before Moby Dick is able destroy the ship.

Except for Ishmael onboard the whalers, all characters are killed during the encounter. 

Melville’s description of Moby Dick in color is seen as an attack on slavery in North America, according to some critics.