Bone-Chilling Pic of Whale Graveyard Wins Scuba Diving Photo Contest

by Tia Bailey
Photo by: Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A chilling underwater photo has won a scuba diving photo contest. The photo features a whale graveyard. A Swedish photographer shared the photos.

Alex Dawson won the first place prize in Scuba Diving’s 2022 Underwater Photo Contest Wide Angle category. Dawson shared the photos in a tweet. He wrote: “I’m very honored that Scuba Diving Magazine choose my image as a winner of 2022 in the wide-angle category. Last but not least another image also got awarded with an honorable mention. And a big thank you for the first prize onboard the luxurious Red Sea Aggressor III in 2023.”

The photos are very dark, and show whale skeletons and bones in the deep, dark water. Someone responded to the tweet, asking: “WHAT?! Where is that first pic?! WHAT ARE THOSE BONES FROM?!?!?” Another Twitter user replied to them, explaining: “Whale fall. They make their own ecosystems. Very cool. Never seen two together like that.”

Dawson spoke to Newsweek about the images.

“When I capture images I want to create ‘I wish I was there’ feelings. That’s my mantra,” Dawson told the publication.

Swedish Photographer Wins Underwater Photo Award

Dawson took the photos at the bay of Tasiilaq, Greenland. According to Newsweek, locals know the area as flenseplassen, which roughly translates to “skinning grounds.” The area is where “local Inuit hunters collect their carcasses and strip them down to the bare bones. When the tide is high, they pull what remains back into the water.”

“Usually to see whale bones like this you would need a submarine,” Dawson said.

However, in Greenland, they are only 15-20 feet below the surface. Dawson and his companion Anna Von Boetticher swan among 20 whale carcasses in the icy water to capture the chilling photos.

Although the images are definitely scary, they are also stunning. Because many people would normally not experience something like this, it makes the photos extra special.

Whales Rescued Amidst Mass-Beaching

Over in Australia, wildlife experts rescued 32 whales that were stranded on a beach. Over 200 whales had mysteriously become stranded on the beach, with almost 200 of them dying.

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service manager Brendon Clark shared a statement about the situation.

“Of the 35 that were remaining alive this morning, we’ve managed to refloat, rescue and release … 32 of those animals, and so that’s a terrific result,” Clark told reporters late Thursday at nearby Strahan. “We still have three alive on the far northern end of Ocean Beach, but because of access restrictions, predominantly tidal influences, we just haven’t been able to access those three animals safely today. But they’ll be our priority in the morning.”

Although this isn’t usual for most places, this is the second time this has happened at this beach. Because of this, locals have nicknamed the area “Hell’s Gate.”

About two years ago, 470 pilot whales washed up on the beach. Wildlife experts rescued 111 of them.

“These mass stranding events are typically the result of accidental sort of coming to shore. And that’s through a whole host of reasons,” Marine Conservation Program biologist Kris Carlyon said.