Beluga Whales with Calves | Oil and the Whales | 2006 | 59 in. x 74 in.

Early July 2006, between Kasegaluk and Oomalik lagoons, along the Chukchi Sea coast, Alaska. Kasegaluk lagoon, along the northern Chukchi Sea coast is one of the most important lagoon systems in the circumpolar Arctic. The lagoon is one hundred twenty–five miles long, and five rivers drain into the lagoon creating a unique and rich ecological habitat for a host of species. An estimated sixty thousand beluga whales migrate through and spend the summer months in the Chukchi Sea. About four thousand of those animals are known to calve along the Kasegaluk Lagoon and the small Oomalik lagoon just south of it. The lagoon and its nearby habitat is important for a host of nesting birds and also serve as staging area for birds that come to the lagoon in late summer from the Teshekpuk Lake wetland. On this day in early July, we had seen nearly one thousand whales with newborn calves within a one–mile stretch along the Chukchi Sea coast.