Sophie Maríñez -France/Dominican R./USA-


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The Humpback Whales of Samaná

Sweet almonds half-chewed by the sun fall onto rugged reefs, mix with dry branches and leaves aged gold. The sky wakes like soft lavender spreading over the purple sea.

A siren’s cry calls out in the distance. From the cosmic womb, two giant whales spring up while ahead of them a coveted mate quietly floats. A fifty-foot black mass, she spouts occasional geysers, echoing the shush of foam across the serried waves. Under the sky, competition begins. The males’ pore-covered jaws break out toward the sun, leaping forth and hunching back, humping, diving, splashing, striking the waves with powerful flukes until one of them wins the desired prize.

For hours, day and night, Howls, shrieks, and moans make strange water songs; she sways majestic, slow, flipping over the surface, turning over and again, until the loser is decided, and she and her winner smoothly dive to the depths, away from light and the curious eye.

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