“Blue whales on starboard” coming from the loudspeakers brought everyone hurrying on deck.

The ship slowed and turned, and we watched the whales’ leathery-looking fins and thick backs slide above the gray-green water. Now and then, spouts like small geysers marked the location of the mom and its calf. All of us on the Students on Ice Arctic expedition had just seen the largest mammal that has lived since the dinosaurs.

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