Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, are the largest toothed predators on the planet. The males are larger than females and can grow to over 20 metres in length and weigh over 50 metric tonnes. They are the elephants of the sea with complex social structures with different social groups having different dialects or codas. This species has fascinated people for centuries and sperm whales have been the focus of some of the most celebrated literary works such as Hermann Melville’s Moby Dick and to this day, entire books are centred on them. A good example is Leviathan, or The Whale, by Philip Hoare, a past speaker at the Galle Literary festival, whose book won The Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction in 2008. There is an enormous fascination and intellectual appetite for sperm whales all over the world.

These particular sperm whales were part of a super pod of over 100 sperm whales in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Aggregations of this size have not been witnessed anywhere else in the world.