She wanted to help the sorry-looking creature. It was defenseless in the situation it was in. Even though her coworkers refused, Mallory grabbed the helm anyway and steered them towards the iceberg.
Dozens of thoughts ran through her head, she just wanted to save the seal. But the closer they got to the iceberg, the more doubts she had in her mind. Was it even a seal, after all?
No Turning Back
The brothers yelled and tried to turn the boat back around but it was too late. A turn now meant sailing straight into one of the icebergs that surrounded them
“I’m sorry but we can’t leave it to die”, Mallory said, completely unaware of the monumental danger that was closing in on them.
She called back out to Alan but heard no reply. They had left the safety of the boat to get a closer look at the animal. But the closer they got, the more unusual the scene became.
Suddenly, an eerie stillness came over the misty-covered, iceberg-ridden patch of ocean. She locked eyes with the animal and gasped.
Just Another Fishing Trip
Mallory Harrison was a fisherwoman living in Labrador, Canada. She grew up fishing with her dad who was also a fisherman and fell in love with the profession.
Coming from a small rural fishing town, there really wasn’t much to do but fish, so that’s exactly what Mallory and two of her buddies, Cliff Rutt and Alan Rutt decided to do.
Cliff and Alan were brothers and fishermen too. They were all seasoned sailors and had experienced just about every hardship that came with navigating the seas, or so they thought.
Mallory, Cliff and Alan climbed on board their trusted steed, The Northern Swan, and set out into the waves on a chilly Saturday morning, excited to see what today’s catch would be.
As Mallory and the boys sailed out over the same route she’d taken thousands of times, she smiled at the butterflies that never failed to tickle her tummy.
She was obsessed with nature and wildlife, and living in the coastal regions of rural Canada, she had her choice of beautiful creatures to marvel at – and fear.
A Day Like Any Other
It was a day like any other. The waves were a bit choppy, and the wind had a sharp chill to it which arose from a decent layer of fog but this was nothing out of the ordinary.
As Cliff and Alan worked to steer the vessel, Mallory relaxed into her seat, completely oblivious to what she was about to encounter.
They had been sailing for about 30 mins when Mallory first heard a strange sound coming from the distance. She squinted her eyes and peered around their surroundings – nothing.
She presumed it was a bird and continued to untangle some fish nets. Then, she heard it again.
Not A Bird
This time it was louder and lasted longer too. Its high-pitched squeal had an eerie and strange effect on her. It sounded like a lament or a grieving melody. Almost like a child whimpering and shouting at the same time.
She sprung up and moved towards the sound, and then she saw it.
Mallory’s jaw dropped as she took in the strange looking iceberg that slowly protruded from the fog. She had never seen anything like it.
It looked like a giant floating mushroom. “Look at that!” she yelled to the boys as she pointed in its direction. But the real shock was yet to come.
“What the heck is that?”, Cliff explained. Alan made his way to stand beside Mallory, trying to get a closer look. Suddenly, he gasped.
“Did you see that?”, he asked Mallory. “See what?”, she replied. “That”, he said, pointing to the very top of the iceberg. Mallory squinted until she made out a strange dark figure.
Stranded Baby Seal
As the iceberg moved side to side with the waves, a small figure popped in and out of view on the surface.
It looked like a stranded baby seal. It was a pitiful sight. One that was too much for Mallory to stand. But appearances can be deceiving.
Mallory couldn’t bare to see the little thing lose its life this way. She knew she shouldn’t interfere with nature but it was so young. She asked the guys to help her save it but their reaction surprised her.
“Are you kidding?”, Cliff said. “It’s way too dangerous. That iceberg looks like it could topple over any second, plus we don’t even know what that thing is up there.”
Survival Of The Fittest
“Yeh”, Alan agreed. “I don’t know about getting closer to either of them. And we might want to help that thing, but that thing might want to eat us. So, I’m good to let nature take its course on this one.”
Mallory felt her blood boil. How could they just watch an animal suffer like this and not try to help? She knew exactly what to do.
Diving Into Action
Before the brothers could do anything, Mallory dived towards the steering wheel and steered the boat straight towards the iceberg.
She knew enough to know that although the iceberg looked strange, it was too big to topple. She was also sure that the animal stranded here was a baby seal – harmless. But she had no idea how wrong she was.
The brothers yelled and cussed as she redirected their trajectory towards the iceberg. “I’m sorry boys but we’re on a rescue mission”, she bellowed. By the time she let Cliff take back the wheel, it was too late. There was no going back now.
What they’d soon find would send shivers down their spines.
The iceberg was now close, the squeal Mallory earlier heard was getting louder now. It was coming from the animal.
As the wailing got stronger, so did the image that came into view. What they had thought was just an innocent seal clearly wasn’t anymore.
On The Iceberg
Cliff anchored the boat as Mallory and Alan found their footing on the iceberg. Just as Mallory predicted, it was steady.
Mallory heisted herself up to the top of the iceberg as Alan stalled behind. But as soon as she saw the animal up close, she froze. Cautiously, she called out for Alan.
As she waited for his reply, she took in the scene before her. It was staring at her with wide, wild eyes. It had sharp claws, sharp teeth, and seemed upset by her arrival.
It felt like an eternity before Alan arrived. Mallory turned to him and put out a hand to signal to him to approach with caution. Now, they were the ones in danger.
It was no baby seal. Its fur was matted and wet, and it started growling as they got close. But it was small and looked weak and tired.
Before they could help it, they had to know what it was, so Mallory creeped even closer. Alan begged for her to come back, but he knew she wouldn’t leave until she helped it.
“It’s a fox! It’s an arctic fox!”, Mallory exclaimed. She had never seen one in real life before. Neither had Alan. He inched closer in complete curiosity. It was in bad condition.
“You poor thing!”, Mallory moaned. “Throw me your jacket, Alan”, Mallory demanded. He did as he was told and now it was the moment of truth.
She was completely clueless on how exactly she’d catch it or how the animal would react to her getting closer. But what happened next was unbelievable.
Slowly, Mallory got down on her hunkers, reached out the jacket and scooped the miserable-looking animal right into her arms.
Not A Peep
The fox remained completely still. It must have been exhausted fighting to stay alive that it didn’t have energy to fight back. But there was more.
Mallory felt like it knew she wasn’t going to hurt him. He seemed strangely calm – almost grateful – until they reached the boat.
Cliff couldn’t believe what he was seeing as Mallory approached with an arctic fox in her hands.
The poor fox immediately curled into a ball in the corner of the boat once Mallory and Alan got aboard. Mallory fed the poor animal crackers which it immediately wolfed down.
The three of them marveled at the recluse animal. The brothers laughed at how scared they were of it only a few moments ago.
But they still had good reason as arctic foxes can be dangerous when they feel frightened. But thankfully, this fox was a brave little survivor.
Getting Back To Shore
Once the crew got back to the shore, Mallory set up a bed of sawdust for the fox and immediately called their local wildlife center.
“Once we got him in his makeshift bed he fell fast asleep”, she reminisced. She was still worried for the foxes’ safety as it looked so cold and skinny.
The icy waters can be harsh and for a mammal like a fox that isn’t designed to swim in the water, they can catch their death in the icy water.
And lately, it had been freezing out. God knows how long that poor animal was stuck on that iceberg exposed to the blistering coastal winds.
It didn’t take long for the wildlife workers to show up. After hearing Mallory had an arctic fox in her hands, the crew were eager to come check it out as it’s hard to see these recluse animals in real life.
When the crew arrived, Mallory exhaled a sigh of relief.
They quickly checked the fox out and determined that it must have been stranded for days. Its usually white and thick fur was dark and matted with dirt. It was exhausted and lost a good bit of weight but its vitals were normal.
It would receiver just fine, thanks to Mallory.
Mallory was just happy that they had decided to help the fox after all. A few hours and the fox would have drifted further out to sea where they wouldn’t have seen it.
The fox never wanted to leave humans after it was saved so it now lives on an island where dogs for dog sledding used to be. It has fully recuperated and is as happy as ever.