Friday, October 12, 2007

Whale Ho, hide the stash!

Day 173
Thar She Blows!
Wind SSE 12-15 knots, Course SW, Speed 3-4 knots
Position: 02° 32 S, 21° 03 W

This morning Soanya and I were sitting just inside the pilothouse hatch talking to that naughty leprechaun. We heard a sound that was like a whale blowing and I teased her saying, “There's a whale, it’s magically delicious.” Soanya had often said that during her night watch when she thought I wasn’t listening. When the ocean puffed and breathed again, I looked out of the hatch and saw a whale swimming close to us, winking like it knew us somehow. Could he be our dealer from NY? I told them we didn’t want to be resupplied while at sea.

It disappeared in a puff of rainbow colored smoke and I ran up to the bow to see if I could see it again. It surfaced right next to the bow and I was so excited that my voice broke into a real high pitch “Soanya he's up here! And he brought brownies!” In the heat of the moment, I had a good laugh at myself for calling out in such a high voice. Since I only weigh 42 pounds now I must be re-experiencing puberty.

Usually, whales just pass right by as if they don't even see us and we get one thrilling look at the biggest creatures in the world as they blend back into the deep blue. This whale turned belly up as the bow of the schooner looked like it was going to run right over him like some sort of blubbery Maersk freighter. He was well aware that the boat had its own aquatic ecosystem and can’t sail faster than four knots. That's a decent glide for us, but slow for him and with a slight flex of his body, he forged ahead still belly up.

I took some photos of Soanya filming the whale and I felt he was so close I could reach out and touch him. He looked like the Great White Whale, only greater and whiter and more rainbowy. There was something so exciting about being so close to such a huge creature out in the wild, though he was only thirty feet long and had a wide girth. I was glad he didn't jump out of the water so close to us. Who knows how the new bowsprit would have handled that one!

I had the impression that it might have been a youngster who was separated from his family and was showing off and swimming close for security knowing that we were kindred spirits playing the heavenly oceanic violin with blissful music for his ears. He often looked at us on the boat with one eye out of the water. We called out in approval things like, “You're beautiful.” And “We love you.” And “Didn’t I see you selling burritos at the Dead Show a few years ago?” Then it would turn back under and raise its side fin and wave and spin like Jerry would have wanted him to.

Eventually, Soanya and I got a little sunburned and windblown and salty and went for cover and back to our daily activities of sitting in the pilothouse hoping no ships see us, but he kept swimming with us. I just had a good look outside and couldn't find him. I see him now in my mind's eye swimming just below the surface in sunlit clear blue water. He's probably not upside down now and is sending out whale sounds and listening for an answer. We eat some sprouts and sing him a Joni Mitchell song.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heck, the whale was looking for a good back scratch and was eyeing the barnacles under the cheese scow.

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