“Holy XXXX!” were the only words that came from my mouth as I drove the wheel hard to port. Shelby and Jen our crew mate looked up at me in fear that we were about ready to wrap our prop in the dreaded crab pot lines. For me, it was one of those moments that I was both in panic and amazement simultaneously.
“Whale!!!” finally came from my mouth as Jen, Shelby and Shay sprung to their feet. There, not more than 20 feet directly off our bow, at twelve o’clock, was the fin and back of a massive humpback whale. She crept slowly forward as the momentum of us motoring carried us even closer. In moments that seemed minutes, her back rose out of the ocean and with it, her beautiful, majestic and powerful tail. It loomed there, ten feet out of the water, in mid-air for seconds…she was allowing us time to appreciate just how amazing of an animal she is and then she dove deep into the ocean in search of solitude and peace.
While everyone jumped for joy, Todd was left with my hands shaking…like not even metaphorically, kind of shaking…my hands were actually shaking. We had come within ten seconds of running into a full-sized humpback whale. While we were likely in no danger, visions of Captain Ahab chasing down Moby Dick somehow danced in my mind. Maybe it was just me hoping I was more of a “salty sailor” than I really am 😊. There is something primal…ancient…wise…mysterious and kind about a whale. She had gifted us all with her presence and reminded once again of the treasures found on planet earth.
One of the interesting parts of life for me, is that memories that sink deep into the spirit and that are imprinted for a life time can happen instantly and without warning, while the vast majority of my life is spent in what feels like a blur. Experiencing our first whale sighting, only feet from our boat, fifteen miles from the shore is a moment I won’t soon forget. Watching our eleven-year-old daughter unable to contain her excitement as she experienced one of nature’s most incredible creations in their natural environment was priceless!
Over the next day of travel from Eureka to San Francisco, we must have seen another two dozen whales. Truly an amazing part of our trip to date!
And so I have decided that for me, my number one goal for this trip is to string as many spirit imprinting moments as I can fit into a one year period. These moments can be as simple as shucking fresh oysters with my daughter on a dock…or seeing Shelby pull the boat into a slip for a perfect landing. Life is too short to not “pet the whale”. (reference to be explained in a future post)