Monday, February 20, 2006

Whales, etc.

I have an incredible photo of a whale winking right at the camera sitting on my desk. My daughter took it when she was 8 year old. We had sailed from San Juan island on a small eco friendly boat to try and spot a few whales. The captain, our guide--a naturalist, two families with young kids, and an older lady and her daughter. The large double decker tourist boats broke the rules all morning long and crossed the established boundaries (we were told the boats had to keep a certain distance at all times from the whales they spotted). Our animal loving naturalist told the kids that our boat followed the rules put in place to protect the whales. Thus, we were occasionally rewarded with a sighting of a few black blobs way far away and, after two hours, all the kids snuggled under wool blankets and forgot about the whales.

At noon, the captain cut the motor and the boat drifted while we warmed up. Everyone chatted, and gave up on actually seeing anything more exciting than a school of fish. Most of us were standing at the side rails of the boat sea-gazing, when only a few feet away, an enormous black Orca rose slowly out of the water and plopped back down splashing all of us. My daughter began shooting photos one after the other. The rest of us stood mesmerized as three whales "played around" our boat for fifteen or twenty minutes, almost as if on purpose--like they were giving the kids the show they'd missed all morning. I remember being stunned, amazed, and absolutey awed. It was as if they were teasing us. One of the photos is a close up of one of the whales with a glint in his big side eye--- as if he was thinking, if I can't have some fish today for lunch, I'll have the boat.

I know that glint,,,,that's the way I feel about reading. I rather read a book but in a pinch I'll settle for a brochure, a trade magazine, or an appliance manual. One insomniatic night many years ago, I found myself at a hotel on business, luggage lost, and no book to read. Panic! I pored over the tabbed hotel notebook for a while until it occurred to me there might be a newspaper in the lobby.

I love to read.

Random leaps in my mind...spot old photo of Orca, muse on how much I love to read, and put off reworking a difficult section of Chapter 4.

8 Comments:

Blogger Lisa S. said...

Sharon, what a cool story and great memory. For some reason I immediately associated it woth this quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I always wanted to go whale-watching. Sharon, you are such the cool mom, no matter what your kids say.

11:54 PM  
Blogger S. R. Hatcher said...

Lisa -- I love that quote and don't remember having read it before.

Dana--Your girls would love it--it was a thrill.

6:49 AM  
Blogger E. Ann Bardawill said...

I went to one o' them Whale shows where a girl gets picked out of the crowd to get "kissed" by the cuddy 5 tonne killer whale.

And they picked me.

You wanna know what it's like playing tongue hockey with an Orca?

It's like getting slapped in the head with 100 pounds of cold wet baloney, that's what it's like!

And the hickey lasted for frigging weeks.

Never date an Orca. That's all I got to say.

8:37 AM  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I got drenched by a whale at one of those sea places in Miami. I'd love to go whale-watching. Got to look at seals with the kids, off Cabo.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Bonnie Calhoun said...

Auhhh...the smell of procrastination....yep...that chapter is still waiting for you!

12:03 AM  
Blogger S. R. Hatcher said...

**You wanna know what it's like playing tongue hockey with an Orca?**

That's why all the Bunions love you. You are one of a kind. A whale hickey....can't say as I've ever gotten one of those.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

e. ann: Another little Gramps story me thinks===='grandaughter about to be deflowered by a killer whale'.

11:19 AM  

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