Greeting Party

Enough about exhaust systems. Let’s focus on something more fun. On our recent trip to bring Galapagos home, in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we had a tiny miracle. The humpback whales came out to wave us into our home waters! Whale watching is number one on my list of things that I could do all day long. If I see whales, it’s an excellent day.  Mike knows this and because he loves me, he has developed a secret squirrel persona. No phone booths being available on boats, he slips down into the aft cabin under the guise of ‘napping’. But I know what he is really doing. 

In his waking life a mild mannered programmer for a large faceless and heartless corporation, come nap time he slips into his trance of sleeping and becomes The Whale Father. From his supine position he silently calls whales in his sleep and they hear him and answer his call.

How do I know this? Reference the one time he was ALL ALONE in Commencement Bay and an entire pod of orcas surrounded him. Coincidence? I think not.

This trip Mike was taking a nap below and I was keeping watch. He arranges this so I do not bear witness to his dark magic song. All I know is that while he was resting, two humpback whales surfaced near the boat and began an underwater ballet in order to wave at us with their large pectoral fins. I called to Mike that his song had worked and he came up to commune with his brethren.  It was the best whale watching trip ever! We had a good 30  minutes of pure whale fun and games before they sank into their murky depths.

At the end of the show I was tired from all the excitement.

“Melissa, why don’t you go down below and take a nap? It’s going to be a long day.”, said the man who is the Whale Father.

Go below? As if.

“But what if there are whales? You wake me up if you see whales!”. I was vexed. Because truly I did want a nap. But I wanted whales more.

“Melissa, you can’t see ALL the whales.” He was nothing if not patient and kind, eyes crinkling and twinkling like the Father Christmas of whales.

“Why not? How do you KNOW they exist if you don’t see them? Maybe they aren’t really there until you see them with the naked eye! You don’t know. That could be true. It’s possible that the whales do not actually exist until we SEE them, which means we then see ALL the whales. We do them a favor by seeing them into existence. I’m almost 100% positive that’s how it works.”

“Melissa, go take a nap.”

We like to have these little existential conversations from time to time. And, curiously, just as I had decided to go below, I saw a whale blow in the distance. What if it hadn’t been there before I looked? The mind cannot hold these possibilities for long. I took a nap.

Here are some photos, which will never, ever do the whales justice. (Photos are cropped and enlarged, making it appear the whales were closer than they actually were.)

See? He’s waving!

Seriously big!


Taken from my phone, because one source of camera isn’t enough. So this is a little grainy.

Rolling in the sea.

Rolling in the sea.

Want to see some action shots? Here you go. It’s like you were there!

17 thoughts on “Greeting Party

  1. What a thrilling experience you share! The quantum physics part is fascinating, too. But I absolutely loved the SOUND of the whale blowing! Goosebump-making!!

  2. Simply amazing. Love the lyrical lilting language describing the existence of the whales in an existential fashion. The vids and pix are very nice as well.

    What a great time you are both having.

  3. I secretly believe whales are existential beings of higher intelligence from another galaxy. They are amazing animals. So glad you enjoyed this post!

  4. What a soul-stirring experience…whales are no where in sight and then suddenly there they are…not anywhere except right in front of you so you could not miss their appearance. And it was an ode to Galapagos first cruise in open waters. Just like the eagles were that circled overhead the first time you put Galapagos in the water.

    • Yep! That’s totally the way I saw it, Betty. Couldn’t have been better, for sure. The whale day was just about perfect in every single way, in spite of the foggy beginning.

  5. I agree with Betty. What a happy omen of things to come. I plan to be firmly attached to that for’ deck surrounded by whales some day.

  6. “his dark magic song” haha, this had me laughing outloud. These pictures/videos are really great. I LOVE watching wild animals and don’t see nearly enough of it online. I hope to one day some encounters of my own.

    • And when you do, Dani, I want video and photos! You will have many different kinds of animals where you will be sailing from the ones we have up here. Frankly, wildlife watching is right up there as a main reason I want to do this thing called cruising.

      • Me too! I just love watching animals so much. A grew up on land that had raccoons, all kinds of birds, so many birds, snakes, alligators, deer, rabbits, frogs, Crickets, butterflies etc. I’ve moved to the city though when I was 18 and my soul is in some serious animal deprivation. I wonder sometimes just how caught up I’ll get in watching all the crazy creatures well see because I feel like could spend hours a day. I would name them and all.

  7. On our recent trip to Alaska, while watching hump back whales bubble feed, our captain put a microphone in the water and we could hear their leader call out to the other whales when they were to rise to blow bubbles and rise to eat. So glad we reconnected, Melissa! I love reading about your adventures! Mary

    • Mary! Welcome to the blog! This is my life now, for sure. Work is taking more and more of a back seat to getting this plan in action. What a cool thing to hear the whales underwater! Makes me want to have a hydrophone on board. I wonder if the ones we saw were bubble feeding. Let’s make some time for coffee when you get back in Tacoma. Long time no see!

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