Watching Whales

Evening sky at Griffin Bay

Hello from the Gato Verde!

Things have been going great so far — it feels wonderful to be out on the water.  I have not been sailing since 2008, and the moment I set foot on the Gato Verde, every reason for loving boats I had ever conjured in my mind came rushing back to me.  I actually used to have a great fear of boats. I think it began because my idea of being out at sea was based on one or two childhood whale watching experiences.  During one trip, I remember being so frightened that my mom had to literally sedate me with medication.  I spent most of the whale watch underneath my Little Mermaid towel, hiding from the wrath of the Massachusetts seas.  Despite my dramamine-induced drowsiness, I remember my panic reached a high point once we spotted whales.  Every single passenger scrambled to one side of the boat to get a better look, causing us to tip precariously (at least in my mind).  In this moment I remember feeling desperately out of control of my own fate…this boat was going to sink and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  Luckily, my fear of boating has gradually been replaced by a deep love of all forms of marine transportation.  This is the only instance where my fear of something has decreased as I have gotten older – all my other phobias have, unfortunately, seemed to increase with time.  Thankfully, the time for fear of boats has passed in my life, and I couldn’t be happier to be sailing again.  Everything has been working in our favor so far weather-wise (knock on wood), and things have been going very smoothly.  I even got to steer the boat for about 20 minutes yesterday!

After a relaxing first evening anchored in Griffin Bay, we rose early to get a head start on what we thought would be a very full day of sailing.  We had planned to sail to Neah Bay, where there is a hydrophone in need of repair.  Beam Reach has never sailed that far, so we were all looking forward to the exciting challenge of charting new territory.  I woke up early after a fitful night of sleep, soothed by early-morning fog banks and loon calls.  We departed on schedule and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.  Around this time, I happened to look out the window; I had seen some sea lions sunning themselves on some rocks, and I thought I might see more in the water.  Instead, I saw a tall black shape sinking beneath the surface.  My breath caught.  No, I thought, there is absolutely no wayIt’s probably just a cormorant. Then, a blow.  “Whales!!” I cried, tripping over myself stupidly in an effort to get a better look.  “Whales, whales!!!”  I clapped happily, laughing in awe – I absolutely could not believe our luck.  Here we are, one day out from Friday Harbor, and we happen to stumble upon a beautiful group of transient killer whales.  Their pointed dorsal fins sliced through the water, and I sighed contentedly at hearing their piercing blows.  All plans of attempting a passage to Neah Bay lost, we followed the whales from nine in the morning until they gave us the slip around 3 pm.  The whales came within meters of the Gato Verde several times; during one encounter I even picked up the familiar smell of whale breath on the air (which, in my opinion, smells like rotten pumpkins).  I am happy to report that I recorded several videos of our time with the whales today…the quality, however, is somewhat compromised by the fact that I was leaping all over the boat in my uncontainable excitement.  If these past two days have been any indication, there will be much more to report soon!

Hope everyone is well,

Kathryn

Coming up for air

1 Comment

  1. Kiko

    May 2nd, 2010 at 17:40

    SKOODLE

    WHAT

    ON

    EARTH

    WOW

    get out of TOWN

    This is so amazing!!! I am so happy for you! I wish I could be there!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    end.

    kiko

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