So Owen and I are now making paddling a weekly ritual. Yesterday was gorgeous. When we arrived at Fisherman’s Cove the fog had just burnt off, giving way to warm hazy sun and almost no wind to speak of.
Most days we paddle out we try to make it to a cropping of rocks called “seal rock”. This is where all the seals and sea lions congregate to soak in the ocean infused sun light. This day started like many others, a trek to say hi to the seals then a quick pit stop to check out the multi-colored starfish (which are visible only at low tide). After seeing the starfish plastered rocks Owen declared it was time to go check out the crabs back at shore. So we started to paddle back south.
As we paddled south Owen suddenly says “Mama, I want to see the whales now”. I explained to him that I really couldn’t tell Mother Nature what to do, so I wasn’t sure we would be able to see them. Literally two minutes later I see something break the surface about 7 feet from our board. I say “hey O, there’s another seal I think”. Then a moment later the whole darn back of a grey whale lifts out of the ocean like a submarine resurfacing from the depths of the big blue.
I have to be honest, I was absolutely shocked. There was a split second when I almost dropped my paddle and picked up Owen. Good thing I caught myself in that moment of instinct because if I had snatched up Owen on that tipsy board, we may have had a MUCH closer encounter with these massive animals.
Of course Owen was stoked, so we turned back up wind to follow them on their journey north. There were two adults and then a juvenile that hugged the right side of it’s mom belly as they cruised the shoreline for lunch. After heading around seal rock they tucked into a smaller cove to feed. It was low tide and I am still in awe of how close they were to shore! We hung outside the cove giving them space to do their thing. When they headed back out towards the next cove, we were (by accident) right in their trajectory. I can’t explain the feeling inside when two huge whale noses rise up right in front of your board. It was magical. We could see right into their very tiny black eyes and they totally checked us out before they dove right underneath the board. That was the only time I really did get a little nervous, but I totally held it in and kept affirming to Owen that it was exciting and fun, nothing to worry about. I wanted to make sure he stayed curious and happy, rather than scared. Even with that close brush he still wanted to stay. He kept saying “Mama, I think they’re gonna come out onnnnne mooooore time”.
All in all, I think we spent about 40 minutes jocking around them trying to stay a respectful distance away, but close enough to get a good look! Yesterday was a gift for me and Owen. As we paddled back to shore I told Owen that we needed to thank Mother Nature for bringing the whales to visit us. Without any hesitation Owen raised his head to the sky and yelled “THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE!!!”.
My heart is full.