Third Anniversary of Wordsfromanneli

Three years ago (on April 12) when I began my blog, this was my first post. I have also copied it to my other blog http://annelisplace.wordpress.com just this one time. Normally I use the other one only for writing, but I think the story qualifies for both this time.

A Whale of a Tale

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Feeling sorry for myself, I slumped on an upturned white plastic pail at the back of the salmon troller. Here, I could easily hang my head over the side and retch if necessary—and it often was. The sky was gray, the sea was gray, the boat was gray and everything, absolutely everything, was in motion. I was wishing my life away, wishing it was any time in the future. Anytime without this dreadful seasickness. Who knew it could be such misery?

Captain Gary, lounged in the wheelhouse, sipping coffee as he steered. He seemed quite at ease with the tossing of the boat. A bit of a break from work.  No need to check the gear. For the time being, it was too rough for fishing. The way we were pitching around, the lures we trolled were most likely doing a spastic underwater dance. Any salmon fooled into taking a bite would have the bait jerked right out of his mouth. I imagined the shiny spoons playing keep-away with the fish.

Anyone who has ever been seasick knows, except for sheer pain, there’s not much that feels worse than nausea. Dying would have felt good if it meant an end to this wretchedness. Is it coincidence that “nausea” begins like “nautical” and ends with “sea”? I wallowed in my misery.

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And then… a few hundred meters off our port side, a humpback whale jumped completely out of the ocean, turned on its side, and smacked down sending great splashes of water high into the air. I yelled for Gary and stammered excitedly, pointing at the place where the whale had been. He stared at the gray water for a few seconds, said, “That’s nice,” and went back in the wheelhouse.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

He had barely settled his butt into the captain’s chair when the whale leaped out again. I screamed for Gary, “Quick! Come and look!” He ran out of the wheelhouse and looked — too late — at the spot.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

“It only jumped out two-thirds of the way before splashing down,” I said, by way of consoling him. Back in the wheelhouse, he hadn’t even had time to sit down when I shrieked for him to come see the humpback who had jumped up for a third time.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

What are the chances? This time it only came out about halfway. I guess he was getting tired. Gary, also, came out of the wheelhouse only halfway before dismissing me with a wave of his hand. I guess he was getting tired too. I felt bad that Gary had missed the show, but for me, it was the highlight of the season. For a few magical moments, I had forgotten all about turning myself inside out with dry heaves.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Johnston

Goodbye!

Photo courtesy of Ken Johnston

The humpback seems to be waving to me. “Goodbye!”

***

Note: The photos by Ken Thorne were taken in one of the Pacific Inlets, not out on the open waters, but I wanted to include them to show how humpbacks jump out of the water. Besides, I was too seasick and surprised to take photos of the real humpback in this story.

34 thoughts on “Third Anniversary of Wordsfromanneli

  1. I have seen this beautiful dance so many times.. and only had my camera pointing completely in the wrong direction… once we took a catamaran tour in the bay at Saldana, the Hump back performed so close to us it was not believable… but I’d left my camera at the hotel as I was worried it would get wet… but it was magnificent to watch this huge mammal stand almost on its tail…
    Lucky I don’t suffer from seasickness, i believe it is most unpleasant…

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  2. Congratulations on your three years! And what a lovely, celebratory post. I’ve seen Orcas in Alaska – no matter what species, whales are marvelous creatures. There’s a ferry down the coast in Galveston that travels across to the Bolivar penninsula. It’s a relatively long ride — perhaps twenty minutes — just long enough to give children and tourists a good view of our whale substitute, the jumping dolphins. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

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  3. I must have missed this the first time around. Congratulations on 3 years!

    I can sure relate to the seasick problem. It is terrible! Interesting for me though, if I am in control of the boat I don’t get it. Otherwise I can get sick looking at the ocean on a windy day.

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    • If you’re driving the boat you have to concentrate on that and usually on some spot on the horizon. The trouble starts when there is no horizon – I mean one that is standing still – and everything is in motion. Absolutely everything is moving. I checked back on my first post (this one) and it had only one visitor. This was in the days before I knew how to advertise it a bit. So I thought it wouldn’t hurt to present it again. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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    • That particular day it was rougher than what I showed in the photos. It was early days and we weren’t so much into photography (when it involved expensive film development). I still get seasick, but not in a little skiff – only in the fish boat or bigger. Different motion, I guess.

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  4. Congratulations on your third anniversary! I remember this blog and it was interesting reading it again.
    Wishing you many more years of blogging.

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