Thursday, April 22, 2010
Amazing thing happened yesterday, I was kayaking, looking for some whale time amongst the humpbacks. I could hear them singing around me as it was dead calm, there were no fishing boats out and no other noise pollution, even from shore. There were pods here and there but none would venture close to me. At one point, one laid on its back and slapped its huge long white flukes on the water, SLAP, SLAP, SLAPPING! So I had an idea and mimicked the slap with my paddle. I usually, make drumming, tapping noises on the kayak, but that barely evokes a response, more often they shy away. The slapping with the paddle did have results and I had a few encounters with a few venturing closer, but nothing too dramatic or close. Anyway, after a couple of hours of this, I decided to head back in, I caught a sierra for dinner while trolling and lost another. It was about then that I saw 3 big humpbacks, closer to shore playing a tag kinda game. One would push itself on top of the other while they were speeding along. I suspect it was a female in the lead with 2 males on her tail. So I headed out towards them to get closer and when I saw that they were already headed away, I slapped the water with the rhythmic slapping like they do. That got their attention....the next thing I knew the female in the lead turned completely around and from a quarter kilometer away started heading straight for me at full speed, bellowing and spouting. I had enough time to reach towards the back of the kayak and grab my mask and snorkel, throw the arms of my wetsuit over my shoulders and said "fuck it" to zipping it up and slid over board with mask cleared and snorkel inserted. My kayak was blocking my view and as I slid it away and looked under, I thought, "oh, oh, I may be dead or really hurt in a second or two" as a jumbo sized jet with its wings extended was directly in front of and underneath me. I was certain that I was going to get slapped by her tail and readied for the impact....I was that close! Instead, the displaced water as well as her awareness of me above her, spared me. She maneuvered that giant paddle of a tail away and the slap never came. Looking back it was a graceful though super fast pass. Right behind her were the other two, flying through the water just under me. All this happened 5 to 6 feet away from me and I think that I was so blown away, that I held my breath the entire time. Michele said that from her view on the shore, the first whale surfaced just the other side of the kayak, perhaps as close as 4 feet. The turbulence in their wake had the kayak bobbing up and down and from my perspective it brought up sand from the bottom and behind that, fish feeding on the stirred up silt...it was all so cool. I got back on the kayak and ate a apple while watching the chase go on in the distance. Even though that at that moment I had slid over board and saw what was coming, I thought to myself I may have fucked up and that this might be my last act on the planet, something like that makes living here all the worthwhile eh?