The following Blog was written by Kim Ly who helped operate our remote outcamp in Caamano Sound. Her words flow so well and truly capture why so many of us are inspired by the presence of a whale.
To Be Whaled
Two months on the North Coast seem to have sailed by with these strong northwesterly winds blowing the day by to greet a star filled sky. Peppered throughout my reflections of this summer so far are several truly stirring whale encounters – Bear, the white-fluked humpback that greeted the Picard’s and I as we first pulled into Whale Point; the matriarch orca A30, who so curiously rushed towards Stan, Sophie and I on board the Hawk Bay zodiac; beautiful D13 (orca) who’s interest in our land-based research slowed her travels through the kelp beyond the cabin before joining the rest of her family; or Robust, the young humpback whale who decided the Elemiah and it’s passengers were worthy of her graceful dance.
I can say with certainty that anyone who’s encountered a whale here, whether at Whale Point, the Wall, onboard the Elemiah, or otherwise, knows that there is a deeper meaning to the word “whale” than the Oxford English Dictionary’s very dry“a very large marine mammal with a streamlined hairless body, a horizontal tail fin, and a blowhole on top of the head for breathing.”
It would seem that a proper adjective is in order. Perhaps it would go something like this:
A psychological state following an encounter with a cetacean during which you are made aware of their own awareness – that as much as you are watching them, they are watching you. A concoction of awe, giddy amazement, humbleness, and inspiration with a small pinch of sorrow. Tears often ensue: Upon their return, they were thoroughly whaled.
It could be used to described how one feels about of the enormity of a humpback whale as she glides under the hull of the boat, with pectoral fins extended as if cradling its two-legged passengers. Or the glow of her belly as she gracefully lifts her fluke, with utmost control and awareness mere feet from your own body. It might capture the feeling of being a guest in her waters – the shift that is felt when your eyes meet hers as she lifts her head with time stilling grace from her watery medium to yours. It resonates with the meeting of two worlds in a confused yet compassionate understanding.
A state of whale-ment will deepen yet another degree as you realize that she, her own island of barnacled ecosystems, has become the vessel of several of our own hopes and aspirations. Live with curiosity and grace. Take only what is needed and give all you can. Foster life and inspire awe.
With a final dive, she’ll spread her wisdom elsewhere, leaving in her wake a final footprint upon the sea’s ever changing surface.
Yes, it would appear that, in my time here, I’ve been thoroughly whaled indeed.
Written By -Kim-Ly Thompson