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Whale breath

By February 5, 2015 Travel

Winter snow, winter blue sky, winter dreams.

A recent video sparked this return trip, in my head anyway, to another blue sky on an eastern high point.

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Seeing a whale spout on the ocean from a nearby boat easily counts as a great thrill in my life. We were in the Bay of Fundy, sailing out from New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island. As family travel goes, it was as good as it gets.

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Our sailboat slowed down,  fellow sailors stopped talking. Seeing these great creatures in their natural environment will silence most, as I wrote in my poetry collection Holding Glass. 

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Easy to see then why this video stood out among a rash of orca spotting videos online. We didn’t see orcas nor were we as close as Laguna Beach paddle boarder Rich German. He encountered five orcas off the California coast recently and shot this beautifully serene video. What rings true is the quiet. It made me remember the magic.

 

 

An excerpt from Whale Breath

 

Motor off, we turn

knuckles tingling

waiting.

“There!”

A shout upfront.

We peer, cheeks raw

eyes squinting from the Fundy glare.

Suddenly a belly,

beyond the bow.

Storm blue,

great heart beating,

flashing us

through wave curtains.

I feel a squeeze.

In my palm, my daughter’s hand

feels smaller, pulsing.

We are soon surrounded,

ensconced in a great mammal ring.

I sense the graceful rumbles

under our rolling feet

and strain to see a whole

but catch mere parts.

A fin spray tantalizing close

grey streaked belly heave,

wet shiny wonders.

I lean back against the stern,

listening for the low hollow rasp

of a whale’s breath.

It is a sound from a child’s toy

a long plastic tube once blown

emits the same strange serenade

out here as we rock in the radiant blue.

We hear it again, again, again

amidst the splash and whip

of our humble boat.

The pod leave us.

adrift, savouring.

 

From Holding Glass, 2001

Copyright© Anne Langford

 

For more on family travel possibilities to this great Canadian island of puffins and the best homemade bread in the country, read here. Happy dreaming.

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