Browsing Tag


Whale’s Breath

By February 5, 2015 Travel

Winter snow, winter blue sky, winter dreams.

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

Scan 106

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


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


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 recently encountered five orcas off the California coast and shot this beautifully serene video. What rings true is quiet. It made me remember the magic.

An excerpt from my poem, Whale’s Breath

Motor off, we turn

knuckles tingling



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, and again

amidst the splash and whip

of our humble boat.

The pod leaves us.

Adrift, savouring.

From Holding Glass, 2001

© Anne Langford


You Might Also Like