That is exactly why Keith and I decided to take a 5-hour drive to Cape Cod, Massachusetts during my spring break to spend a few days. April is one of my favorite times to visit because the tourists haven’t arrived yet and the chances of having a solitary connection with the sea are strong. The beaches on the lower cape are designated as National Seashore so you can walk for miles without running into high rise hotels and swanky restaurants. When you look one way you see the ocean, another sand dunes, another a distant lighthouse.
And then, there are the whales. In the spring, if you take a two mile walk out to Race Point, at the tip of Cape Cod's arm, you just might spot whales migrating north after their breeding season in the south. Cape Cod Bay is one of the first major feeding areas they stop at for a bite to eat. We decided to try our luck, and just look at the beautiful day we had for whale stalking:
I couldn’t take my eyes off the water as we strolled. I’ve been on official vessel driven whale watches before, but it was different trying to spot one of these creatures without a guide, without a guarantee--a wild adventure. Okay, maybe not wild, like kayaking down a crocodile infested river in the Congo, but it's as close to an environmental risk as I choose to go.
We walked and walked. We saw flocks of seagulls, jumping dolphins, boats. All wonderful, but not whales. I stopped, put one hand on my forehead as if I were saluting, squinted and scanned the sea. Nothing. I sauntered forward.
“Look!” Keith suddenly shouted.
“Look!” Keith suddenly shouted.
I turned and saw a spray of water shoot straight into the air--a whale breathing through its blowhole. To my surprise, the activity was only about 20 yards away. Then, it emerged, a mound of gray that could have passed as a battleship rising above the water’s crest. I screamed in excitement. It was absolutely amazing to be that close to the largest mammal on earth. Its tail surfaced then slapped the ocean causing a tremendous splash and circling gulls to scatter. A minute passed. Another whale arrived, then more. Awe consumed me. Talk about a kick back moment. Keith tried to take a picture, but whales aren’t very good at posing and the glare of the sun made viewing through a camera lens difficult. One of those events that has to be stitched into the mind photo album.
It reminds us, as we hustle through the routine of our days, that something astonishing and extraordinary can pop up at any moment. It reminds us that there really is joy and beauty in what can sometimes be a laborious journey on this planet we call earth. It reminds us to be patient, trusting and hopeful.
Please share a surprise, either from nature, a person, a pet, a place that left you feeling warm and fascinated.
KICK BACK SONG:
In honor of the ocean and one of it's greatest explorers, Jacques Cousteau, High Calypso by John Denver. The longer we search and the deeper we dive, the more extraordinary the treasures.
KICK BACK BOOK:
The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant--If you like stories with an ocean setting, this one is for you. I'm almost finished listening to it on CD and the language alone is enough to keep me mesmerized. It takes place in a small town on the southern coast of Ireland and has mystic energy weaved into each word. A powerful read.
Hereis the beginning of the description from Amazon:
"The Night Swimmer," Matt Bondurant's utterly riveting modern gothic novel of marriage and belonging, confirms his gift for storytelling that transports and enthralls."
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA: