With mammals as large as Whales, you would almost expect them to be intimidating because of their sheer volume in size. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Swimming next to something that large puts your life and presence on earth sharply into perspective. These creatures command the sea. Not just with size but with their intention as they glide through the water. Whales are one of the oldest species on earth and Blue Whales are the largest of all the mammals. They emanate an ancient knowledge of the planet that is hard to put into words. Feelings of safety, softness and love pour all around you and seep into your pours as you enter their world. Have you ever wept under water? It’s all one can do when you are surrounded by such power and grace.
The whales have certain markings and sometimes fin patterns that make it easy to recognize the same ones when you see them over and over again. One rather large male(my guess is about 30 feet in length and if I were to hug him around his neck, I wouldn’t even come up half way with my arms) has a distinctive nick out of his top dorsal fin. He was with us all day but was safely keeping his distance. Almost overseeing the days activities, just making sure everyone was okay with no need to get involved directly.
As I watched this scene unfold with Angie in this vast Atlantic Ocean, I cried. The beautiful journey that took place on the surface of the water was nothing as compared to what I knew was going on down below. She and Roma got in together and swam towards the two whales. They roved about on the top of the water with their plastic flippers, while whale fins and blowholes would rise and fall in a flowing pattern. The girls were in the water for about five minutes when more and more fins began to appear. Soon, whales of all sizes and pairings were around them. Mothers and babies, adolescents and fathers, groups of three – they were everywhere, swimming in circles around my daughter. It was breathtaking.
And then, from the far right, that massive male with the nicked fin made a b-line towards Angie. When they swim so directly with purpose, you can’t help but see flash backs of “Jaws” and hear the music in your head as you catch your breath and remember these are whales – and that fin I see is a gentle mammal not a man eater. He was there in an instant and he stopped just short of Angie and bobbed softly to the surface. He was within a foot of her, resting with his back out of the water. Her paddling stopped and I could feel the eye contact between them. He held that space as the other whales began to circle around both of them in a clockwise motion. Fifteen to twenty whales making the most beautiful circular ripples in the water that I have ever seen. It was pure love and protection. You feel it on such a cellular level out there in the sea and it warms your soul from the inside out. There is nothing like it and no words to adequately describe it. Emotions and communication from the whales of safety, love, protection and unity rose out of that water and encompassed you. Roma shared afterward that what I couldn’t see were the small whales were circling underneath their bodies at the same time as the larger ones were swimming on the surface.
When we get back into the boat, our whale experiences are not discussed right away. We sit with the sacred pictures and images in our minds until we make our way back to shore. Messages and ideas the whales communicate to us are taken into our hearts first and we feel them before we speak of them. Roma knows that the first instinct we have as humans is to chatter about what just took place and so she has asks us to sit with the experience first and share later. Some things are shared with each other and other experiences and messages we keep to ourselves. Angie has not spoken much about that experience except to say – “Wow, you could feel that love.”
I would only add to that – WOW…you could feel that love…now how do we share that with others?