Another day of almost no wind. We had to put our buns of steel to work today, peddling in the hotness of California’s Indian summer. We were traveling at about 2 miles per hour. Pure peddle power. I still can’t believe how hot it was. I didn’t even touch my wetsuit.
It was all worth the experience of being on the ocean all day, but when we saw towering spouts on the horizon, all of the soreness from paddling disappeared.
Finally! We saw them. The largest individual creatures to ever live on Planet Ocean. Blue Whales. At first we were quite far away and were stoked to even be seeing them at all. There was a whale watching boat packed with sightseers that was revving its engine, cranking loud boat sounds and motoring around the pair of Blues. It was strange to really experience that the alternative to killing whales is harassing them with boats in order to catch a glimpse of them. I couldn’t imagine how loud the boats must sound underwater so close to the whales’ heads.
We sailed closer and closer, sure not to get close enough to be in their way, but close enough to respectfully watch in complete awe. I saw them slide over the surface of the ocean, vertebrae by massive vertebrae, arching back down into the depths of the blue Pacific. We saw the deep blue gray of their skin and the variety of shades in the spots along their spine. And the oblong shape of their blow holes.
The loud motorboats left after a few minutes and we on the five crafts were left to float among a pair of blue whales for more than two hours. They graced each of our boats by swimming close to us all, culminating in a near bump of Dave and Nick’s craft. I watched as the wake from one of the blues sent water spilling in their kayak.
We started to sail in as the sun was setting and they followed us in for some time. The experience really is ineffable, but the feeling of such ancient beings is unforgettable.