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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Humpedback Whale: A Whale's Tale

A Whale's Tale




Tony and I wanted to paddle on Saturday past. I suggested a paddle originally from Bellvue Beach to Bull's Arm. We settled on Bull's Arm at the top of the isthmus that connects the Avalon Peninsula to the rest of Newfoundland. It is a typical Newfoundland outport with character, charm and of course Newfoundland hospitality evident straight from our put-in. Senior Hiscock of the community was very helpful and generous in allowing us to enter near his staging From then on it was simply adventure and a most awesome paddle with lots of wildlife above and below water and warm weather to sharpen the trip. 



The word leviathan is pretty much synonymous with a large sea monster or creature. It is the modern Hebrew name for whale I believe. Today we came eye to eye so to speak with one such leviathan, the Humpedback Whale, on our paddle. Every cent and every hour ever spent on kayaking to this point in my life  was worth it, for the moments of this day.



I don't think he came out of no where as we heard his blow hole earlier. I also felt several times his blow hole spray when he was maneuvering around me on the waters' surface. Ithought it would smell fishy, as I heard it did, but I couldn't smell anything but the salt water.When he did come he came as a huge graceful  monolith. Slithering beneath me I felt totally frighted and in awe at the same time. I wasn't sure what his behavior would be but his persistance allowed me time to photograph some of his magnificent movements under and very near me.


I really didn't realise his size until his back at one point was right beside my kayak. He seemed attracted to it. Perhaps because of the color. I'll post an under water shot of the boat hull at the end. He also surfaced many times right beside me. Flicking his tail ever so gently for the colossal size and resting his huge head parrallel to the side of my kayak in the water. The above water shots I will post another time but his underwater show was just as spectacular to me.



From various angles he studied me and i him. I felt he was trying to communicate something. Maybe ...just get the hell out of here....but it did not feel like that at all.



I tried in vain to figure out what was going on. I dare not move my kayak I was spell bound and totaaly enthralled in this display. I wasn't scared he was observing me for so long. Even poking his head up like a seal right beside me and looking me in the eyes. I felt so small and humbled. For a time I felt part of the food chain. I know Humpedbacks don't attack humans
 but his size was very diminsihing to me.


He was either playing with me or courting my kayak. His on water behavior was even more peculiar in his display of unconventional positions and movements. Well at least unconventional to what we normally see as his feeding behaviours. I wasn't moving, he could have departed, but choose to stay and reveal his playful antics.



Strangely enough I had just watched one of those corny Jaws movies last week. With this in the back of my mind I looked over and saw him rising not quite as quickly as the hair on the back of my neck I might add but rising and then rolling over exposing his underside and flukes as he glided beneath my boat. It was simply amazing and something I've never experienced before.



His gigantic size cannot truely be appreciated here but though he was probably meters beneath me he felt everywhere. I just couldn't surmise what he might do next. So I just kept sticking my arm in the water with the camera attached hoping for the best and being entertained on a scale that has no comparisons.



I knew there was an end in sight and surely he'd soon tire of me and my boat. That was a close encounter of a whale kind and a whale tale I shall cherish for times to come. I shall never forget this day, the sunshine, the whale, my humility, my humanness and the sharing of it with my pal Tony Roestenberg. What a friggin' day Tony!


10 comments:

Michael said...

OMG Stan. these shots are totally incredible! Thanks so much for going paddling that day, taking the photos and posting them for us to see!

Tony said...

Stan, Stan, Stan .... un...beeeee...lieeee...vaaaa...ble set of photos.

Glad to be able to share that day with ya my friend.

Tony :-)

Robert P. said...

Wow!! These shots are amazing!! What a wonderful experience this must have been. Hope to have a encounter like this some day.

Robert

Cate and David said...

Thanks for sharing these truely amazing photos and what must have been a very humbling experince in the sense of immensity and feeling out of your natural environment. Thank you!

Dave & Cate

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Thanks guys. Truely an incredible experience. I'll not soon forget this paddle. It however comes at a time when whaling bands have been lifted in some parts of the world. Iceland, Norway, Japan will be whaling at will.

It is now thought that some whales have their own religion. Can you imagine. A one time whaler has said that if whales could scream man would not be able to tolerate their cry. It makes me wonder why we are so cruel. It must make the whales wonder the same thing.


S.

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Thanks guys. Truely an incredible experience. I'll not soon forget this paddle. It however comes at a time when whaling bands have been lifted in some parts of the world. Iceland, Norway, Japan will be whaling at will.

It is now thought that some whales have their own religion. Can you imagine. A one time whaler has said that if whales could scream man would not be able to tolerate their cry. It makes me wonder why we are so cruel. It must make the whales wonder the same thing. We know more about the moon than we do their habitat, go figure and it is right here on earth. It reminds me when humans desimated indiginous tribes in various countries around thr world, in Newfounland the Beotuk, Africa, USA, Rainforest of south America etc., etc, . We hunt animals to extinction rather than find a coexisting harmony. It has all been said before. It amazes me that the seal hunt here in Newfoundland gets so much negative attention globally but where is Pamela and her t&t? and Peta when whales are being hearses and slaughtered by the Japanese .

S.


S.

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Should read harassed not hearses. ooops! But when you think of it kind of the end result eh?

Sean Dawe said...

Great shots Stan. Are these the original colours or have you done some tweaking?

Good job.

Sean

Mackayak said...

Magical photos!
I live in hope one day I might have a similar encounter.....

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Sean the photos are pretty much the originals just contrasted and a bit of satura.