Image National Geographic
The whales seem to be almost gone now. It seems strange to think that it was only a few weeks ago that I couldn't help but see humpbacks breaching and splashing in the ocean view from the balcony. What an amazing privilege it has been watching these incredible creatures on their migratory journey along the Gold Coast.
I developed an astute vision for spotting the signs of a whale, it was through daily observance ( and many whale watching trips in the past) that I could hone in and differentiate between a distant whale or simply the roar of the surf. My eyesight isn't that great to be honest but maybe it was the promise of watching something truly remarkable that encouraged my usually weak vision. Oh, and the binoculars helped! Bought especially for a better view 'balcony whale watching!'.
Firstly, there is that distinct sight of the 'blow' from a blowhole, a puff of air blowing out from the dark watery depths. Like smoke from an underwater steam train 'choo chooing' along coral tracks.
Next, there is either stillness or if you are lucky, a tail curl, flipper splash, or really really lucky, a breach. If you miss the sight of the large whale jumping out of the water ( it is surprisingly quick), the splash that is left behind in it's wake is unmistakable. It looks as though a tank had been dropped from the skies into the ocean.
I have spent much time on the balcony watching what has seemed like hundreds of whales, or maybe the same group, hundreds of times, I'm not sure! What will be remembered most of all was the sight of a mother and baby swimming and breaching and generally having a whale of a time...(sorry...), it was special, watching them, completely undisturbed and feeling like I was the only person who was observing this tender scene, perhaps in that moment I was.
I want to do some whale inspired stitching, I have a few ideas, I've been doing some sketches and reading some whale descriptions and literature for inspiration.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
Moby Dick, Herman Melville