Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Whale Watching Adventure

Sometime in the late 1990s a dream cast me groggy, staring out a porthole at San Francisco, shrinking . A cabinmate told me that I had been kidnapped, Shang-hai style, and should plan on being gone for at least one full year, maybe longer. The sun shone with sparkling brilliance on fluffy white clouds tumbling low on the horizon, endless ocean stretching lifetimes, and my beloved home city carrying on without me. Heart felt vague fear, unassignable resentments, but mostly excitement for the ocean, the ports, the sailor's life. Figured that I might as well accept my fate and make the most of my new Pacific life. Our whale watching expedition revived that dream as if it had only been napping, drove me wild with hunger for a new life drenched in salty water. The city shrank, just like in the dream, and the icy spray whispered her eternal love & devotion, if I only I'd turn myself over without reservation to her strong currents, depths beyond light.

From age 8 to about age 12 I wanted to be a merchant marine, then a family friend told me how much it sucked so I gave up on the idea, but it still drifts around in there, asking "What if?". Carol, our docent, gave us a little pep talk before we boarded, told us about a similar trip 20 years ago, when she, all at once, while passing under the Golden Gate bridge, decided that this was her life's calling. I feel the ocean all around me, running through my arteries, roaring in my ears, tasting salty, teaming with life.

The trip was a rousing success, although I did get soaked, and several people puked. We saw Gray Whales, an Elephant Seal, two kinds of jellyfish, and some harbor seals and sea lions. Carol told me about spending nights on the islands, in those houses you can see in the middle of the photo. Haunted she says, and I believe her.

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