Usually boisterous with the chatter of many languages, the guests
and crew of our whale-watching boats were left speechless by what we
encountered. Panga pidgin, it seems, is largely just figuring out ways to tell
others to be still and enjoy a moment in nature. Like when the exhalation of a
mother gray whale, flanked ever so closely by her precious calf, evokes
memories of our own mothers shushing us. When we lock eyes with a creature
foreign yet familiar and are left to ponder what she may be pondering.
National Geographic Sea Lion
It will be a struggle to produce a combination of words fit to describe the spectacle of whale activity we witnessed today, but here I endeavor to bring said combination forth. Simply put, the day was sublime. A breezy, overcast morning greeted us as we embarked on a whale watching expedition that sent pangas in many different directions pursuing disparate whales all engaged in a variety of activity. Many rolled at the surface exposing their pectoral fins, some sent their rostrums skyward in elegant spy-hops, and others still cozied up to our pangas for minutes that felt like eons. During our brief lunch reprieve, the breeze calmed and the clouds lifted, setting a sunny scene for our afternoon excursions. Though a tough act to follow, our second round of whale watches were the greatest of my career. Roughly 50 gray whales coalesced in a mating season spectacular. The animals rolled atop one another, breached as many as six times in rapid succession, darted in every direction, and brushed past our boats close enough for many explorers to touch their rostrums. One individual brought its rostrum directly against the starboard side of our panga as if begging for a petting. It was an unbelievably moving affair.