A Whale of a Time – The Suburban Times

The whales are around Puget Sound – and we better give them space. (Photo: Dan [email protected]://unsplash.com/)

Encountering wildlife is a daily given in Western Washington. And I’m not even thinking of birds, butterflies or fish. What’s amazing for someone who grew up in the suburbs of a city more populous than Seattle is to come across deer grazing in front yards. Or in the seals that stick their heads out of the water when I walk on a beach.

But the most exciting encounters I’ve had so far (aside from bears in the Mt. Rainier range or on the Olympic Peninsula) are those with whales in Puget Sound. You may know by now that my husband and I sometimes go out on a boat. It is a very small; each wake of a larger boat sends it into a frantic dance on the surface. And I sometimes cling to the sides so as not to fall out of my seat. Now imagine the wake of a whale. Not a killer whale (we only saw one once in the San Juan Islands). But these huge gray whales.

Edward Jones - Bart Dalton

They’re over there in Puget Sound. The very first time I saw one was about ten years ago near Hyde Point on McNeil Island. The first thing I noticed was the typical spray from a spout. I could not believe it. But it sprung again, and then my husband cut the engine to let the gray giant know we weren’t coming. We should never anyway. It was a majestic experience to see and hear the breath alone.

The second time we saw one was near Fairhaven a few years ago. This time the whale swam towards us. I held my breath as I watched him circle our boat very carefully. What if he didn’t know we were boaters and he flipped our boat?! But the whale held on, not even bothering us with a wake, and only surfaced about 50 yards away to breathe. I keep thinking it was a curious whale with a caring spirit.

Last weekend we went crabbing off Point Defiance. We were enjoying a sandwich between setting and removing our trap when we saw the people at the boathouse dock pointing at something in complete excitement. Moments later, about 15 or 20 meters from the bow of our boat, the surface of the water broke and the huge body of a gray whale became visible. As it slid down again and disappeared towards Owen Beach, our boat was buffeted by the waves.

Charles Wright Academy

Of course, I never have a camera handy when we encounter whales. It’s Murphy’s Law, apparently. It makes me realize that in life we ​​may be able to plan, we cannot plan the whales of our times. They just happen.


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