Saturday, July 16, 2011
All images by Alex Shapiro
This time of year,
orca (”killer”) whales rule up here,
and I have the dumb luck of living
on the shoulder of their highway
as they commute from one feeding area
to the next.
I listen to it, as much as watch it.
You see, the most beautiful thing
about these creatures is that you often
hear them before you see them.
A mysterious, other-wordly “whooooshhhh”
suddenly comes from around the rocks.
I raise my head. I see nothing.
Another “whuusszzzh” flies across
the sound-conducting water from half a mile away.
I look up. I can make out the top of a black
6-foot tall dorsal fin in the distance,
just before it ducks back into the sea.
The sound of their breathing is utterly magical.
During the day, it’s also often accompanied
by the incessant hum of idling boat engines,
as whale watch tours and day sailors
follow the pods like an amusing-looking
slow-motion escort service.
But the best, best, best thing of all,
is when early evening arrives.
The boats have all gone back to the harbor.
And it’s just me, the whales,
and the whoooooshes.