Blue Whale Adventure Dream
My dream of an adventure with blue whales turned into a lesson of not needing to prove my encounter to the rest of the world. These largest known animals on Earth taught me the simplicity of treasuring an inner journey to picture them with my heart.
My fascination with blue whales started when I walked through an exhibit on whales during a seventh-grade field trip to the Smithsonian. Decades later, as I envisioned the shape of the starship for my first young adult novel, a blue whale came to mind. During a flash of inspiration two years ago, I scribbled a high-level plot about aliens and blue whales for a Mystical Aria sequel. When I realized a link between blue whales and my novels, I felt these whales were trying to tell me something. I set an intent for an encounter with blue whales to hear their message.
I decided to book a trip in February 2017 with one of my favorite tour guides, Anne Gordon de Barrigon. This journey to Mexico combined one week of watching gray whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon with one day of watching blue whales in the Sea of Cortez.
After dreaming to see blue whales for forty years, I had one opportunity for one day to make it happen.
Take Pictures For Me
When I told my friends and co-workers about my vacation plans to see gray and blue whales in Mexico, most replied, “I want to see your pictures.” With the pressure of social media and book marketing dependent on captivating photos, I wondered how I could take a blue whale usie. Soon I worried more about the proof of a great vacation with blue whales than the importance of hearing their message. I obsessed over how to take an usie of me and my BFF blue whale to create a social media post worthy of going viral.
“I want to see your pictures,” rang in my head as I packed gear in a dry bag for my one-day encounter with blue whales. If a blogger went on a trip and didn’t take any pictures, did the adventure really occur? Will I disappoint my family and friends if I didn’t return with visual proof of my blue whale encounter? I double-checked necessities in my dry bag to ensure I included my phone with camera and its water-proof pouch.
Thankfully calm waters and a clear sky greeted me and seven other passengers. We rode in a small boat about thirty minutes from Loreto to the whale-viewing area in the Sea of Cortez. I unpacked my gear and watched for blue whales like a hawk. Phone in water-proof case and binoculars around neck. Sunglasses on face. Hat on head. I was ready!
From Tangled to Unplugged
I soon discovered that I needed to remove my sunglasses to use the binoculars to see the whales’ tails. When I wanted to take pictures or videos, the straps from my sunglasses and hat interfered with the water-proof case around my neck that protected my phone. Without my sunglasses or hat, the blazing sun made me squint. This made it harder for me to see through the binoculars and take pictures with my phone. Unfortunately, a vicious circle of gear entanglement erupted!
During the morning hours, we saw more boats with other tourists than we did blue whales. My excitement dwindled as I became more frustrated with not being in the right place on the boat with the right camera angle during the right few seconds to capture water spewing from a blue whale’s blowhole.
With the fun factor of my one-day adventure at an all-time low, I gave up the need to be the next Ansel Adams of the whale world. I packed the phone and binoculars back in my dry bag. With just my hat and sunglasses, I sat cross-legged on the front of the boat and looked at the Sea. Ten minutes later, my body swayed with the waves. Not a care in world. Unplugged.
Then a blue whale swam closer to our boat than any other whale had that morning. Minutes later, three other blue whales circled near our boat. We saw their blowholes, backs, and tails as they took several breaths before diving deep into the Sea. I resisted the temptation to pull out my camera and binoculars. Instead, I simply welcomed the encounters with an open heart.
One whale had a wide, white stripe in the middle of its body. The marking reminded me of the black and white Holstein cows on the family farm. I watched “Holstein” as a marker; it swam around our boat at least four times.
(Photo of “Holstein” courtesy of Anne Gordon de Barrigon.)
Close Encounter of the Whale Kind
One of the blue whales headed toward the port side of our boat. Closer, closer, closer. It took a deep breath and disappeared. We scrambled to find it.
Then Anne Gordon de Barrigon yelled, “Right underneath us!”
Another passenger exclaimed, “Look, on the other side!”
A turquoise streak emerged on the starboard side. From the boat, the whale’s back appeared as light as the clear sky above us. This light-blue streak widened into the back of a blue whale. I witnessed a unique, top-down view of a blue whale as it played hide-and-seek with our boat.
(To relive the blue whale close encounter, watch Anne’s video from 3:24.)
By early afternoon, I had lost count of the blue whales I had seen. The number exceeded my expectations. I had a greater appreciation for their size, graceful movements, and friendliness toward humans. More importantly, I heard the blue whales’ message to unplug and picture them with my heart.
“Mystical Aria” author Jean Neff Guthrie on whale watching adventure in Mexico.
Jean Neff Guthrie is the author of Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen, which hit Amazon #1 Best Seller in February, 2016. Visit www.JeanNeffGuthrie.com for novel highlights and purchase. Click here for VIP Access to Aria, which includes two free chapters, character map, promotions, news, fun facts, and more.