You couldn’t wipe the grins off of our faces right now if you tried. We just heard s/v Gillaroo is turning the corner into the harbor here in Neiafu and as far as we know Shortbus is on there somewhere! It’s a believe it when we see it (and hear the outboard rev up) kind of deal but it’s here nonetheless. Drew’s dad posted on our Facebook fan page yesterday that if only the dinghy could talk what a great story she would have to tell, huh!? Drew and I…we are some lucky, lucky folks!
It didn’t take news of our dinghy finding it’s way back to us to make me realize that I’m a pretty lucky gal. I’d be a blind, deaf, dumb dumb not to know that I have it good. On a daily basis I’m experiencing and learning things I never thought possible. Drew came back to the boat the other day after his close encounter swimming with the whales as excited as an eight year old boy at Christmas. A little bummed I had already gotten out of the water…well of course. Seven months on a boat together and aside from better women’s restrooms, no experience out here is completely complete if Drew’s not right there next to me. A day or two later it was like the whales were tuned into my disappointment so they decided to throw me a bone. Heading out the pass in their dinghy with Tom & Monique from Zen, we were gearing up to set anchor to do some reef fishing and snorkeling. Drew and Tom (twins separated at birth I swear it), being the eager beavers they are, were already paddling away looking for their first “victim” of the day. Monique and myself, well we barely had our fins on. Cheers to our slowness because out of nowhere a short distance away a mother whale breached almost completely out of the water. Our view…its only equivalent would be seats on the 50 yard line, about 40 rows up, to watch either my Dawgs vying for a National Championship or Tom Brady playing in the Super Bowl. Oh my gosh…don’t ever make me choose…
Anyway, my fear of whether or not there were hungry reef or tiger sharks below waiting to take a bite out of my wet suit covered tush quickly subsided and I was overboard. While we never were able to catch site of the whales in the water their presence was definitely known via sound. High shrills could have only been the calf saying “mom, look at me,” as s/he flipped and splashed around. Deep, rumbling I could literally feel in my chest must have been the mother saying “dear, stay where I can see you please.” I mean, mother instinct is mother instinct, right? Whale or not? Call it what you will, it was astounding. It is those memories that I have to tuck away somewhere deep and carry with me forever. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again that prior to my time here on the water, I would have responded to the idea of swimming with whales like, “Nice, that must be pretty cool,” but never would have really taken time to grasp the concept. Out here, when you’ve traveled hundreds of miles on the open water without seeing land for six days, it’s only then that you grasp just how MASSIVE its waters are. Then, to see something that can look THAT big in something you already know is so huge, it’s mind blowing. It is something I wish I could share with every single person that I know and love. There are literally times where tears spring to my eyes consisting of a 50/50 mix of happiness and longing to be surrounded by f & f.
The two month countdown to our trip home for the holidays began on the 24th of this month. I told someone the other day that I am trying so hard not to rush through these two months. Trying very hard. I know the time out here in precious and will be very longed for in the future.
For the time being I’ll continue to relish in the families we are surrounded by…the cruisers, the villages, even the whales. We are beginning to talk more and more about setting our pace for the long haul to New Zealand. Slowly, but inevitably surely, cruisers are beginning to make their way south. We’re not far behind. Our search for departure times will begin in a few weeks, mid Octoberish. Stay tuned!