Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Me and . . . Open Water

Somewhere out there are whales . . . and nausea. In no particular order.

Water and I have a thing.
We love each other.
Okay, so I love water. I really don't know how it feels about me.
Moving on . . .
We were going whale watching off the west coast of California.
I was . . . ummm . . . excited. I loved water. And things in the water. And boats.
I should maybe point out here that the sum total of my water experience consisted of my river and Chin lake. Not necessarily in that order.
We put on our life jackets.
Oooo! Stylin'!
Climbed aboard.
So far so good.
The engine started.
My heart rate increased.
We pulled smoothly away from the dock.
Still fine.
We skimmed lightly across the bay.
Okay, so, it was a fat, clumsy boat, loaded to the gunwales with tourists . . . and people. But I chose the word 'skimmed' and I'm sticking with it.
My more daring family members were already hanging out over the rails, looking down into the amazingly blue water as it slipped past.
I managed to find a seat inside the little 'house' part.
So, yes, I was a little trepidatious (real word - really!).
We cleared the bay and moved out into open water.
And then the boat started . . . for want of a better term . . . bucking.
Now, I should point out here that I'm used to bucking. In fact, bucking has been a daily ritual in the horse corral since forever.
Just not this kind of bucking.
The deck under my feet rose up. Then, just as I bent over to see if my stomach had actually fallen out and been deposited somewhere under my bench, the deck fell.
And I mean fell.
Worse than an elevator. (And elevators and I do have a history . . .)
Worse than when I fell off the barn roof.
In fact, most of my inner parts were rapidly in danger of becoming . . . outer.
And, just like that, I was sick.
Really sick.
I had been told to stare at the horizon.
I tried.
But the horizon was going up and down along with the boat, the tourists and me.
Maybe it shouldn't be called 'seasick'. Maybe it should be 'seesick'. Because there sure is a lot to see.
Okay, so horizon staring wasn't going to work.
I began to count the steps. Four to the doorway. Four more across the deck.
Could I make it?
I mean, before something . . . icky . . . happened.
Another heave of the deck.
Okay, so the choice was taken from me.
It was sprint or die.
I sprinted.
I needn't go into the details of what happened next. I suppose you can furnish your own particulars. Suffice it to say that I lost everything I had ever eaten.
Or even thought of eating.
Funny thing about being sick on a tourist boat.
Everyone suddenly has something else to look at.
On the opposite side from you.
I was abruptly, gratefully, alone.
Okay, yes, the boat was tilting alarmingly to one side as people scrambled to be somewhere else.
But at least, my humiliation and I could happily enjoy our time together without danger of being interrupted.
I don't remember much about the rest of the trip. We saw some whales. I was hauled out of my bench in the cabin in time to see a whole herd (erm . . . pod) of them.
They were neat.
And wet.
And . . . splashy.
And never in my whole life was I so relieved to stand, later, on real, solid ground.
I didn't kiss it. I didn't dare shift that much.
But I knew that it, and I, were very happy to see one another.

There is a codicil.
My husband took me whale-watching off the coast of Maine.
I stayed outside and kept my face into the wind.
And my lunch stayed where it had been instructed.
We came upon a cow/calf pair of  whales. (I'm ashamed to admit that I can't remember what kind of whale. They were neat. And wet. And splashy.)
The mother left her baby and dove. The calf stayed where it was, lolling in the waves and the sun. Occasionally batting at the water with a flipper.
Every few minutes, our guide would say something informative.
Finally, she said, "I bet none of you can say that you've sat beside a sleeping whale!"
My husband glanced at me.
Okay, I admit that, when hugely pregnant, I have described myself thusly (another real word).
I hit him anyways.

3 comments:

  1. cute, I love your writing style - thanks for sharing your blog and linking up at NOBH!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much, melismama! It's people like you who make it fun!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice. found you on NOBH... :)

    ReplyDelete

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