Quiet Thrills

By , November 12, 2012

Our homestead is usually pretty quiet, but lately, it’s been downright silent. As far as we know, we’re the only people on our side of the peninsula right now. On top of that, everything’s muffled by 3 or 4 inches of snow. Our recent high winds have calmed.

Yesterday, Michelle sighted a humpback whale about a mile out in Lynn Canal. We watched carefully for it to reappear as it swam slowly south, barely disturbing the calm water.

About half an hour later, I glanced out the cabin window just as a whale, possibly the same one we’d seen before, surfaced a few feet off our rocky beach. It passed close at an angle, almost as if it were intent on ramming nose-first into the cliff. It blew, but not too loudly. We ran outside and watched it surface again a few yards up the beach, still close to the rocks. This is the first whale we’ve seen since September.

It’s hard to convey the shock we feel when a 40-50 foot long animal appears suddenly within a couple yards of the breakfast table. It’s quite electrifying, no matter how often it might happen. Even more so in November, when we rarely see whales, and aren’t expecting them.

winter day, Haines, Alaska

Our quiet coastline. Of course there’s no photo of the whale; we didn’t have time to snap any photos of it (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

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