Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Diamond Seas and Breaching Whales

Our last trip to the Great South Channel with CRESLI was abbreviated by big weather, but we had beautiful encounters with cetaceans and we were gifted spectacular and dramatic displays of common dolphin pods leaping through the water and humpback whales breaching. 
It has been two years since I was out there, and I missed the expansive skies and generous stripes of saturated color.
The day began with beautiful orange and crimson hues, we sat on the deck drinking coffee and tea while basking in the brilliant glow of the emerging light. For me, these are the most magical moments. The unfiltered light and the new energy of the sun that sends gem like colors up into the dark night sky. 

The hues are pure, rich, deep and opaque. They remind me of the incredible gift of a new beginning that we are awarded each and every day. 

The dawn gave way to clear skies and breaching humpback whales. I have taken this special trip several times and each one is very different. I try new ways of capturing the essence of the whales and dolphins in this environment through various lenses. 

This image is my favorite. It is of the underside of a pectoral fin that greeted us with waving enthusiasm. I see the markings as stories that tell us of scars, encounters, and travels to far away waters. In this image, I see the likeness of a bird. It reminds me of the barn swallow that is tattooed on the hands, chests, arms or necks of sailors that have traveled over 5,000 nautical miles. 

The tradition of the swallow tattoo also claims that if the sailor were to drown, the swallow would carry the soul to heaven, and ensure a safe return. This whale has no doubt traveled many miles and I found it both curious and beautiful that it too had a similar avian marking. 

I also love the black shiny humpback skin and the individual markings and unique forms of the dorsal fins. I am always in awe of the patterns of the scars and textures, so personal and unique to each whale. 

One of the highlights of these trips is being with the dolphins and watching them ride the bow and feeling the playful energy of the pods. The images are dreamy and a bit blurry but they capture the ephemeral moments of the joyful connections that we experienced as we plowed through the deep green waters. 

This time at sea was particularly interesting because of the amazing women that I met onboard. Scientists, writers, artists, whale lovers and a magical bee keeper sharing information, resources, alongside personal and professional desires and dreams that will make the world a better place. 
Thank you ladies for all of the inspiration and laughter. 

And thank you Dr. Kopelman for your dedication and for sharing your wit, humor and wisdom with all of us. You are a rare and special gem.
My gratitude to the captain and crew of the Viking that make this very special trip possible. 

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