originally published January 17, 2023
“Sometimes you can see whales from the school windows,” my teachers told me. No such fortune has graced me — I had to resort to the more prosaic means of boarding a whale-watching ship.
The other JETs and I agreed: We hadn’t expected it would be so small.
Armed with life jackets and anti-nausea tablets, we clung to the rails. Our cheerful, sun-bronzed captain gave a shout whenever the radar blipped. Then we would speed across the waves, hunting our massive quarry.
The first time a curving gray spine broke the air, the magnitude of our chase overwhelmed me. We were so tiny in their midst, perched on our fragile craft. Over and over again, giants split the water around us, surfacing in twos and threes, monumentally indifferent to our presence. If our accompanying band of divers slipped off-deck to join them, though, the whales evaded them — vanishing effortlessly back into the deep.