We went to explore a lighthouse and found whales!
The photos below are pretty much the best we could get at Yaquina Head (Newport, Oregon.) We were told these were mostly Grey whales with a potential humpback farther out. Grey whales, I learned, don’t really go in for ‘show’; so you don’t have much of a chance for those amazing photos. In fact, they’ve apparently been dubbed ‘floating rocks’. I promise you, though, these are whales. Most of the time, you saw a bit of them here and there. They feed by swimming on their sides along the ocean floor, scooping up small invertebrates, larvae, and fish eggs, and straining them through their baleen. You might see part of their tail or a pectoral fin as they’re usually feeding in fairly shallow water (comparatively).
I was lucky enough, years ago, to be standing on a small point in the southern Puget Sound where some Orcas were hanging out. It was deep enough that they were maybe ten feet from shore! Between these two whale experiences, I’ve now boosted my ‘go on a whale-watching boat tour’ bucket list item higher to the top. I’m going to try to make that happen before we leave the Pacific Coast.
This poem came to me after watching the Grey whales off Yaquina Head. We see so many of the horrors we inflict on our fellow beings, especially regarding plastics, all over social media and the news. It lightens my heart to see some whales and other sea mammals doing well. If you aren’t aware of the 2018 news from my home state, you can simply do an Internet search for ‘orca mother j35’ or ‘Tahlequah orca’. You’ll see loads of articles and, fair warning, the images are heart-breaking. Huffington Post has a decent overview article. Essentially, a newborn Orca died and its mothered carried it around their territory for 17 days of mourning. This whole pod is not doing well due to their dwindling food supply.
I had tears today.
For seeing live Grey whales,
Feeding, swimming, living.
I think of the Orcas in the Puget Sound,
Starving, mourning, dying.
My tears are water.
Water is pure until we destroy it,
Like so many things we touch.
How can we as humans
Turn this around,
Making the waters a safe place again?
Safe for us, safe for our fellow beings,
Safe for all.
My tears are not enough.
I have done my best.
I’ll do better.
Be well, friends, and live the journey…