Celebrating World Oceans Day with Whales

8 06 2012

Happy World Oceans Day, friends! Wonder what you can do to celebrate and protect the big blue? Ocean rower Roz Savage has answers here. If you aren’t familiar with Roz’s amazing story, do go check her out. The first woman to complete solo rows across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, she writes with the authority of over 500 days alone at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. I haven’t yet read her memoir, Rowing the Atlantic, but it’s on my list.

Over 500 days at sea… What would you learn about yourself with that much time alone – in a depth of “alone” that few of us can imagine? Would you still like the person inside your skin when you stepped back onto shore?

I’m thankful to work alongside my best buddy in our 43-foot floating home. Even so, the long hours, isolation, and stress lead to moments of snarkiness that Cap’n J and I have come to expect. (“What the hell’s your problem today,” one snarls. A glance at the calendar mellows our tempers: “Oh, right. This is Day 10 of our trip.”) By the end of our six months on board, we’re ready for some time apart. I wonder what you do when the person you’re sick of is yourself.

Emotional strain, physical strain. Demands our bodies can’t sustain. The endless expenses just to be ready to go fishing, no guarantee of what the season will bring in return. Living in reliance of things absolutely unreliable. Ever-present threats leering over our shoulders: weather, break-downs, genetically engineered salmon, Pebble Mine, and the constant dread of our industry being shut down.

Real as the challenges are, they’re no match for the rewards of a life at sea. We witness natural wonder, beauty and awe on a daily basis, truly awesome sights that many people go their entire lives dreaming of experiencing. In honor of World Oceans Day, here’s a perfect example, footage of time we spent trolling alongside humpback whales last summer.

What do you do to make a difference for our oceans? Whether you’re fellow ocean-goers or landlocked, thanks for all the ways that you show your love for the blue.

Also, thanks to everyone who’s asked about last week’s North Words Writers Symposium. It was amazing – so much so that I’m having a tough time summarizing such a profound experience. Stay tuned for a post within the next few days.

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13 responses

8 06 2012
kathrynmartins1

Hi Tele. I bet all snarkiness stopped at the sight of those lovelies :-) I’m not sure how i would survive with myself for 500 days, but moments like this would make me forget the calendar for awhile. You take care.

11 06 2012
Tele

You’re so right, Kathryn – and not only does the snarkiness stop, pretty much all productivity does, too! The whales were so thick last year, we eventually had to ignore them to focus on getting our work done, but it still wasn’t easy. What a problem to have… :) Hope you’re well.

8 06 2012
Linda Rudick

Thanks for Whale Ballet!!! Not sure what the clicking sounds were…camera, lines, whales, do you know or remember Tele?

11 06 2012
Tele

Oh, there’s a variety of noises in there, Linda. The beginning clicking is Joel with his camera. Later there’s some beeping from our auto pilot going wonky. The wind always sounds louder on these videos, like we’re in the midst of a gale, than it actually was. No whale noise, sadly… The best we’ll get from them without an underwater mic is the whooshing exhalations of their surfacing.

8 06 2012
Julie Farrar

One day I’ll see these so close with my own eyes. Yes, thanks for the whale ballet. I’m landlocked. We just have the muddy Mississippi here (wouldn’t eat any fish caught in that water). However, the sewer district is slowly making progress at dividing the waste sewers and the rain sewers (in my neighborhood many of the pipes are 100 years old). It won’t change the Mississippi overnight, but it’s a start.

12 06 2012
Tele

Encouraging news on the sewer district developments! Nope, no overnight magic, but hopeful shifts in awareness, values, and practice. Glad you enjoyed the whale ballet. Hey, aren’t you somewhere over the Atlantic right now? I’m so eager to hear your updates from France – hope you have a wonderful return!

8 06 2012
keneumey

What’s that sound effect at the beginning? Sounds like an old-fashioned typewriter!

11 06 2012
Tele

You nailed it, Kari… While Joel filmed the whales, I sat on the fish hold hatch with an old Smith Corona on my lap, typing the scene as fast as I could before they dove.

That, or Joel going to town with the speed shooting on his camera. Your call. :)

8 06 2012
Vicky Wood

Nice to hear your voice once again!! Sounds like you are having a wonderful summer so far! I hope the kings season is good……..Be Well Vicky

12 06 2012
Tele

Hey Vicky! Thanks for the good wishes. We’re hopeful for the kings… A fair number of boats staying south to fish WA/OR/CA this summer, and more AK boats fishing dogs. We just filled up with 846 gallons of fuel yesterday, so here’s hoping July 1st goes off with a bang. Hope all’s good for you, too… Hugs to you, friend!

9 06 2012
Patricia Sands

Good question, Tele. “I wonder what you do when the person you’re sick of is yourself.” It happens to all of us from time to time! I cannot imagine 500 days at sea, all alone, and am fascinated by the stories of those who dare to accept that kind of challenge. I’ll be reading Roz’s story for certain. Thanks for sending those whales to start my Saturday off with a reminder of nature’s wonders!

12 06 2012
Tele

You’re most welcome, Patricia, and thanks for the mention in your own World Oceans Day tribute! If you get to Roz’s book before I do, I’d love to hear your review.

9 06 2012
World Oceans Day … oops, I forgot to click publish! « Patricia Sands' Blog

[…] fact, it was my friend Tele Aadsen’s blog that gave me the reminder. As well as a writer, she fishes commercially in Alaska and no one in my […]




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