Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Dive Log, January 24, 2005

Today we had a whale watch / fishing trip. So today's entry is actually
a "topside" log, but all you divers out there will absolutely drool
over the day we had!

Before we could get more than a quarter of a mile out from the
harbor... we saw a humpback whale... and then another... and then
another. So we headed in their direction to get a better look. Then
they went under, so we sat and waited. About 5 minutes later, they
started breaching. If you have never seen a 80,000 pound creature hoist
itself completely out of the water right in front of your eyes, it's
hard to imagine the power and the beauty.

After a half a dozen half breaches following the first full breach, the
whales dove once again. So, we waited and waited and waited... about
fifteen minutes went by with no sign of them so Nikki guessed that they
went under to sing, because it takes them a while to finish their song.
A guest on board expressed interest in hearing the song so, Nikki
lowered the ladder and slipped into the water to have a listen.

"I put my head in the water and my heart almost jumped out of my chest!
I couldn't hear them singing... but there before my eyes was a whale,
the size of a Mack truck coming right at me. Instantly and
instinctively I reached out for the ladder and tried to seek shelter by
clutching on to the boat. I was mesmerized. It came all the way up and
then surfaced right next to me. I was shaking with adrenaline and it
took me the better part of an hour to calm down from the encounter." -
Nikki Milligan

Thinking that this would be the highlight... having humpbacks surface
closer to the boat than ever before... we decided to get the fishing
lines out and ready for some fishing. However, before we could drive
another quarter mile, we spotted a mother and calf Humpback. They were
easy to see... the baby was practicing its breaching... it was so
incredibly cute. We all agreed it was the smallest whale we had ever
seen, it couldn't have been more that a week old. It breached at least
6 times and on one of those, mom breached right along side. A
simultaneous breach, what luck! It really put into perspective how huge
a full grown whale is and how young that calf was. WOW!

Finally we set out to do some fishing, enjoying the calm, lake-like
water of the day and the comfortable weather due to a cloud cover that
was keeping away the hot afternoon sun. As we were just hanging out
enjoying, without a care in the world... we hooked up. The fish was a
pretty good fighter and tugged and shook, reluctant to come close to
the boat. It was a good sized fish. As Jennifer, the angler,
persistently reeled on, the fish eventually came into view. Through the
crystal blue water, you could easily see its bright stripes. We had
ourselves a Striped Marlin, probably weighing around 100 pounds. As
Mike got the fish up to the boat we had to decide whether to keep it or
to let it go. Striped Marlin are very delicious, flavorful fish, but
upon close inspection, Mike realized that it was barely hooked and not
at all injured. It was a healthy, gorgeous fish. We took a photo and
let it go. A strange thing happened next.

Normally a fished just released would swim quickly away and out of
sight. This fish, paused behind the boat as if to say goodbye before it
slowly swam away. Or maybe is was taking a moment to reflect and learn
from the experience. Who knows? All of us on board for this trip will
not be forgetting any of it any time soon. It was one of those 'once in
a lifetime' days... the kind that makes you appreciate life just a bit
more.

5 Comments:

Blogger Snorkel Dad said...

Sounds like you had a whale of a time! I'll have to get down there in humpback season next time I visit.

January 26, 2005 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Central Oregon Wax said...

Wow. We've been talking about how much we miss the area. Great stories!

January 27, 2005 at 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yippee! It was such an AWESOME day! I couldn't have described it any better! Thank you so much for one of the most memorable days of my life!
-Jennifer (the "angler")

January 30, 2005 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Quit Smoking said...

Hello fellow fisherman,

Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

You will be one of the first to try it out.

Gone Fishin',

Neil

October 8, 2005 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Quit Smoking said...

Hello fellow fisherman,

Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

You will be one of the first to try it out.

Gone Fishin',

Neil

October 9, 2005 at 5:36 AM  

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