Tales of a wandering lesbian


“That’s not normal.”

The woman at the crystal shop had greeted my mom with a bright smile.  Now, she was looking at her with awe.

“You actually HEARD the whales?”

On our way out to the old Hawaii town of Hawi, we’d yelled for my dad to pull off the road.  The whales are active off the coast in January, and we were seeing flashes of dark and white plumes coming from flat spots just off the shore.

My parents have a time-share on the big island, and they usually come for about a month every spring.  This spring, my little sister is having a baby, so they’ve come early to the island – and I’m tagging along.

On our walks along the resort beaches, we’d seen whales breeching alone and in pairs – something beautiful and exciting – but this day, we were seeing something different.  While the whales we’d seen near the resorts were on the horizon or well off shore, where the turquoise sandy bottom meets the darker, deeper water, these whales very close to the shore in the deep water that comes right up to the land.

We walked down the lava-dirt path that led from the road out onto the little shelf above the scrub-covered hills that roll down to the water.  A light breeze blew off the water, bringing the sounds of the water to us, a mile or two away.

A screeching, sucking sound made us all stop.  I thought it was tires on the loose lava behind us.  Another car had pulled in to watch the whales.  We looked around and then continued out onto the bluff.

Out came cameras and binoculars.  We watched as two or three whales, all very close to each other, bobbed and flashed out of the water.  Glints of shimmering ribbons played around the whales – spinner dolphins dancing through the air.  The celebration continued as we watched, and we began to wonder what we were seeing.  Whales both mate and birth in January.

And then we heard the sound again.

“Is that coming from the whales?!”

We all looked at each other.

The screeching, wheezing song sounded again.

“Holy shit.”

I started recording, hoping I could capture something as we watched in complete disbelief.  The spinners surrounded the whales, hurling themselves twirling through the air, the sun glinting off their slick, laughing forms.  And the whales waved their fins.  Then they splashed their tales, and bobbed their heads, straight out of the water.  And they sang.

As my mom shared the story with the woman in the crystal shop, we all started to realize how strange the experience had been.  “That is quite a blessing,” she had said.

And we believed it.  We heard whales singing above water.

Here’s the video.  You can hear it at 0:38 and then more clearly at 2:00.  You have to listen in between our excited babbling, but it’s quite a blessing, all the same.

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January 24, 2010   2 Comments