I’ve always had a sense of adventure, and a love of seeing new places. Claytie and I were lucky enough to see a bunch of fabulous spots in Germany, Dubai, Japan and Australia .. but the real bucket list was only just starting. New Zealand and Tasmania were supposed to be next, but Covid happened and then Claytie died…. the possibilities should have been endless! It’s scary knowing that if I want to see new places, I’m going to have to do it in my own from now on!
In the Spirit of figuring that all out, and seeing how it would feel doing something new like traveling on my own, I took myself whale watching earlier this year. I have been dreaming about doing it for such a long time, we had talked about it often, and it got to the point where I thought stuff it! – it’s now or never!
Now for those of you that know me particularly well, you will know that it’s not just as simple as book it and go! I get incredibly bad motion sickness – to the point that Claytie would take it as a personal insult when I would need him to stop the car so I could spew!!! I have been sick on every possible type of moving vehicle… but particularly boats! I once spent a Christmas party evening, cruising on the Brisbane river … with my head in a bucket!
But back to the whales! I got myself all brave and ready to go, had a hotel room booked for the night as well, and then we struck a covid lock down and I had to postpone! In the process, I learned a harsh lesson about booking accomodation through a third party and getting your money back – you don’t! … Activities booked directly through the company, however do get a credit for a re-do. Three weeks later, post lock down, I was back on!
I booked a half day trip, leaving from SeaWorld. The booking was strategic,in that vomiting for 3-4 hours would be more manageable than a whole day! I spent the day before eating travel calm (motion sickness medication) every two hours on the advice of Dr Google, and had ginger tea with my dinner. Breakfast on the day, consumed at sparrow fart (somewhere between 4-5am) was half a packet of ginger nut biscuits and more travel calm. I had my motion sickness wrist bands on and two Stematil (anti vomiting) before boarding the boat, and was also wearing an adult nappy – just in case! 4 kids = unstable pelvic floor that does not take kindly to to the physical movements involved with spewing! I was prepared for all things!
The whole experience was weird, and beautiful and awesome! Sitting outside at the back of the boat, watching couples and families was hard. Claytie and I should have been doing this together! He should be in the selfie’s with me, complaining about all the photos I was subjecting him to but secretly loving it!.
The air was quite cold, but refreshingly so! The ocean was calm and the sun was shining. A perfect day to be out! The tour guides were awesome with their knowledge and interactions and told us all exactly what to look out for…. And we were looking for ages! A couple of times the boat slowed right down and we were told that a pod of whales was under the boat. There was a silence that descended over all of us, wide eyes searching all around. A little while later we would head off again, eyes peeled!…. And then there they were!
Splashes of white against the dark blue of the ocean… flukes in the air, as though waving at us. Huge backs arched, coming out of the water, diving back down with a splash. There is something truly magical about seeing and being near to an animal that’s the size of a bus, and yet so graceful and majestic.
We were really lucky to have encountered a couple of juvenile whales. Old enough to be in their own, but young and energetic enough to be playful and curious about our boat. One of them breached so close to us that it felt like there was eye contact. The whales were watching us as much as we were watching them. It was exciting, and calming, exhilarating and relaxing all at the same time. I could have spent hours more out there! I thought it was magic!!
Heading back to the marina, we all kept our eyes peeled for more. No one was ready for the trip to be over. We did spot a few more whales further out, but no other close encounters. The guides did say to us that we were very lucky to have seen as much and as close as we did.
The main thing I have learned from this trip, is that I can do it on my own, and it’s not awful! I also know that I definitely prefer to have company, especially for meals….. and if anyone need to know, I can help with all of the motion sickness advice and medication!! I also absolutely can not wait to do more whale watching – maybe even a whole day (!) Next year – a new next that I am already planning for!