whaleTail Journal

Hawaiian Vacation – Day 4


Today we set out to see some of the world’s largest mammals. I’ve never actually been on a whale tour but I’ve heard stories. Some good, some bad, some involving men driven to madness in search of their arch nemesis. I was hoping that our trip would be the former rather than either of the latter. That said, I could be persuaded into a death battle with a mighty sea beast if given the right music.

The boat we slipped onto had inflated guards all around the edges. I’m sure there is a name for these things, pontoons or something like that, but I’m far too lazy to go searching for the answer. Check out the image below to get an idea.

OurBoat

We set out and almost immediately saw some whales. They were hanging around another small boat at the time. Curious as mammals tend to be when humans aren’t trying to eat or kill them. It’s peculiar seeing an animal whose head is larger than your entire body. I often find myself squeezing our cats and thinking “How do you fit all your organs into that little body!” They never answer, instead purring and thinking about cat treats. I wonder if whales see humans and think something similar.

“Good heavens! You almost don’t exist! How do you fit everything into that tiny frame?!”

To which I’d say “Very carefully.” and they’d respond “Good show!” before adjusting their monocle and sipping on some plankton tea.

I didn’t take a lot of photos. I have a few small videos that I’ll edit when I get back home and upload. I had been thinking about the nature of trips like this. People spend so much time now at concerts and on vacation staring at the screen on the back of their camera. Even the eye piece on most modern cameras is just a digital screen. You aren’t actually seeing the things that are going on. When you show people later all those cool experiences later you are missing one weird little factoid.

You are experiencing it just as they are. You both didn’t get to see what happened. You both didn’t witness it. Instead what you did was document that you were present. Ultimately you and your guests will both be seeing it only in images. Mementos of a moment you otherwise missed.

Not saying this is wrong. I don’t think people who do this have the wrong idea. But I did find myself wanting to actually see the whales. To take in their color, size, and shape with the clarity of my eyes. If my camera had a view finder and if that viewfinder was actually analog I could probably see myself still enjoying that moment. But staring at the digital rendering of the moment just isn’t the same for me. The shots I took today were resting on the sides of the ship. Especially after one of my videos bobbed the moment before the whales tale went under water. That was a disappointment for me.

Pictures and videos can be disappointing because that extra layer of control is another failure point. Actually experiencing it with your own eyes reduces the likelihood that you will miss anything. Admittedly this means that after that moment you’ll spend the rest of your life recreating and altering the memory in your mind. I’m not sure if that is a bad thing either. Having a more fluid past and being aware that your past is fluid is kind of liberating. It certainly makes arguments about what you’ve done or said matter a lot less. You and the other person are both equally likely to be wrong. Not perhaps on the macro event, but on the micro details of that event.

Anyways, saw a few whales today. Enjoyed the fresh ocean air and took some shots of the sun setting.

Tomorrow I’m going to go snorkeling and try my best to not get burned. Should be an interesting challenge. Image below entirely unrelated.

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