April 24, 2010

Of Wind and Waves

Hello intrepid adventurers! As you know, some days are good, some days are bad and some are hard to define. Is it automatically a bad day if there are no orcas? What if there are whales or eagles or porpoises or just really lovely weather? What if you miss the ferry that you really wanted to be on, but you now get to explore the town of Friday Harbor and have dinner overlooking the water? There are many subtle shades of grey that make of the content of a day and therefore define it as good or bad. A bad day for one person may be a day of dreams for another. Is the day defined by the expectations or the magic that was discovered?

So, where am I headed with this introverted and philosophical dissection of the 24 hour period? To me, and the rest of the crew of the M/V Sea Lion, any day on the water is a good day. But, unfortunately, this day was sans orcas or Steller's sea lions or whales. We had a lovely look at two harbor porpoises, a rare treat indeed since these animals are so shy. We also got to see an eagle sitting in a nest and probably tending eggs from the behavior that I saw. Over Spieden Island there were several more eagles riding the winds and more mouflon sheep out grazing than you can shake a stick at. For our guests though the expectation is always to see orcas. Therefore a day without them, a day on the water in a truly amazing setting all of the same, may be interpreted as a bad day. Wild animals are tricky beings though and it is wholly out of our capacity to be able to promise a sighting. The same would hold true for companies that make their livings in the presence of lions, tigers or bears, oh my. That which draws us to these creatures is the same thing that makes it so hard for us to be near them. If they were tame like pets, or even performing animals, the mystery would no longer be there and neither would the drive to see them.

This brings me back to the title of this piece and my original questions. Are not wind and waves enough? They are the essence of the salty dog, do not forget. And if the wildness of animals is what we long for, then maybe the very wildness that keeps them from us could be our expectation. Rather than just a good show or the desire to view one particular wild species over another. Maybe the expectation could be any species in its natural glory and free in its wild place.

So, from all of us here at San Juan Safaris, we would like to applaud your adventurous spirit and thank you for your patronage and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

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