First week down - Jennifer Tan Art
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First week down

First week down

School started this week.


I know. I feel the same.

Just before that I took some time to paint on the long weekend.  This big painting had been sitting since June but I added the coral inside bits of the fish and a bit more.  Done!

Image 16

And just in time as there are fishy stories about the water out in front of me right now.  The salmon are out and about and heading for the rivers.  And maybe because of this I got to see the treat of a lifetime the other day.

I was at the beach around dinnertime. (A note to say that my offspring are very forgiving of their bohemian beach mom in the summer and are extending their tolerance while the weather holds.) I’d been in my office all day but I had some writing to do and I figured why sit at a desk when you can sit on a log in the sun?


I’m still sitting on the fence whether to try to get to my Thanksgiving swim this year, but the weather is nice so after writing that last bit I walked into the water.  Brrr.  Maybe not.  I walked in deeper, back out part of the way, back and forth trying to get myself in the but it wasn’t happening.  I was telling myself that was OK, it’s not a requirement, maybe just head up for home, but I just couldn’t leave.

And the next bit is part of why I love my beach so much.  You never know what’s going to happen there.  I was standing in the water still when I looked out at the water and saw a puff.  I put my hand up to my mouth and said, “Holy smokes!”  I really did.  Once you’ve seen a whale puff you can’t mistake them.

I saw one or two more out there but then nothing, and the sun was low enough that I really had to squint, but then I saw splashes out right at the end of the point.  So close!  I saw some smaller fins and backs rising out of the water and was so excited, but still I thought maybe dolphins?  But it wasn’t quite right, and then a huge fin and back rose up and slowly slowly eased back down into the water.  Definitely whales.

I’ve lived here coming up on 26 years and I’ve never seen whales out front (a potential spotting from my window but not definitive so not a good count), and I’ve never seen orcas anywhere.  Now I was looking at four beautiful orcas circling slowly around and puffing right past where I swim.  I could not believe my luck.

Just then my friend happened along and I waved to her and whisper-called, “whales!”  We stood and watched them for the longest time.  They would disappear behind the point and I’d think they were heading away but then they’d come back to where we could see them.  And hear them! We think it must have been 15 to 20 minutes we watched them.  And then they changed the intensity of their swimming and headed off down the Sound, and we could see them another 15 minutes or so by their puffs.  It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

And then I had to get in the water because it was whale water.   I wanted to swim in what they’d been swimming in! So I did and after the first five seconds it was wonderful.  Doesn’t even have that ‘cold upper arm’ or ‘headache when you dive under’ feeling that usually comes in late August.

No photo proof though.  My phone was a log scramble away and would have made them look like they were miles away.  So I just stood and enjoyed.  And I thought about them before I went to sleep, and when I woke up in the morning, and many times since.  Magic.  But this photo, with the sun closer to setting, shows the spot.  Picture the backs and fins and puffs of four whales just off those rocks.  I get goose bumps just writing about it!

Image 1


No Comments
  • kellisamson
    Posted at 06:30h, 09 September

    Congratulations, Jen! How exciting! A rare sight, indeed. And I love that you don’t have a picture for us and that you just enjoyed the moment.

    • jennifertan47
      Posted at 08:12h, 09 September

      Oh Kelli it was amazing. Some sadness around here last week at a friends’ loss and these whales just brought back the joy there is.

      • kellisamson
        Posted at 05:44h, 10 September

        Sounds like it was just what you needed. Nature is kind that way. So sorry for your friends’ loss.

  • occasionalartist
    Posted at 18:25h, 10 September

    Wow, we were both seeing whales about the same time, you in the northern and me in the southern hemispheres. I like puff better , now that I have seen one it is a much better description. What a magic moment, and in your own front yard as such, you really have the most wonderful location.