Thursday, May 15, 2008

Act Four: Call Me Ishmael…

One of the things I most love about the beach by our beach house (and therefore I call it “OUR beach” because really it is) is that it often has whales. Honest to goodness whales. For those of you not recognizing the term, whales are hugely-huge water beasties which are largely considered to be both some of the most awesome things ever earth-invented and also sweet and amazing and everybody who knows whales love whales. And I know whales, and I REALLY love that each year we have excellent whale potentials at our beach! This year we had hints of whale here and there, but nothing to compare to the great whale extravaganza of ought-five. Oh such whales did we see that year! They were not just spouting, but also tail slapping and breaching and waving “howdy peoples in the beach house!” with their shiny little fins! (and by “little” I mean probably as long as me. And by fins I mean… well gosh, I sure hope it was a fin…) There is no better family for such whale shows as my family, because we respond like a circus crowd! We just lose our shtuff! Here is the normal process for whale-siting amongst the Tastic clan:

  • One eagle-eyed family members sees something on the horizon and shouts the traditional ‘I’ve seen a whale’ call, of “Spout!”, accompanied by spastically pointing out to the ocean. In case any of the group thought that maybe the spouting whale was on the beach, or maybe sitting on the deck or doing the dishes.
  • There’s a mad dash for the various pairs of binoculars all over the dining room table (or for me, I grab my camera and trusty zoom lens. Taking a moment now to reflect on how much I love my camera. And trusty zoom lens. …) and everyone starts scanning the ocean for plumes. And the one who saw it initially starts trying to explain where we should be looking. It normally sounds something like this:
  • “OK, so you see on the dune out there, where it points up? No, right there, where there’s the point-up, kind of like a look pointy point? No, to the right of that. More,… more,… ok, so now look right over that pointy point and to the right, and maybe ½-way to the horizon… see it? See it? Anyone see it? Well no, it’s not spouting right now, but if it were you’d totally see it!”
  • Eventually there’s a new spout and cheers of “FLOOOM!!!!” and now the hunt is ON!
  • With each new spout there’s new cheering. Better yet, when there are multiple whales we go CRAZY! We’re better than free-beer and liquid cheese night at the small-town ballpark! Clapping, hooting, happy-spouting-whale dances… good times!

This year, with the general lack of verified whale sitings we tried to recreate our enthusiasm with a pair of brown bunnies who would pop their heads up somewhere on the dunes between house and beach. And so desperate were we for wildlife adventures we’d all lose our minds with “Bunny! Bunny! Brown bunny, there on the grass! There! There! THEEERRREEEE!!!!” We even chased one poor bunny from the back deck to the carport in front and back around. (although you can’t really say we chased it because it got away from us almost immediately, was never actually seen in the carport (and probably never even came to the front of the house) and we were mostly just ‘chasing’ phantom bunnies. Wishing secretly in our heart of hearts that they were whales. But anyway.)

...tomorrow: The Family Tastic...

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