Friday, July 10, 2015

Moments of the Week: Maine!

I apologize for not having anything last week. Friday was our busiest day of the vacation, and immediately after that was travel, night at a hotel, 5AM flight home, and two days of crashing. At home recovering. Not in the plane.

Also, I apologize for not having pictures as I said. Due to tight spaces with packing (checked baggage? Pbbt) and lots of planned time on boats, I decided to leave my camera at home. Do I ever regret it. The things we saw and experienced, I wish I could have documented. So much beauty and grace and-

Baby seal.

Yeah, that's really it. I wanted to take pictures of a wild baby seal. Don't get me wrong, Maine is beautiful and an experience I've never had before, but I really just wanted pictures of baby seal.

All the same, there were still moments which I am happy to share with words even if I can't back them up with pictures.

  • When you go whale watching, it's a gamble. The condition of the seas, the boat, the experience of the captain at the wheel, all of them can make or break your experience. On rocky waters after a storm, with all the whitecaps breaking around you, you wonder how you'll ever spot anything. How can you tell the whale's identifying spout from the break of a wave?

    When you see it, you know it. When you catch that first blast of water shooting out of the sea, you know. There's a rush of adrenaline when you spot it, a question of if you were seeing things. It was just a moment, but it had to have been a spout, and when you call it out, everyone on board rushes to your side, straining to see what you saw.

    For an hour, we tracked and watch a pair of fin (or finback) whales, a mother and calf. The fin whale is the second largest animal behind the blue whale and are endangered. While we never got to see an iconic tailflip as they dove or even managed to get very close, it was still amazing to see these giant, powerful creatures as close as we did. 
  • Baby seal! (Can you guess my favorite part of the trip?) Twelve miles out to sea, Monhegan is a small island of less than 75 people living there full time, 9 of which are children. It's a lovely little place with artists a plenty and walking trails leading all over the island to overlook the rocky coast from 175 feet above the sea. If you take the ferry out to it, you have a few hours to explore, buy, eat, and drink (Monhegan has its own microbrewery with amazing root beer) before the ferry offers a 30 minute tour around the island to see the small islets around it, often occupied by seals.

    As the boat took to sea, we were greeted with a completely different view of the island, outside looking in. The captain directed our attention to the various cliffs and a rescue boat long wrecked, and near the end, we finally started to see the islets. The first one, a gentleman loaned me his binoculars to see some seals, but the focus was too poor for my eyes, and I couldn't make anything out. On another one, the captain announced there was a bald eagle sitting on top, so we'd be slowing down and keeping quiet to not startle it. As we drifted by, the eagle sat unperturbed, barely noticing us. As I watched it, a seal swam by in the water, and just above it, a little seal face popped up from behind the rocks. Then it crawled out, and I realized it couldn't have been more than two feet long from head to flipper, much, much smaller than its swimming counterpart.

    I squealed. I squealed loudly.

    I MIGHT have startled the eagle away. But it went over to the island on the other side of us, so we didn't lose sight of the majestic bird. My attention, though, was on the baby as it flopped and wiggled its way down the rocks. My last sight of it was as a wave rolled up on the rocks, and the baby wiggled and flapped its flippers in glee as the water raced around it. The cutest thing I've ever seen.
  • On yet a third boat trip, we passed a small, privately owned island with a single house on it, engulfed by trees. But the bottom of the island was barren of trees, ending in a small plot of grass and tapering off to a rocky point. On the grassy plot, there was a single, empty bench, waiting for someone to come, sit, and watch the boats sail by.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip wherein I bonded with some cousins in a way I've never had the chance to because all our previous times together, I was a child and they were adults. Now, as all adults, we had a fabulous time. I've been back to the grind for a week now, and I miss them, and Maine, already. I can see why writers and artists make such a place their home. If it didn't have such abominable winters, I might actually consider it myself.

Next week, we'll be back to normal, everyday moments, as well as a response to an award from my long-time reader Lilian. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and if you've had some moments this week, please, as always, feel free to share.

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