"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Stormy Seas

>> Saturday, May 11, 2013

                        “You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.
                          You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
                          Strong, when I am on your shoulders,
                          You raise me up to more than I can be.”
The other day, bow watch was positively thrilling. Clinging to the fore shrouds, covered in rain-resistant gear, I happily began my hour as look out, I had company. Thirty to forty Atlantic Spotted Dolphins played in the waves on the bow of the boat. “Play” is no anthropomorphism either. Perhaps the small babies were exempt, because they frequently and urgently slapped their tails on the surface to their parents who slapped back which made me think they were not delighting in the weather as much as the others. However, the rest of the dolphins found numerous ways to entertain themselves in the wild waves. Some leapt out of the water with a slight twist of their bodies and others blew distinct bubble rings, which broke on the surface as bright, white circles.
            The waves were six to eight feet high and the boat rose and fell with great force. The sky darkened from an approaching squall and still the dolphins played. One, breaking off from the large group, would shoot by the bow pumping his powerful flukes. His sleek, spotted body was beautiful. He was so much faster than the boat! As he cruised by, he turned slightly so I could see his eye. I thought of how different his perspective must be, looking up from the water at me, instead of looking down.
             A wave would crest higher than the others, and the larger dolphins would get into position. As the wave rolled by the bow, six or seven would ride in the crest of the wave. Their bodies were so close to the surface that they were illuminated in great detail.
            The pod surfed the waves for several more minutes, their dorsal fins revealing their presence. After a large wave, I could always spot them again by their fins scattered on the surface. Gradually, they fell behind and I noticed the squall was nearly on us. As the drops of rain were driven by the wind into my eyes, I squinted to the horizon to look for boats. Sometimes a patch of water would take on a darker shade, but no dolphin would surface. Saddened by their sure disappearance, I snugged up the ties on my jacket hood and gulped the fresh sea breeze.
            The waves intensified and the wind created whirling shapes and miniature ripples on each wave and swell. Cresting whitecaps filled the sea and trails of bubbles appeared from the wind grazing the surface. Alone at the bow as the squall blew and blew, I was warmed by the knowledge that those playful dolphins were continuing their sport elsewhere on the vast and stormy sea.

Chelsea Kimball


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