Monday, February 01, 2010

whale tale

The night before was silent and starry after I left the Haiti fundraiser, and along Fig Tree Drive after midnight I knew that the next day's adventure would be memorable. We hadn't really planned a big outing, but a trip over to Barbuda was going to be a must. It had simply been too long, and when you have a sunday without any wind Barbuda seems so much closer. Of course 26 miles isn't that far, but the shallow shelf between the sister islands can provide some awefully choppy seas when it's windy. When I got to Curtain Bluff the stars reflected on the still water and lights were visible from Montserrat. Stunnning! I was exhausted after serving drinks for the past six hours but still excited about the prospects that were waiting for me in the morning.
I woke early and looked out the window. Ocean Nomad didn't move at all on the dock below and the water looked like it had turned to ice. Not a single ripple moved anywhere. I sent out a few texts to people I thought would be awake and might want to join us on a Barbuda trip, and quickly had a few replies. Within two hours we were leaving Jolly Harbour and on our way to Palmetto Point. As we passed the hotels on the west coast, I told everyone to keep an eye out for whales. I said it was early in the season, but very possible to see them in these conditions. We didn't see a thing on the way over until about a mile off when all of a sudden we spotted dolphins off our starboard side. These guys didn't want to hang out with us and only briefly showed themselves before going deep. Just after we got to the point we saw another pod of dolphins, but again they were not excited about seeing us. Usually a Barbuda trip involves plenty of snorkeling, beachcombing and other active sort of things, but as soon as the anchor was dropped into the sand below, a  bottle of wine opened up and I knew this trip would be more of a relaxing one. We had a swim enjoying the pelicans that were doing spectacular dives into bait fish nearby. After a few drinks and a bit of time to enjoy the beauty of the long beach we then decided to head up to Spanish Point. Just after leaving anchor I noticed something black break the surface of the water about two miles to the west. I told Roddy that it could only be one thing. Whales! Enjoy his video: