A pod went through. We spotted them first by their spray, blowing into the grey sea air. The cry went up.
And we grabbed binoculars. Rain had spattered on the windows, blurring the view, so we assembled on the verandah, twenty metres above sea level. Salt spray stung our cheeks and misted our glasses.
Fascinated we searched the waves for signs. We thought there was just a single animal on her way west to a safe bay, perhaps to drop her calf. Hermanus is well known for being a haven where whales congregate in the early spring to give birth and nurse their calves in safe waters.
“Look at that!”
“Just beyond the breakers. About fifty metres out in a straight line from the red roof.”
We followed the directions with our eyes.
And were treated to a show like no other on earth.
Whales blowing; splashing dorsal fins and tails. Whales turning, seemingly spinning in the waves. Adult whales, faces down in a vertical line to the horizon, raising their enormous tails above the water level and bringing them down with such force the splash could have filled a small swimming pool. Little ones leaping and diving on the surface.
Whales breaching. Lifting their huge bodies completely out of the water, giving us a sight we will never forget.
They were too far out to take photos, too quick for any of us to focus. But the show is something that is burned on my memory.
It’s a grey picture. Grey sea, grey skies, dark grey whales. But the magnificence of these mighty creatures brought with it all the colours of the wonder of creation. For there were twenty or more going past our viewpoint. Leaping and cavorting in the waves, they may have been feeding as they were there, in front of the house for a long time and throughout the day they delighted us with their antics.
What a treat for those of us who live inland and only dream of such sights. What a gift of new experience and memories were granted to us on this day.