Thursday, January 29, 2009

Call Me Ishmael

There are a lot of beaches in our stretch of Mexico and yesterday we went to our third in four days - Barra de Potosi. Rumor has it the beach at the conclusion of Shawshank Redemption was filmed there, but we watched it recently and unless they did some serious editing, I don't think it really was. Regardless, it's our favorite beach here and I was excited to share it with my sister (mom's already been there).

The beach itself is nine kilometers long, a gentle curve that creates a very large bay. We were at the end with the enramadas (small restaurants with thatch roofs), near a lagoon that is currently connected to the ocean. During the summer the water drops back and the sand cuts off the lagoon from the larger body of water. Last week was the first time I'd seen them connected and Ibis and I ventured pretty far out on the sand bar (we skipped that part yesterday).

Ibis has a hard time sitting still for any length of time, and somewhere between the volleyball, swimming, walking, dominoes, soccer, and reading, he shouted excitedly* that he'd seen a whale. We all laughed him off and continued doing whatever we were doing.

At some point he decided to run the length of the beach, so I joined my mom in a lounge chair near the ocean's edge. A sudden shout - then three more - made me jump.

"Whale! Whale!"

I turned to see where they were pointing but couldn't figure out where they saw it in the large bay, so I ran to my sister's side so she could point it out.

A burst of water shot up from the surface, then a large back shape rolled above the waves. Then another burst of water. My dad - ever the boy scout - already had his binoculars glued to his face, so we passed them between us as the whales swam along the bay. The small crowd in the restaurant stared at the water for nearly half an hour as the whales swam out of the bay. My sister had the binoculars the longest and told us there was a baby, and someone else was sure they saw two adults. So, three whales total.

Ibis was still on his run and we figured that he should have been right next to where the whales had surfaced. They popped up every couple minutes and seemed to be very close to the shore where we guessed he was.

I never saw the tail like the rest of the people near us, but it was still really cool. I've heard that January and February are "whale season" here but hadn't seen one before today. (I did see one on our long drive last March, but that was from the car so it doesn't feel the same.) I'm glad we were able to arrange the sighting for my sister on her first visit here.

The only bad thing was it turns out Ibis didn't see them at all. He was gone so long we thought he was standing on the shore watching them, but he said the way the sun was it was too bright to look back towards us - the direction of the whales.

Have you ever seen a whale?




*I just finished New Moon and the adverbs are taking over...

17 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

*grumbles* pesky adverbs...

What a sighting! But what a bummer Ibis didn't get to see them.

WendyCinNYC said...

Since we live at the beach in the summer, I've seen whales numerous times. But the best sighting was on a trip to Hawaii. We were on one of those "whale watching" boats when we saw a mother training her baby really REALLY close to us. They had to shut off the motors and wait for her to move on, according to regulation. She hung around for 40 minutes or so. It was amazing.

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, he was pretty bummed.

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, I would love that! Although, I get freaked out by really deep water so I think I might also hyperventilate a bit while watching them. I know people here who've seen them while on a fairly small fishing boat - talk about scary AND exciting!

Travis Erwin said...

Only whale I've seen is my gut in the mirror, but one of these days I hope to see the real thing.

Turkey Lurkey said...

Yes! When I lived in San Diego, we had whale season. The California Gray Whales migrate down to Mexico from the North Pacific. Those whales might be Gray Whales. :)

Nadine said...

We have the whale season here December- April, but now that we are on the other side of the island, we won't see them as much. But my mother-in-law is coming here in Feb and we are going to take a whale watching tour so that should be fun.

Penguin said...

Never seen a whale.

However I have meet an Ishmael....

I had to ask him to repeat his name(several times) because I didn't believe it the first few times.

That is too cool to see them up close like that.

So, did you get any pictures?????

Robin said...

That is super cool! You should have acted really blase, and told you're sister, "How boring! We see stuff like this every day. Last week the octopus, this week whales...."

I saw killer whales in Alaska. They were beautiful.

Aimless Writer said...

So coool Ishmael!
I've never seen a whale.
Turning green with envy here in NJ.

Melanie Avila said...

Travis, I've spotted quite a few of those types of whales...

Melanie Avila said...

Turkey, that's quite possible. I suppose I could look it up. :)

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, that is so cool! I go back and forth between wanting to do something like that and completely freaking out at the idea of being in such deep water near HUGE whales.

Melanie Avila said...

Penguin, that's fricking funny! They were pretty far away, so while we could see them with the naked eye, we couldn't see them well.

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, I did ask if she liked that we arranged them for her. She did. :)

Killer whales sound frightening!

Melanie Avila said...

Aimless, it was pretty cool, I'm just bummed Ibis didn't see them.

Lauren said...

That is so cool that you saw three whales. I kinda saw one once...but it was too far away to see anything except water flying up from the blowhole.

How special you were able to see them with your mom and sister. Too bad your hubby didn't get to see them too.