AN OPEN-BOAT ADVENTURE
Scale was all over the map; a wave breaking in an even peel across a distant sand bar looked no different from the wake of a passing panga. Whales will do that: Can we really imagine something as long as our house gliding effortlessly through the sea? I watched what now looked like a tree trunk floating, on end, high out of the water. It had to be a spyhopping whale — but one, on its own, able to hold that position far longer than seems physically possible. Or it was touching bottom? Balanced
Page 72 •
• November, 2018
The wild and rugged windward shore of Isla Magdalena, south of Bahía Santa María.
on its flukes? Then there's another. And another. I grabbed binoculars and realized I was looking across the boca at close to two dozen whales rising, pausing, then sliding back down into the water as if members of a new group taking turns introducing themselves to one another. I couldn't take it. I didn't really want to sail in this wind, not unless I had reason to be somewhere other than where I was right then. But . . . come on.
I unfurled Madrina's mizzen; we weathercocked in the wind. Hooked the yard to the mast traveler, hauled on the halyard. One last look to make sure the mainsheet was free, then hopped forward for the anchor. The tide and the wind slid us slowly from shore. I eased off on the mizzen, unlashed the tiller, tightened up the sheet, and let the wind swing us off on a course that should just about intersect whales frolicking in a far corner of the bay. — scott sadil
The November 2018 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.