Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Back home for Christmas
Firstly, this is not my picture, I got it from here. I have not yet been fortunate enough to take a good picture of the humpback whales in Hawai'i.
The coquis are becoming a little quieter tonight, the surf isn't too loud although I can still hear the waves crashing against the cliffs, but I can hear something else as well. It's a really strange sound, something similar to "aawhooheee" followed by a "hhrrmmpphh" and then a "bwosshhh!".
I've heard the sound before and eleven years ago, at about this time of year, I heard it for the first time. I'd just arrived back from work, it was a quiet windless evening with the sun about to set and I heard the strangest sounds to the north. I stopped and tried to listen in case my imagination was playing tricks, but I heard it again. Whoohoohaaeee! Bwoshhh! Slap! Hrmph!
Eleven years ago I ran upstairs and out into the lanai. In those days the nearby ocean was easily visible from there (the beautiful palm trees in my back yard have grown since then!). I needed to know what was causing that strange sound.
Back then, a few hundred yards away, was a mother humpback whale and her baby sheltering in the bay. The noises were the mother calling to her calf and the occasional tail and flipper slap on the ocean's surface followed by a violent exhalation of air through her blowhole. I could even hear the calf 's calls every so often.
Tonight I can hear the same thing but it's too dark to go to the cliffs. I can relax, though, knowing that a mother and baby are back home for Christmas. I wonder if the mother is that calf from eleven years ago?