Sailing with whales, a grumpy girlfriend and skinny dipping

One of the perks with cruising life is the nature experiences it provides, since you are not only immersed in nature but also heavily dependent on it. Of course, not all aspects of spending between 8-20 hours a day outside is positive. When there is stormy weather and huge waves to balance, or you get exhausted and burnt by the sun it is possible that a day at the office seems like a much better idea.

But let me tell you about a day in the sun, that was as much boring as exhilarating (yes it’s possible to combine the two!).

We knew we were almost not going to be able to sail at all that day. The rumours about the Mediterranean are true – many times the wind is too weak to hold out the sails. This meant a long day by the motor, since the batteries last so much longer at low speed. After some hours it was getting very hot, even though it was a cloudy day. I decided that it was time for a swim! While it sounded like a perfect idea, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We still haven’t managed to install a swimming ladder on the boat, which means that you need to drag yourself up on push-pit and climb up by the rudder. Needless to say, eight months mostly sitting on the a** on the boat has not improved the physique and I barely made it up the last time I tried. After hesitating a while, we both jumped in.

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The water was crystal clear and refreshing. After a lot of coaching and help I managed to get up at the boat at the third attempt. Even though it led to a grumpy/frustrated face that lasted half an hour, the refreshing effect of the swim lasted longer.

A while later, I was cooking dinner when Jens called on me – “Get up here, there is something funny in the horizon, I think it might be whales!?”

I needed little more convincing. In a distance, we could see some large animals a little bit over the surface, sometimes diving up and down through the water. We steered a bit closer and tried to identify them through the binoculars. Was it whales? Killer whales? Or just another type of dolphins?

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When we got a bit closer we decided to turn of the noisy generator as well as the engine to not scare them off and enjoy the view in silence. It looked like several groups of animals, probably at least four groups of at least five individuals each. We drifted a bit closer to them, and they drifted closer to us. I got frustrated at first, “This is why I bought a superzoom camera! Now I only have this crappy 10-year old compact camera and the GoPro-camera that has been acting funny and not been working– why now!?” But those petty thoughts were soon dissolved as we watched the animals in awe.

After drifting next to each other on 1-200 meters apart, one group started swimming towards us. Their trubbiga noses shot out of the surface, and the black fin rolled through the surface. But most of all, it was the sound of their breathing that made it evident that we were so close. All of a sudden they were just some 20 meters from the boat, 10 meters, 5 meters, and then diving under the boat! There is simply no way of not being excited when animals as big as half the length of Mouni is swimming next to and under the boat.

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When I sat down on the side of the boat I could clearly see one animal swimming just a meter below surface straight towards the boat, just to turn as it was inches from Mouni and “slap” the keel with its tail! Soon they swam in group next to us, singing, bouncing into each other and making splashes and bubbles through the water. (We later learned that they were Long-finned Pilot Whales, closely related to dolphins and the baby whales swim with their mother the first three years.)

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Just like that we were now surrounded by these wonderful creatures, and the lack of technology to capture this perfect moment through just made it even more precious – to actually just be here and now.

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Later in the evening, the mountain line got glow from the setting sun, which finally turned the sky and sea bright red. The moon rose over the clouds and we could finally see the faint lights of our destination in the horizon.

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As a wise man once said – “Learn to appreciate cruising under two knots”

(We´re still learning)

– Petra

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Author: sailingforharmony

Cruising the oceans, exploring the world

8 thoughts on “Sailing with whales, a grumpy girlfriend and skinny dipping”

  1. Lovely experience, lovely described – you make us enjoy the adventure together with You. Many thanks, take care and keep learning!

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  2. A lovely post. I too removed my swim ladder when I installed my windvane. I made a workable rope ladder with a double figure of 8 loop at the bottom and alpine butterfly knots every 8 ,inches (to suit an old mans knees!) See my post at Shadowmere.blogspot.com I used the ladder in the isles de Glenans.

    We have been in a bit of a rush soi guess the blog is not too interesting. Will be in La Rochelle for a week now though! Talk soon.
    Ian

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    1. Thanks Ian, have to check that out 🙂 Now that we have patched the dinghy again I can get up on that and then onto the boat which is more easy. You are doing great progress! We are melting away here, doesn’t help us get very efficient 😉

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  3. Wow, sailing with whales!! You are having fun, we think. But it must have been really hot out there!! As for us, last week we sailed over to Brittany from Arklow. We are about to visit many of the places you visited. Right now we are heading for Concarneau. See: sailingyachtkristoffel.blogspot.com. Many greetings from Kristoffel, Lei and Els.

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    1. Well that was an awesome experience. Other than that, the Med is not so fun sailing with a boat like Mouni unfortunately, it’s getting on our nerves to not have enough wind for sailing. Thanks for sharing the blog, we will check it out!

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  4. Hej Petra och Jens!

    Tack för det fina vykortet vi fick idag med posten! Tack också för alla underhållande berättelser från er seglats, jag har följt varenda en med stort intresse, det lovar jag. Fantastiskt med valarna som omringade er båt, tror ni att de var nyfikna, och kändes det inte skrämmande eller så? Tänk om de kommit när ni låg i vattnet och simmade och inte hade någon badstege att snabbt klättra upp på……När vi var i Alaska och var ute på en valsafari var det en späckhuggare som dök under vår båt. Det tyckte t o m guiden var lite spännande. Men späckhuggare kanske är lite läskigare att hamna tillsammans med i vattnet än dom där lång fenade pilotvalarna?

    Det låter härligt med all sol och värme. Passa på att ladda batterierna med den energin för när ni kommer hem är det nog mest kyla och blåst som väntar (även om vi inte kan förutspå hösten ännu). Just nu är det i alla fall kallt och blåsigt, bortsett grönskan kunde det lika gärna vara mars eller oktober som pågick. Vi kom hem från Österrike igår, vi har varit bort i ett par veckor. Där nere var det +30 C nästan hela tiden, så asfaltspromenader, typ när vi var i Bratislava och i Wien, var ganska jobbiga. Men annars var det jättehärligt!

    Vad roligt att ni kommer hem! Det tycker väl era familjer också. Vi får ordna en träff, kanske ute på Singö eller så, så får ni berätta mer och visa bilder.

    Önskar er mycket vind i seglen och många nya oförutsägbara och underbara upplevelser!

    Stor kram

    Cribben och Eric

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    1. Tack för din långa kommentar, alltid kul med ordentlig feedback 🙂 Det var inte läskigt med dessa valar, späckhuggare hade nog vart lite läskigare. De flesta var ändå inte så många meter. Men jag sa till Jens att jag föredrog att han inte hoppade i 🙂 Jag börjar nästan känna att jag behöver åka hem för att vila upp mig lite innan jobb, här är det så himla varmt att det är svårt att vila och vi börjar gå varann på nerverna att leva så tight. Men det här med att inte uppskatta värmen kommer jag säkert få äta upp när vi kommer hem som du säger 🙂

      Hoppas ni får en riktigt skön sommar på Singö, förr eller senare ses vi! Kram

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