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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
As a wise man once said – “Learn to appreciate cruising under two knots”
(We´re still learning)