This story is not about trimarans. This story is not about boats at all. This story is about where our boats can take us. This story is about the sea, a whale, and a day long ago – or tomorrow.
Twenty five days out of Tenerife, fifty miles east of Antigua, our boat bends the trade wind across a deep blue indigo sea. A white-flecked wave, looming high over the stern, etches the horizon. Puffy white clouds drift across warm blue skies. In the cockpit, a yellow foul weather jacket glows; a red towel startles; vibrant against multi-toned blue, they are the only non-blue or white colors for 50 miles. Foamy waves rumble, the wind hisses and hums.
The boat dances with the ocean. She twists and rolls – slows in the trough, pitches, accelerates, lifts, rocks back stern first over the crest, slews slowing back down into another trough. From the bow, I look astern at the next wave – past the crew at the helm – past the colors – and see a big black shadow. Something alive is surfing the wave, just under the surface, right behind the boat.
The shape cruises from left to right behind us, rolls and disappears. I see it again, torpedoing fast straight at the boat. It dives and flashes under the keel, carves a hard left turn, surfaces and blows just feet from the starboard bow. A whale.
He swims to match the boat, rises and falls as she twists and rolls. I sit on the gunwale on the very bow, the overhanging bow, my legs dangling over the glittering, blue abyss. The whale dives deep, sounds, plunges fast. The underside of his flippers and flukes are impossibly white, and become blue-white fire in the depths. I see him fifty, one hundred feet deep. Down there, he endures enormous pressure. He curves, turns and hurtles to the surface with spectacular power and grace. Timing his breath with perfection, he blows a fishy rainbow spume over me. He rolls on his side, looks up and we meet – blue-eyed man and black-eyed leviathan.
We ride the booming ocean together. He transmits, telepathic. He floods my mind with questions – who am I, what am I doing here, where am I going – his mind is playful, strong and quick – jubilant. I look deep into his dark eye and know his immense power, grace and intelligence. He is young, an adolescent, cruising planet ocean. I try to answer him as fast as I can, but my language can’t keep up with his lightning fast ideation. His brilliant wonder, awe and joy fill my soul. His is a beautiful, playful, joyous intelligence born of the deep. Immense happiness rushes through me; he welcomes me as an equal, a fellow sea-voyager. I am speechless, euphoric. We are, he and I, full of joy. One last look and playful breath and the whale – my brother – rolls, dives and disappears.
That was over twenty years ago.
He remains with me today, that whale; my guardian.
There are times when a dark cruelty creeps up my spine, engulfs my mind with icy tentacles of anger and despair. Black clouds loom, snarl, spit and seek to destroy all that is good, beautiful and holy. A cold wind howls and rain pelts from the sky. Beloved ones seek shelter from my fury. The darkness promises to give me power to overcome, to dominate, to control. It entices me to be monstrous.
And sometimes I do. Become monstrous.
When the wintry grip runs strong and deep; the whale soars from my depths, rockets to my surface. I hear his song and feel his boisterous spirit. He surfaces, rolls and eyes me, blasts me with his telepathy. He fills my head with adventure, exploration, wild freedom and vast ocean. He questions the dark illusion of control and domination – and it evaporates. His playful rebellious joy blows away the gloom. He lures me into the future with beauty, peace and joy.
His message flashes through me. Together, we ride this miraculous rock thru dark space, spinning lost thru infinity with no reason to create or love. Yet we do. We – in spite of the darkness, the fear, and the monstrous – are wild spirits of light and soul. We play, explore, laugh, love and create. We exult on mountains, whoop down rivers, slide across oceans, apply paint to canvas, string words on paper, sing poetry into music, and revere starry nights. We can’t help it. We reflect the rainbow light of the universe and use it to create joy, awareness, life. The universe – enthralled by our exploits, smiles, claps her hands like a giddy child and asks us for more, more, more.
The boat glides on, under white wings and over deep indigo blue while the whale, coming up fast from the deep, breaches high, spins, and crashes laughing into the sea.