How We Gave a Grey Whale a Headache

We just returned from our annual trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island where we did some salmon fishing, relaxing at our campsite right on the beach, went for long walks down the beach, we ate fresh seafood whenever we felt like it….had a marvelous vacation!!

Many of you know that I’m an avid salmon fisherman, so true to “hard-core fisherman” form I was up at 4:30 on Thursday morning with my fishing partner Dave, to get out on the water by about 5:15 A.M. to get in on the morning bite. This was to be a most memorable morning.

Almost immediately we began catching fish…chinook salmon in the 20 to 30 lb. range. Action was fast and furious. We didn’t even get a chance to have our morning coffee. Knowing that the action can turn off as quickly as it turns on we kept fishing. That morning we had 3 “double headers” (where 2 salmon are on at one time) which added to the intensity. There were numerous boats fishing the same area…when word of good fishing gets out it travels fast!! so we had an audience for what I’m about to describe.

We were making a pass in ”the hole” and just coming up to the shallows at the kelp bed eagerly anticipating the next bite (the kelp bed was one of our hot spots), when Dave mentioned that he thought he saw a sea lion ahead. Now, sea lions and seals love eating salmon and the sound of a screaming reel is like a dinner bell to them. Many fish are inadvertedly fed to these animals every season…we’ve lost our share of fish to them!!

What happened next is a “once in a lifetime” occurance. Dave yelled out “Holy #%&$” and I looked up just in time to see a 30 foot long gray whale just a few feet from the bow of our 17 foot fishing boat. I guess the whale wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around him (too busy feeding in the kelp bed) Just seconds later I felt the whale bump the bow of our boat and just as quickly do an amazing u-turn to avoid the boat. In the process we were showered by a misting of stinky whale breath. We couldn’t believe what had just happened…Grey whales don’t hit boats. And the fishermen in the boats near us were just as incredulous….Did you see what just happened? That whale just rammed that boat!!

It was absolutely incredible to see the agility of such a large animal. The whole scene is etched in my memory forever. When I “replay the tapes” in my mind I can actually smell the whale breath….Wow!!

We were back at the beach by 9:30 AM with a boat full of fish and a great “whale tale”….just in time for breakfast. As Dave was heard to say a few times that day ” Yup, we had a good morning, eight salmon and got bonked by a grey whale”

What a fantastic day!


Living Aloha

Just spent a couple of weeks in Maui….was blown away by how beautiful it is there; jungle, desert, amazing waterfalls, gorgeous beaches, fantastic people…and the weather was just right, not too hot, not too cold. Wow!! No shortage of activities either.There’s swimming, surfing, snorkeling, hiking, etc, etc. And of course just spending the day at the beach soaking up the sun and getting that fine Hawaiian sand all over everything is on the list too!

I really don’t need to make the decision on whether to go back  or not, the only question is when.

One of our most memorable activities was an all day snorkeling and sight seeing boat trip. The beauty of the coast, the islands, the spectacular fish and other underwater sea life and dolphins made this trip fantastic. We saw a (big) manta ray, we swam  through an underwater lava tube, got to do some rock diving (for the more adventurous ones)

But what made this boat trip even more memorable was an aha moment I had while on our snorkelling trip. The captain, Dave, is a most entertaining guy with lots of stories on the history of the area and adventures he’s had…he really likes to talk, and is most personable. Best of all, he absolutely loves his job. He talked about how lucky he is to be doing what he loves in a place that he loves. He is so passionate and grateful for the opportunity to live his passion. During one of his anecdotes he spoke about this and summed it up by saying the he truly lives “Aloha”.   Now I know that aloha is the Hawaiian word for hello and goodbye, so does that mean he’s always both coming and going? :)   Dave is a very energetic guy and does bounce around alot, but I knew that’s not what he meant. So when I had an opportunity to speak with him I had to ask, “What exactly did you mean when you talked about “living aloha”?

He summed it up perfectly and in a way I’ll never forget when he said, ” Living aloha is living life with absolutely no anger”

That was it, the whole explanation was just a few short words, and as I mentioned previously, Dave is a man of many words….but  not this time! He really couldn’t have made his point any clearer by adding any more words. But what a fantastic way to live!

Think about it. What if we all made a commitment to “Live Aloha” and live our lives without the burden of anger or resentment?

When I reflect on this amazing trip to Hawaii with my family, the one thing I’ll always remember is the words “Live Aloha” and what they mean.

Aloha, and have a fantastic day