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(_11) Chapter Eleven

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Katherine was getting all sorts of communication now from her surfer contacts, the kayak gang.. the sail boarders and miscellaneous whale watchers down the coast. All were reporting non sightings.. “well.. of course..”  and she became agitated for a few moments, then gathered her thoughts. A little flash of that Jimmy Walker guy zipped in and she thought of the tall kid with the dog.. laughed.

 She tried in her best way.. to reflect back what was happening from her perspective,  to her network, but she didn’t want to load up too much and there was a dark, intent and blunt message from Anoneemoose who had triggered her actions at the cove the night before. She’d heard of this person many times as the one who always knew where the whales were.. this information coming to her via her network . She had never been contacted before by the secretive whalewatcher, much less to be notified that fisherman had trapped an entire pod at Comeuppance Cove.

Bitterness raged through her as she thought back to where this had all started.. at least as far as the capturing of whales.. Namu and that confused man Griffin who had only wanted to ride one but who became the leading capturer of the great mammals. There was a long and deeply misunderstood history between man and whale which she knew by heart.. and this was just another horrible and crude example of history repeating itself. She calmed herself and thought backwards for a little while.. exploring a little lateral thinking.. letting a little randomness into her thoughts. The nets and trawler seemed the key but were they? She thought for a while about the scenario at the cove with half the whales on either side of the nets.  The whales were the key.. were they not ?

What were they doing about this? What did they think and feel?

The bull certainly had shown an active and aggressive  interest and she thought again about the huge abstract swell that had broken just past the nets.. and somehow had become this blurring explosion of force that had catapulted her into the dark water.  This was what she lived for.. the great whales.. especially Orca.. and now suddenly she was out of the observation boats, the manning of the hydrophones., the study of endless dorsal profiles. She was in the water with them now.. life and death. She shook her head and took slow and deep breaths, remembering the incredible power of that moment at the cove..

And that enigmatic and smiling young man..! He’d dropped her off safely at home.. refusing her immediate return of the sweater. He’d lightly hopped out of the truck and opened the door for her.. and that darn dog that  had bounded from the truck.

She recollected exactly how the evening had ended. The dog following to her door while flitting from one side of her to another.. sniffing loudly of the night airs that seemed to speak so clearly to him. She’d tried to shoo him away but he seemed to grin at her tired gestures… so she’d unlocked the door.. half stepping inside before turning to look back at the patient dog.. then past him to the young man leaning on the tailgate with a smile. She’d given a tired wave and somewhat defeated last look at the dog and gently closed the door before sagging against it and shaking her head with dismay from side to side. And now here she was thinking about it again.. wondering.

“Who is that guy? And that dog..! And how am I going to get my car back.. and who’s got my boat now? This is a fine mess.”

She snapped back to the here and now and finished off a few very brief emails.. sending them flashing on their way to kayakers and surfers and watchers that she felt played into the moment.. cautioning them all of just how dangerous this could be.. and with what seemed certain to be very heavy weather moving in soon.

She paid particular attention to the words of the young surfer, Honeybear, who reported several sightings of the bull outside the net and several other pod members.. that was good news for sure but.. she wondered about the state of that great mammal.. She’d paid particular interest to this pod just because of him. The male who strangely took over leadership of his pod, despite all Orca history pointing to an immediate progression of one of the females to replace a female leader.

This male had a long history. His recorded harmonic sounds were common knowledge among the cognoscenti of the whales.. as were his mother’s.  Simple proximity though.. where she had been, communicating.. so had he been.. for 29 or so years. He was astonishing in size early on.. his father seemingly a transient bull of some size.. and now at 29 years.. he was for some reason the leader of his pod.. following the mysterious departure of his mother who it was now known.. was traveling the entire west coast with what might be the same transient bull. Her monstrous son seemed to be a chip off the block with a track record of numerous confrontations with fishermen less inclined to give the whales a fair shake..

Eye witnesses had pegged him as the one of legendary status who had pushed a dory rudely and violently about  It was loaded they said .. with several drunken fishermen out shooting at passing whales and seabirds. This one was a handful.. Katherine  thought. He’d shown that clearly. There was another legend attached to him from skippers who claimed a huge whale was out there who’d on numerous occasions hammered on their hulls and stripped their rudders. She knew from her data that this might be true as this same behavior had first been attributed to a very large female in the same migratory pattern and region. His mother? Had he learned this from her?

She wondered..

Back at the cove.. it was dark now.. and several surfers and kayakers had drifted quietly into position out in the large swells rolling from the northwest.. although they were easily rising and falling six to ten feet with each swell they were invisible in the darkness there outside the cove yet able to see within to the brightly lit trawler.

To the huge bull..  Thunderhead.. the gathering was obvious. As he made his ranging look thru the ocean he couldn’t miss the floating arrivals, who seemed to him to have a watchful focus on the events within the inlet and seemed to have the same spirit as Tumbler who seemed to be all over the cove as well as under it. The young worldwalker seemed to have movement that echoed something.  The bull persisted with this thought and turned slowly from the floating surfers it had drifted towards and surfacing in an unagressive spyhop, lightly blew and raked the horizon mapping them and their orientation as they reacted to his blow.  The bull continued its turn and lightly surged toward Tumbler as it sensed another being had entered the water.


Written by diamondwalker

November 26, 2008 at 2:32 pm

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