Hakan Öge
Hakan Öge
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Hakan'ın Kamerasından
Porto Belo, Brazil

The wind stopped blowing and we took off again, towards the whales!

Would they still be around or are we too late? The weather is fair, the water is smooth, we're pleased. We're scanning the surface and soon enough we see the first signs of whale activity. Heart pouncing we approach them, not too fast, hoping they won't take off as we close in.

here are not one, not two but a whole lot of whales, everywhere we look we see splashes from their jumps, fountains from their breathing. Afar in front of us we see a mother and her calf, swimming calmly, showing their round shimmering huge backs every time they breathe. I hope they will keep the same direction so we'll be able to see them up close, I'm standing on the front balcony of the boat, my heart is rushing, there they are, a huge mom, bigger than Mardek with at her side one just like her but much smaller, still, huge though. I am very exited, are they swimming straight towards us? Yes they are! Them and us, slowly slowly closing the gap. Collision any second now! They are just under the surface, the water isn't very clear because of the wind of the last days, but I can clearly see 2 black and big shapes with long thin arms coming straight at us, we're sailing straight at them, I'm leaning on the sail, holding my breath. Then at the very last moment mommy moves her tail and off they are, just far enough to avoid the crash, I can feel the water movement created with her huge tail. I'm silent and speak one million words at the same time, I have never seen a thing like it before, tilt my head in disbelief of what just happened in front of me, not 2 meters away...

The whole day we watch sprays, backs and fins, tails and bellies. When we lose our attention it seems that they have disappeared but when we start scanning the sea, they'll show us a piece of their huge beings. To our left we see one jumping out of the water, 40 tons of whale out in the air, crashing with thundering noise back in. Let's go to it, I say. We're changing our direction, heading for the jumping heavyweight. When we get to the place where the whale was we stop and watch, eyes everywhere, to see him when he comes for air, when he'll jump, when he'll show us his tail or his wings,..., nothing,..., for a long time and then this noise, Hakan and I stare at each other, you heard it? yes, it's the whale singing... yes, but I thought you could only hear these things under water, not on the surface, me to... wiihooowww hiiiiouwww whoooowii quite loud, from every direction at the same time, no locating possible, we gallop on deck from excitement turning our heads around like owls to find out where the hell it comes from but see nothing other than the usual surface of the ocean, this sight so often seen, but never, never on this music. Then an enormous exhale right behind Mardek, the shining round shape of his back harmoniously swimming away. The sun is setting and I realize I could stay here and see these things many days or weeks or months even, just one sight fills my soul is with positive energy, of love and gratitude.

At noon the next day the show goes on, just as I decide to cook us something yummy Hakan spots a whale, just in front, I come up and see something strange, small fins instead of big ones, and two of them right next to each other, they're dolphins I think. But then the big one comes out, they are whales and dolphins! Swimming towards us, past us, 6 or 7 dolphins escorting a whale. A dolphin looks me in the eye and invites me to turn around and follow them, there's a party going on just a little further he says. So we grab the tiller and take their course. Indeed, a little further there's a big one jumping over and over again. I speak no Whale but to me, he's giving directions of where it's happening, all of us are heading in that direction. Today the water is very clear, there is a powder on the surface like stardust that shines in the sunlight. I take my position, high up in front, 3 dolphins swim in formation under Mardek, the water is so clear I can clearly see up to the scratches on their smooth skin, one flips on his back and stares at me as I wave back exchanging all the love that exists within. I marvel at the perfection of what is going on. We're invited at a party, with whales and dolphins, on the horizon Mr Big is still showing us the way, on starboard side Mrs Black is slowly swimming her course, all around us dolphins play...

Somehow we misunderstood something, lost the dolphins and Mrs Black but saw for more than an hour Mr Big jumping with all his might, white belly out, big splashes all over us, he's giving us a real big show. Emotionally exhausted we take our own course again as Mr Big takes his.

We're changing our destination, heading for Rio, we can't possibly leave Brazil without seeing Rio can we now? After 12 days of being on board, anchored in a cold front, navigating alongside of the biggest mammals alive, swimming in the ocean while Mardek waits calmly that we're done with our frolicking, fighting with a fisherman's net in a black night with huge waves splashing all over us, saving in extremis a tiny black bird that for some reason went at sea, we land in Rio, where we celebrate my 34th birthday.

I am changing, adapting to this life, getting real sea legs, developing new senses, hearing without my ears, seeing without my eyes. A lot of things happen that I can't explain but show me the ocean is not an unfriendly territory it's just a different one, with different rules, different standards. If I'm to travel on it, I have to change my ways, adopt my surrounding and live with the water's rules. I have to stop seeing it as a foe, but as a friend, talk and listen, make my muscles become as fluid as the swell, my knees as flexible as the waves so that I don't even feel we're on the move. I am getting ready, for the south, I'll go there on the ocean, with the ocean, as traveling companions.


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