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A dream come true

When I was maybe eight or ten years old my grandmother gave me a book on marine mammals. I think she was trying to get one of her grandsons to pick up after her. Unfortunately for her, that did not happen. But I did pick up some love for whales. From this book there were two specimens that called my attention. One of them was the sperm whale, being able to dive 2000 meters deep to hunt giant squid. The second one and the one that really caught my eye was the blue whale, describing it as the largest and loudest mammal on earth which can measure up to 35 meters long, eat the weight of an African elephant of krill and has a heart the size of a small family car. I started sailing to Antarctica with Europa fourteen years ago and I was sure I was going to get to see my blue whale there. But they were hunted so much during the whaling era that they were brought almost to extinction making sightings quite unlikely nowadays. But although chances were low, there was always little hope left that we would find one. After sailing to Antarctica fifteen times, the big blue was still the empty checkbox on my list and I started to fear I was never going to see one. This was till I got asked to join the Chilean Channels voyage, I knew that the coast near Chiloe Island was one of the main sites to spot blue whales. So if I was ever going to see one, for sure this was going to be it.  

I embarked in Ushuaia trying not to keep my hopes too high, after all, 20 years have passed since I found out about blue whales, and have been trying to spot one ever since. The voyage has been magnificent, with unbelievable landscapes and whales and dolphins swimming right next to our zodiacs. But as we would head each time further north, the thought of finding the blue whales wouldn’t leave my mind. 

Early this morning we approached Chiloe Island on our way to Ancud where we had to drop off the pilots. I was slightly disappointed we were only going to be there for such a brief time, since that would reduce our time to spot whales. As we left Ancud on our way back to open waters on deck with Jordi we were waiting to get to deeper waters to have better conditions for our whales. The sea looked calm and we couldn’t see any birds flying in the sky, not a great sign for our whale watching. But we kept our lookout till a few minutes later Jordi finds a blow on the horizon. At last we had found our blue whales! We drop all squares, take up on the sheets of all staysails and head in the direction of the blows we had seen. Soon we found ourselves surrounded by not only blue whales, but also fin and humpbacks. It was really a magnificent sighting enjoyed by everyone on deck, one that I will never forget. I only wish my grandmother was still with us so I could share my excitement with her, but wherever she is I like to believe that she already knows.


Geschreven door:
Mafu | Expedition Guide

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