Everyone was busy taking pictures and I was busy getting soaked. I didn't care, it was a miraculous feeling. She swam away and although we stayed very still she did not reappear immediately. The captain steered the boat toward some other whales we could see in the distance. Then the guide yelled at us again that two were coming close to the boat.

There was my new found friend with her baby. It was unbelievable to see how she nudged her baby toward our boat. She was bringing her baby to meet me!!!! Before long I was within 5 feet of the most beautiful baby whale you can imagine.
A year ago I went through one of the most difficult times in my life. I had lost my family and closed my store all within months. The heartache was numbing. I decided to go to Mexico and see if I could renew my perspective and outlook on life. To say I arrived in Mexico with a heavy heart is an understatement. I booked into a hotel on the Baja choosing one of the less populated areas for tourists. It was in late February which also happens to be when the Grey Whales swim down to have their babies.

I decided that I may as well do something other than sit in the sun and feel sorry for myself so I booked a day trip to see the whales. I was not prepared for what happened.

On arrival at the marina, we were all chaperoned into little motor boats. Now I have seen pictures of people out whale watching and at least they had boats larger than the whales but not in Mexico. Each boat seated 6 people. Off five little boats went to search for whales and dolphin. We soon spotted a couple of water sprouts which our guide said were whales. The captain of our boat took off in that direction. Soon there were 4 and then 6 grey whales swimming close enough for us to get a look and some pictures. People were so excited viewing them from afar.

Our guide alerted us to a huge dark spot moving closer to the boat. We were all a little apprehensive because these whales were at least twice as long as the boat we were in.
To my utter amazement all of a sudden one surfaced right in front of my face. It had swum under the boat and came up on my side. I thought I was imagining that it took a very good look at me while it was out of the water. Well, let me tell you that was some sight to see. Everyone was trying to take pictures of her under the water before she swam away.
Within a few minutes she was back. Once again surfacing right beside me. Once again, she looked me right in the eye. Being jolted out of my self pity, the next time, I was ready for her. She surfaced in front of my eyes and I reached out to touch her. She stayed on top of the water long enough for me to rub her beautiful barnacle covered, scarred head and snout. She did that twice. I was absolutely beside myself.

On the bus trip back everyone was cheerfully talking about the experience and my "bonding". The guide told us that in 18 years of conducting tours to see whales, only once before had they witnessed a whale allowing someone to touch them.

Why did this happen? I have no explanation why she chose me for the privilege. Until this day I am sure that mother whale sensed my sadness. It was a humbling experience and an opportunity most people never get in their lifetime.

It brings tears to my eyes when I remember the day I started  back from the pit of desperation and bonded with that whale. She helped me to see the light even though I was in a very dark place. To describe it as a religious experience is the best I can do.

One must appreciate what obstacles that mother whale had to overcome on her long journey to the place she would have her baby? That magical encounter paved the way for me to put life back into perspective and I came home a much wiser and happier person. This huge, beautiful creature made me understand that, despite the obstacles life puts in your way, there is always an opportunity for a new beginning.

You must never give up.

Lynn Perrier
© 2000

The mother swam just on the other side of her and after I had a long enough time to absord what I was seeing, she guided her baby away from the boat and out into the waters. That was the last we saw of her.
P.S. The pictures were taken with different cameras in case you are wondering about the color difference. My little disposable camera was drenched with water and I was surprised I managed to save what I did. Thank goodness for a really nice tourist who had asked for my name and address to send me her pictures and actually did.
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