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Humpback Whale: Google images Labelled for re-use
Below is part of an article about an encounter with humpback whales off Western Australia by Australian author Tim Winton.*
Read through the description of his encounter and write this week about your own encounter with some aspect of nature be it animal or nature itself.
I pull the outboard out of gear and let the boat’s momentum wash away until we’re dead in the water. Then I switch everything off – engine, echo sounder, even the radio – and there’s silence. Not even the sound of water lapping against the hull. Because it’s breathless out here today. The surface of the gulf is silky. The sky is cloudless, a shade paler than the water. And behind us, onshore, the arid ridges and canyons of the Cape Range are mottled pink and blond in the morning light.
There’s only the two of us aboard, and although the air and water are still enough to be dreamlike we’re not at all relaxed. In fact, each of us is craning at opposite sides of the boat, heads cocked, tense with anticipation.
We wait. A full minute. Then another. Speaking only in murmurs. Until, just as our initial confidence begins to wane, there it is – blam! – just off the stern. And even though we’ve been expecting this eruption, the scale and proximity of it startle us into shrieks and oaths. With a single guttural blast that ends in a groan so deep-throated it sounds positively subterranean, the whale breaks the surface and lies shining and glossy beneath its pall of reeking vapour. Then another rises beside it, a calf. It tilts sideways, showing a flash of white belly. It lifts its pectoral fin a moment as if contemplating a body roll, but others surface close by, hemming it in, so it pulls its wings in and nuzzles up beside its mother.
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