Friday, January 18, 2013

Thar She Blows!

I've been bad about writing this week!  I'm so sorry.  Other things have been competing for my attention and have won out this week.  I've had a fairly productive week this week with the small set back of some issues back in the states.  Long story short, we've got a few matters that have been literally 2 years in the making that are FINALLY being resolved in the next 10 days.  Thank the LORD for this because they have all been major stressors for us and it's almost over!  Moral of that story: Stay on top of banks, university financial aide people, and loan officers!  If we hadn't just happened to look more closely at our accounts, we wouldn't have seen nearly $10,000 NOT accounted for.  They're sneaky y'all, and they'll swindle you out of your money if you're not careful!

In other news, Jonathan and I, the Grays, and the Wellses went whale watching last Saturday.  It was very cool!  There are mostly sperm whales out here, but there are seasons where a breed of orcas come down, and even humpback whales and pilot whales have been know to stop in!  We only saw sperm whales this time, but they were very cool.  I've been whale watching up in New England before (when I was a kid) and we saw humpback whales there.  Those actually jump out of the water and whatnot, so I was kind of disappointed that the sperm whales were so much less active.  Essentially they float on top of the water and blow air out their blow hole and then do this lazy dive like 3,000 feet into the ocean.  Here are some pictures:

Ready to see some whales!

Leaving the dock, this was our view.  Gorgeous right?  If it's possible, this island is even more beautiful from far away than it is up close!

We headed out about 3 miles and then they put a microphone in the water to see if they could hear the whales clicking.  We stopped twice with no luck.  On the third try when the microphone went in, it sounded like someone was stepping all over bubble wrap!  The little guide guy said it sounded like there were probably 10-12 whales in one general area according to what they heard!  So we picked up the pace and headed toward the sounds...

And then WAY off in the distance we see a little spray like this.  And the captain gets REALLY excited and starts yelling "There she blows!" and we buzz right on over to get a closer look.  You can see from the picture the unique little blowhole that sperm whales have.  It's not in the top of their head, it's on the left side of their head.  I'm not really sure why that is, but it's a fun fact nonetheless...

This guy was a baby.  His mama was much bigger than him, but he was still pretty cool.  He didn't do any "deep dives" for us (those are the ones where you can actually see the tail come up).  Instead he did several shallow dives where he would disappear into the ocean, and then he would randomly pop up 50 yards away.  The captain said, "You know they know we're watching them.  They know we're here."  Which I thought was really cool...I kind of felt like this little baby whale was playing hide-and-go-seek...

And here's mama.  She was REALLY big.  And from far away she just looked like a big tire floating in the ocean (hopefully nobody ever says that about me...).  But upon closer inspection you could see practically her whole body.  She had that ribbed skin on her body like sperm whales do, and her dorsal fin was rounded.  Apparently they get that way after mating season.  She just floated around and sprayed several times and then...

The captain starts screaming "She's going down, she's going down!  Tail comin' up, tail comin' up!"  She sort of raised her head and then mostly disappeared into the ocean.  And then her back rounded and her tail came up out of the ocean!  Cool right?!  I have to confess, though, that this picture is actually Michelle's picture.  I was all ready to get a video for you guys.  And I actually did!  Except that the actual whale wasn't in the frame...I got too excited I guess! :(  At any rate, this is exactly what we saw and it was awesome.  After her tail disappeared she left what they call a "footprint" which is a patch of ocean that is still as glass right where she dove.  Apparently they stay down there for a few hours at a time, so there was no telling how many whales were hanging out right below our boat that we never saw!

Coming back into port, it was just as beautiful as going out!

And then I just had to share this picture I took later that night of a typical Dominican sunset from my back porch.  So beautiful I tell ya!  Most nights I start hearing people outside saying "Wow!  Look at that sunset!" and that's my cue to head to my back porch and watch the show!  It's strange sometimes for me to think about the fact that when the sun is going down here, several of you there in the states are just getting off work!  

So that was our weekend last weekend.  The girls and I (Ashley, Michelle, and Whitney) are headed to the Portsmouth market tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM and then we're gonna head to a morning yoga session.  I have SO loved yoga here and I'm trying to hit every beginner class that I can.  It's free for students and spouses, and the instructor is fantastic!  I keep telling myself that maybe next semester I'll brave the intermediate class.  I mean, I've survived (mostly) the P90X yoga on several occasions.  Surely the intermediate class can't be any harder than that right?  The difference is that I'm not in my living room with nobody but me to hear my whining and complaining or to see my body shaking while trying to do yoga belly stuff.  Ha!  So that is all for now.  And I'll leave you with yet another Dominican wonder from my FRONT porch.  Enjoy!

It's a double!  Maybe at some point in these 16 months I'll see the rare but possible triple Dominica rainbow!  Here's hopin'!

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