I was sitting in a kayak in the middle of the ocean, silently praying the giant beast wouldn’t flip my boat.
It was a warm misty morning that was covered in a blanket of grey fog that coated itself over the day. I was staying at my favourite place on the planet, The Inn at Happy Adventure on the Eastport Peninsula in Newfoundland. The Inn is beautiful and has inspiring views of the ocean from almost any point in the place. I was just finishing my coffee when my kayaking guide arrived. His name was Chris, a University student with a bright, infectious smile and a personality to match. I was nervous that the rain would cancel our adventure. It had already moved from the day before due to high winds, and I had to leave that afternoon. I looked at Chris full of trepidatious hope. Everyone else who was supposed to be on the kayaking tour had cancelled because of the rain, but the water was excellent for a paddle; still and smooth, perfect for spotting whales. Chris smiled and told me if I didn’t mind getting wet and being the only one on the tour he was ready to go. One thing I have learned while travelling; you can’t be a princess. I
If you are not willing to get wet, muddy, dirty, scratched or cold, you will miss out on some of life’s most amazing experiences.
The water was as smooth as glass. The fog was gently rolling out of Happy Adventure Harbour, and the rain turned from downpour to docile mist. It was hard to tell where the sky stopped and the water began. As I was climbing off the dock and into the boat, I took a deep breath of salty air. I always feel an unparalleled sense of peace when kayaking. Gliding over the water as though weightless, the only sound the rhythmic dipping of the paddle as it first kisses the water, then the air, the water, the air, keeping time with the journey like the ticks of a Grandfather clock. It is a living meditation that I allow to wash over me. No one can reach me out here.
My tranquillity was broken by the spray of a whale in the distance. Chris stopped paddling to tell me it was a Minke whale, a “smaller” variety only growing from 23-26 feet in length. My eyes widen.
“Would you like to get closer?” he asked me.
A huge smile raced across my face as I paddled in the direction of the whale. We powered through the water on a mission. It was an amazing experience, and I was incredibly excited. Chris stopped suddenly and began hitting the side of his kayak with his paddle. In the same rhythm that he had been using to paddle he was now using to bang the side of the boat; one side and another, one side and the other. I wondered what to do when out in the middle of the ocean in a kayak when your guide has suddenly gone crazy. He explained to me that was creating noise so that the whale knows where we are and doesn’t surface underneath us and flip our boat over. My excited anticipation was now panic-inducing fear. The rain, the fog, the isolation, my increasing heart rate and the consent replay in my head of the jaws theme song. The only thing to do was to be still and breathe. Then, as if on cue, the spray appeared six feet in front of us. The whale dove and fanned it’s magnificent tail into the air and just as suddenly as it appeared it was gone. I was speechless. Being a witness to nature in it’s purest form is a surreal experience. The fear I had felt faded into adrenaline as I turned to Chris,
“I want to see more!”
I began kayaking forward with strength and determination, flying through the water focused on reuniting with my new friend. The spray arose again, this time, it was 15 feet away, it was a humpback and it was massive. It dove down into the ocean and waved to us with its monstrous tail. It was like an addiction; I wanted more whales, I needed more whales. We got to experience the dance of another six before we reached the point where we hit the open, unprotected ocean. The wind had picked up, and it was not safe to continue but that was ok, I had gotten my fix. On our way back we hugged the shoreline, the fog had rolled out and left beaming sunshine in its place. Chris took me to explore sea caves and the pristine white sandy beach of Sandy Cove. The beach was beautiful soft sand that looked like it belonged in a Caribbean magazine. A bald eagle swooped down directly beside our kayak and emerged victorious with a fish in its claws. He perched on a branch just over our heads as he dined on his fresh caught feast.
Even though I was just an observer that day, I felt connected to the symphony of nature and the graceful melody of it all. I was privileged to be able to experience it. To bear witness to the habitual beauty of the animals we share this planet with. Who exist in the state of peace that I craved and longed for when out of my kayak and back on land.
Kayaking is just one of the amazing adventures offered through The Inn at Happy Adventure click here to view all of the epic experiences.