Early on a June morning we are drift fishing for red snapper a mile out from the village of Westport, Washington. The sea is flat; the fog is thick. The boat is drifting abeam to the current in ninety feet of water. It is very quiet.
on the bottom of the boat
a fish flops
Suddenly, out of the fog, two California gray whales, one behind the other, are closing fast. The lead whale is less than twenty yards away. I tighten my grip on the railing, stare at the on coming whale, and wait. Then, with a great splash, the lead whale throws his flukes high into the fog and dives straight down. His massive body is two feet from our faces and cold sea water pours down on us.
And then, both whales are gone. We breathe again. The boat rocks a bit. Water flows out the scuppers.
something huge and gentle