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A fitting finale

"We need to start tomorrow by 3:30 a.m. for Lovina Beach," said D, our guide, signing off for day 2 in Bali.

Our minds whirred. "Oh my! How are we to manage that with little kids? Will it be worth it? Do Dolphins really come out in the open?" 

Though excited, we were also fraught with unsureness. However, we quelled these before laziness and skepticism cast their spell. Between us, M and I dutifully set up individual alarms and agreed to be the supplementary human alarm for the one that may have overslept. 

I willed myself to shut off the mind that kept me awake with thoughts of waking up in time! At some point of being in a semi-wakeful state, I slipped into a world of nothingness. The alarm shrilled and I jumped up all dreary eyed. Clarity dawned in a few seconds and I busied myself to get ready. As C got ready, I slipped out into the dark and walked noiselessly towards M's suite to see if they were up. Comforted by the fact that they were in the similar stages of getting ready, I returned to wrap up. R was sleepy-eyed but excited enough to let me change him into fresh clothes. I was aware of the slight nip in the air as the seven of us bundled ourselves into the warm vehicle. The kids promptly fell back asleep and so did I. 

The car halted to a stop and I woke up to a heavy misty cover hanging over the gray waters. There was quite a crowd gathering that seemed to be awaiting a certain momentous moment. I looked quizzically and was told that it wasn't sunrise time yet- an opportune time to catch the dolphins skipping in the wild seas. We met our boatman-cum-wildlife guide who asked us to wait by a narrow long boat that was divided into lateral rows by thin planks that could seat a person each. Batches of tourists set off in similar boats into the sea one by one. Our boatman seemed to not be in a hurry while we got restless. The hues in the sky changed rapidly with the slanted rays of the rising sun. Blue-gray to pink-yellow to off-white. Finally, our boatman brought out our boat and gestured us to take seats. M sat right in the front while I took the last row. We cut through the waters at a steady pace, leaving behind the shores farther and farther. The pleasant sun rays were starting to feel warmer. I enjoyed the fresh, cool breeze and occasional sprinkles of water on my face as the boat sometimes raced, sometimes slowed in pursuit of the gregarious dolphins.

The fleet of boats circled together, the boatmen signaling one another over their walkie-talkies. It was well over an hour, but all we got exposed to was endless sheets of water. The little moments of heightened heart beats as the herd followed a lead call would die down soon to discover a false alarm. During the course, I realized that our boat had moved much ahead of the crowd; our boatman being the leader of the crew and more experienced at reading the cues. We wandered for some more time without luck.

Just as I let my shoulders slump, closed the shutters of the SLR, and wore a look of mock disdain, our boatman screamed, "Whale"! He sat right behind me, so I couldn't have doubted my ears. Yet, I sat in disbelief, erect, boring my eyes into the waters all around, right up to the horizon. So did the others. Nothing. A few seconds later, he screamed again. This time, there was no mistaking. We caught the water fountain right before our eyes. The works of a blowhole of a whale beneath. We let out collective gasps of wonder and excitement.

We couldn't believe our luck. This was like winning a lottery without even buying a ticket! Our boatman inched the boat up nearer the spot. Like a blood-thirsty animal, we wanted more. I changed the camera shutter speed and kept clicking greedily in the general direction of the first sighting. Amidst excited squeals and hidden nervousness, we saw it. A part of its body arched up the surface. Then, the tail came right up above and swooned downwards in a slow, sweeping gesture. I was wide-eyed and struck with wonder. I let the camera lay still. Fortunately, M had more presence of mind and a vantage point. So, we ended up with a video that will be a keepsake for posterity. Was it a humpback whale or a Beluga? We wouldn't know. A whale is a whale is a whale :-) Surely, some exciting memories to revisit when R grows older.

We last caught a glimpse of the mighty creature that glided away into deeper waters from underneath our boat, its body glistening a shade of green. A hush of reverential silence descended upon the boat. Moments later, the rest of the boat crew caught up with us and that moment gave way to more excitement as the fun-loving dolphins decided to show up and regale us for the next hour with their antics, skipping with infectious happiness. They teased us into chasing them, disappearing into the waters on one side and resurfacing from another, almost as if enjoying all the attention they were receiving.

Our final day in Bali had surely started on a super-high note. We returned to the shore grinning from ear to ear, filling our minds with stories to tell everyone.

The rest of the day's details will follow soon in another concluding post. Soon!


  1. This was a delightful read, Uma. I could picture the whole thing - from waking up so early to waiting for the boat and the excitement at sighting of the giant fish! And it is interesting to know that you also suffer from this tendency of not being able to "shut off the mind that kept me awake with thoughts of waking up in time!" I hate the whole system of alarms for this very reason.

    1. Beloo, thank you so much. Oh yes, I hate the tossing and turning and "knowing" that I've to wake up soon :-p :-)


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