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bear by san

March 2017



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rengeek kit icarus

starring everybody--and me!

We came here on a porpoise: ecotourism spectacular. The one with the gannet. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. And like that.

Yesterday was my friend Jack's annual birthday whale watch. This year it was a smaller group than in years previous: Jack, me, two other members of our Pathfinder group (Hi, Julia and Lou!), and the illustrious Batwrangler, who brought her camera.

But before we get to that--dear reader: Friday, I had An Adventure.

I took the dog for a run Friday morning, then piled myself and my baggage into the Moby Smurfberry and departed for parts north, where I planned to spend the afternoon and evening with writer buddies: Patricia Bray, Marko Kloos and his delightful spouse Robin, Ellis Bergstresser, and John Murphy: in an extravaganza of stuffing ourselves at King Arthur Flour and then consuming alcohol and bison burgers in massive quantities at Patricia's house.

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(A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)

As you can see, I eventually made it to the appropriate places, but not without having to change a tire alongside I-91 northbound. And my little Honda, alas, only supports a donut as a spare. So I limped in with skinned knuckles, an hour late...

But it was worth it. We stuffed ourselves, and I bought some fancy flour and baking things, and then Patricia and I decided to walk lunch off along a glorious rail trail while everybody else went off to accomplish Various Errands.

The renovated King Arthur is kind of awesome. The Mothership. A Temple Of Food. Try the amaretti.

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(Do notice the mounted knight in the bed of a pickup truck in that vintage ad up there. We do not know how to advertise these days.)

The walk was a success! And we fortunately did not have to portage.

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(As a kayaker, I can only imagine the chill that might enter one's heart rounding a curve in a brook to see that posted on the stones.)

We then ate and drank all the things, including King Arthur's house-made marshmallows, brownies from their mix, spiedes, burgers, salad, horse douvers, Ellis' home made peach jam... my god, it's full of stars.

As Patricia and I were going to bed, we found a baby tree frog or wood frog stuck to the molding inside her door and carried it outside. The next morning, we had another brisk walk (upon which we noticed a newt. Possibly somebody had been turned into one, and had not yet got better?)

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And then I limped on my donut over to Batwrangler's house, and with a stop to join Jack, we proceeded with all deliberate speed out to the coast.

There was lobster macaroni and cheese for lunch, from the Lobster Pound.

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(That clicking sound you hear is my arteries.)

The boat we always go out on is the Atlantic Queen II, out of Rye, with naturalist support from the Blue Ocean Society. This is the same boat I took my dear Mr. Lynch out on earlier this summer for his inaugural whale watch, and after several years of customer loyalty we can all pretty much recite Brad the Captain's safety spiel by heart. (It never varies, not by so much as a word, and is reasonably well saturated in dry Yankee humor and common sense.)

The trip with Scott was a pretty special one, with good looks at two humpbacks feeding cooperatively...

This one was spectacular. We saw so many whales we didn't even make it out of sight of land.

The weather could not have been finer: cool and clear and bright, a little taste of early autumn in late August. We saw Atlantic white-sided dolphins, a minke whale, a fin whale (my favorite *g*), and harbor porpoises, which were a new one for me. There was also a gannet (it was a solid wall of Monty Python jokes this weekend, folks), an ocean sunfish, (here's another photo of the lumpy critter) and although I did not see it, a glimpse of a harbor seal.  

Batwrangler had her cameras along, and managed some pretty nice shots.

Here's a harbor porpoise:


This is Scar, a well-known minke whale who hangs out around Jeffreys Ledge in the Gulf of Maine:


As you can see, Scar is a survivor of a violent encounter, probably with a boat. The whale's been sighted in its current healed condition since the 1990s, so it's over 20 years old and still trucking along. Here's a very clear photo from the Blue Ocean Society illustrating the damage this whale has survived.

The dolphins were male groups (lots of jokes about "bachelor pods") and at least one of them was in high spirits, moving fast and sporting in the waves, doing flips and so forth.

I happened to be standing next to the bridge, where I could overhear some radio chatter. The fin whale seemed to be interacting with the dolphins in some manner--whether they were cooperatively feeding, or whether the whale was working a patch of small things that were also feeding fish that the dolphins were hunting, or whether they were just hanging out was hard to say--but when the fin whale came up fifteen or twenty feet from a smaller whale watch boat nearby, I heard its captain say, "It just came up under my boat! That was way too close!")

It was much closer than in this shot:


but that one gives you an idea of the relative scale of whale and boat. (!!)

Here's a whale and that gannet:


Here's a Bear on a Boat:


And here's one of the bachelor dolphins doing dolphin things:


Why do dolphins do that? Because they can, I imagine.

And then I had this for dinner:

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(We went to Newick's for dinner, as tradition dictates.)

Now, to take the dog for a run.

Edited to add: A really spectacular photos of the dolphins playing from the Blue Ocean blog, which now has a post up on yesterday's trip.


My take on Lobster Mac and Cheese: The lobster, a healthy form of protein, is displacing artery-clogging cheese and carby pasta, so lobster M&C is healthier than the traditional version.

Of course, it's also so good that one tends to eat more of it, but that doesn't help my argument, so I'll ignore it.
I'm sure those carbs are necessary to fuel my active lifestyle! And cheese has calcium!
Man, it's been ages since I've been to Newick's but we hit the Galley Hatch last night for my mother's BDay party. It's also been ages since I've been a whale watch. New things on the to do list. Sounds like a great trip!
Aw, man. I love Newick's. Am intensely jealous of everything but the flat tire.

sounds like a great whale watch!

I don't think I've been on a whale watch in 15 yrs! I shall have to go soon. All of the ones I've taken left from Provincetown; it would be fun to have a different experience by going up to Rye.

Have fun at Worldcon!

Re: sounds like a great whale watch!

I've had better luck out of Rye than out of Provincetown, with one exception: my very first whale watch, which turned into a Monkey Watch when a mother fin whale brought her calf up next to the boat and was actually interacting with us--rolling on her side and looking up. It was ridiculously incredible, and I eventually put it in a short story. *g*
That sounds like a good trip (apart from the tyre) although I do feel rather sorry for your lobster. (I am soft. It's a thing.)
Droool. Can't do the mac, but the rest of it?

Yummy. The whale watching sounds marvelous.
Oh, I so miss New England! I went to school at Emerson College in Boston for my BFA, and my dad lived in Maine at the time, so he would drive me up to his place every other weekend or so. And Calgary and Canada are wonderful, but I miss New England.
what a lovely time, with the exception of the flat tire.

A lot of dolphins love to play chicken with boats as they leave the shore, swimming in front of the bow and leaping from port to starboard. One of those sights that you dont forget.
I realize this is totally not the point of the blog entry, but *dayumn*, woman, you look good.
Thank you, ma'am. *g* I kind of feel like I got my mojo back.
I think I'll chase you until I've got your mojo back, too. Given that you've taken up running, if I can manage to catch you, I probably *will* have your mojo back by then. Or mine, even. Anyway, #dayumn! <3
Turns out that exercise makes you healthy.

...I'm pretty sure somebody told me that once, but who believes what they hear?
I don't know, it sounds fishy to me. :)
When I was a kid on the California coast, I spent a lot of time on the pier at Pismo Beach. During whale migrations, the greys would come up to scratch on the pilings, making the whole pier sway back and forth. It was especially wonderful when it was a cow with a calf.

As a teenager, I lived in Hawaii for a while on the Big Island, and used to go trolling on the weekends. One particularly memorable time a whale breached right next to the (18 foot) boat, and then continued to come up near us, including on kind of up and down with the tail flukes suspended within about 6 feet of us. It was awesome and terrifying at the same time.
Wish I'd known you'd been up in Norwich at King Arthur -- i was home & we're only about 15 min up the road. I'd have joined y'all for a bite! Next time, perhaps? (Elric was at work, but he would have come over on his break, I'm sure)

Edited at 2013-08-26 08:40 am (UTC)
Aw drat. I did not know you guys were so close--somehow I thought you were up in the Northeast Kingdom somewhere.