For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the sea. As a young child, I marveled at the colorful variety of shells its shores offered and the power of its waves. Years later, the ocean has a different kind of power over me--a soothing strength that, unlike any other place on earth, draws me to a sense of peacefulness and contemplation.
But beyond the calming rhythms of its surface are the wondrous creatures and mysteries of the deep that have been a large part of the fascination for me. As a child, I devoured such books as Melville's Moby Dick and Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, imagining myself a participant in whaling expeditions and other adventures at sea. So when my husband, Jim, and I had a chance to go whale-watching in New England last summer, it felt like an opportunity of a lifetime.
On our first evening out, we saw several finback whales. Able to travel as fast as most boats, finbacks have eluded whale hunters through the years and are faring better than other types of whales, many of which have been threatened with extinction. The view of a mother finback and her calf in a circle of the sunset's light was enough to make our venture worthwhile.