Did you know- Whales leave footprints? I didn’t know that myself until today! Until I saw my first humpback whale take a dive and leave behind a prominent halo on the surface of the water that stays a good minute. It keeps expanding in size before it merges with waves. We went on a zodiac cruise this afternoon to spot humpback whales. We saw almost 6 in sets of two. For the most part, everyone was always ready with their cameras waiting for it to dive to get that perfect shot of its tail fin. You can tell before it is just about to take a dive, as its body comes out of the surface more than usual and for the last two strokes before it is about to take a dive everyone in anticipation is ready with their fingers on the camera clicker. And usually, you hear a couple of dozen misguided clicks on the penultimate one followed by twice as many on the real one. I am telling you about the distinct clicks because it’s all really quite. You can hear every tiny sound including the soft waves lashing against the zodiac when stationary, the sound of the whales swimming, their each stroke even if they are 30 feet away and an occasional blow from their snout.
Also, team Kershaw is generally a quite team. I feel like each team’s ‘team personality’ is usually a statistical mean of its ‘individual personalities’. While we have an extreme like our French-Australian boy Joslin with all the jokes and noise we also have ‘Guy’ who is always in Zen mode balancing it out. You can see Jossey with 3 giant cameras and lenses at any given time and you’ll know exactly why when you see his final masterpieces. Anisa from our team is always so calm, composed and gives and takes zero drama. She lent me her iron man Buenos Aires water bottle that she volunteered for before coming to the expedition because I lost my water bottle. Gene is perhaps the most contemplative 17-year-old I know. The first time I met her I had no idea she was 17. She is super smart and also speaks like a total adult. It was only when she told me about “this chapter” they were studying “in class” (high school) where they discussed letters written by a world war II leader as a piece of literature in an English class that also weaved into their history class about the world wars, that it all made sense. I love seeing how education shapes an individual along with other influences and this example of multidisciplinary learning just made me rethink classroom education as we in India know it.
Emma reminds me of Emma Watson for more reasons than just her accent. She comes across as an over achiever and is always in charge of the situation. Much like Ed, she keeps calm and has most situations under control. Ed is like the Mama bird protecting its kids. He is fun and funny yet super responsible at the same time. You can count on him for anything. He is a wood cutter and knows how to tie secure knots to climb up to great heights and is brave for that reason I believe. He stepped up to help me out with this braveness once. Keith is like daddy cool and he can tell stories with just one word. Abby is exactly how I see myself at 60. She is a grandma who kayaks and until recently was taking care of 40 Huskies in Alaska! Talk about dream jobs, huh?
The zodiacs move really fast and nothing can be worse than salt water for your cameras, so we have to pack them up in zip-lock bags whenever we know we are about to ride. Right when we were all ready to head back to ship after two hours of spotting five humpbacks, there was a moment in which a whale surfaced 10 ft away from our zodiac and none of us had our cameras out. While some of us reached into our bags to pull out our cameras, others were too awestruck to even move. Before we knew it the Whale took a graceful vertical dive and was back in the water again, waving goodbye with its tail fin right next to us. That moment was our moment of eternity. Experiencing that not through the frame of the lens but through my eyes etched that moment in my memory forever. It drove home the point of- disconnect to connect. And that shared moment experienced in silence by our quiet-team connected us for eternity. That and many other such quiet moments we’ve shared as a team.
We did 4 phase team building activities at Portal Point, earlier this morning. Phase one involved using all our rope knowledge to work as a team and save Abby, our injured avalanche victim up over the slope with a pulley system in place. Luckily we had the ropes genius Ed on our team who got us through. Phase 2 had us all doing a Penta-Mime where we had to enact an object that defined us. we also took a group picture and my team helped me model for my Sponsor company, for the good looking team that we are. Phase 3 was a reflection session in the Meditation Zone with the most spectacular view ever. There was something deeply meditative about staring at floating icebergs. some chose to write and some to just close their eyes and feel the heat of the sunlight warm you up while sitting on snow ice. Our final team activity was interesting where each one shares one life advice with the other, and it didn’t matter whether it came from a 15-year-old or a 60-year-old, it was all so sensible, relatable and most importantly genuine.
We also have after dinner sessions every night, for an hour, which are optional and last about an hour. We have a presentation where I will be talking about the E-base, along with Rohan and Chandrika talking about Global Himalayan Expedition on behalf of Paras, in about two nights which we need to prep for!