This weekend I got to view two spectacular natural phenomenons? forces? beings? entities? I don't know how you'd exactly categorize what I marveled at this weekend, but all I know is that each was more breathtaking than I expected, they both left me in awe of our planet, and one caused an involuntary burst of tears that I was most definitely not expecting.
Saturday I was lucky enough to see a wild orca pod flick their tails, swim protectively around their new babies, and flash their dorsal fins.
I knew when I stepped on board the glacier/wildlife cruise that if I saw orcas I was going to be ECSTATIC. Whales in general, and orcas specifically (let's be honest, this most likely stems from a deep and all encompassing love for Free Willy as a child) have always fasinated me. I am an animal lover to the fullest, and seeing how viewing orca whales in the wild isn't something just anyone is able to do on their Saturday night I was prepped and ready for this cruise.
What I didn't expect was that the moment I glimpsed this pod of whales that I would instantly find myself tearing up and unable to speak. I stood on the bow of the boat, surrounded by 100+ other people wielding cameras and yet I didn't see or hear them. The whales flapped their tails, babies came to the surface closely protected by their mothers, and the pod slowly moved towards our boat as a unit and I was flooded with emotions more powerful than I ever could have anticipated.
I still can't exactly articulate why looking at these images a day later, or even thinking back on these amazing 5 minutes makes me tear up. Maybe it's the vast beauty of the ocean that gets me. The reality that these intelligent animals live in an inhospitable world that we still know so little about that tears my heart apart.
For myself, the wild orca represents everything truly amazing about this planet. And in that fleeting moment I wanted to quit my job and devote my entire life to protecting their world. It was a truly magical moment that I know I'll never forget.
So, after having my mind explode after seeing a wild orca pod, the next morning I stood a handful of feet away from a glacier and worried my little brain couldn't handle all this natural splendour coming at me all in a single weekend.
Each time I think Alaska has gone and shown me her best, she goes off and tops herself. What's next Alaska? Are you going to let me help a mother otter give birth to pups? Let me raise a moose calf? Show me Northern Lights in the middle of the summer? Help me win the Iditarod? HOW DO YOU KEEP TOPPING YOURSELF?