My old life, as we shall now refer to it, had a lovely if not repetitive predictability about it. Monday to Friday I worked 8 to 5 (ish), I had lunch at 11.30 every day and although there were variations in my work essentially I did the same things. Looked after my staff, occasionally patients, cared for the logistics and marketing of a busy 8 surgeon Plastic Surgery Practice, you get the idea.
After work I would make the short drive home with my friend and co-worker Karen and then cook dinner for Jamie and or family and friends. Friday would vary a little, with Karen and her husband James for dinner and then Saturday would be grocery shopping and then dinner either with friends at home or out. Sunday was breakfast out, a walk and then usually a family dinner.
My how things have changed. My life has lost all predicability, in fact when lying in bed the other day I marvelled at the unpredictability of days. Not just one from another, but also how you can wake up one morning expecting a certain day to evolve only to find a completely different day, sometimes worse, sometimes better, sometimes amazing.
As a perfect example I woke up on Saturday morning at anchor in Baie du Prony (Prony Bay) expecting a grey day, probably a dive at 9am at the Prony Needle, a visit to Prony Village in the afternoon and perhaps a movie that night. What I got was something else quite exceptional. Well, the day started of very grey, windy and rainy and not at all enticing for a dive. I mean, who wants to get in the water in bad weather, bad visibility? The rough and rainy weather had meant that the water in Baie du Prony was exceptionally muddy at the moment - almost river like. So as we lay in bed moping about the weather we decided to put the dive off for tomorrow in the hopes that the weather would improve. Jamie got up to put the kettle on as he does most days whilst I lay in bed. Often I take this time to contemplate what to make for lunch and dinner, or perhaps I should bake some bread, cookies or muffins? Instead I heard Jamie yell, “whale, right by the boat. Look out your window baby!!!!"
I looked and looked but nothing, so I flew out of bed got dressed (there were other boats in the anchorage) and bolted up onto deck with the camera, sure enough, whale spouts could be seen IN OUR BAY. For context we were in a relatively small but deep bay 14m deep and big enough to hold about 5 or six boats at anchor - snug!
All thoughts of diving forgotten Jamie starts prepping the dinghy. Now, before you say anything, we are not environmental terrorists, we have no intention of chasing a whale, however a quiet putter out into the bay to see them better, that was totally on the cards.
Cameras in hand, wearing yesterdays clothes and almost forgetting our safety gear (we always take a waterproof grab bag with a VHF radio and GPS I run back inside to grab them and some water) we motor out into the large bay, occasionally still seeing a whale spout every now and again and there we sit, engine off waiting…….
From time to time we see a small spout or the back of a glossy whale tail slip silently under the water at a distance. And then nothing, well nothing anywhere near us anyway, until Jamie sees one off in the distance RIGHT NEXT TO LUKIM YU. Bloody hell we should have just stayed on the big boat. So back we go, clamber back up and wait. One other boat in the anchorage is up and watching as well and we were both in for an incredible treat. One of the whales spent the next 45minutes swimming around the tiny bay we were anchored in, occasionally popping up right next to one of our boats. A cheer could be heard from time to time from the other boat when they were gifted with a particularly close encounter.
At one point the whale swam directly at our boat, curving out of the water multiple times as it got closer and closer until it was so close I involuntarily said ‘holy fuck’ as it surfaced, showed us its immensely broad back (like the width of a bus) and then swam directly UNDER OUR BOAT. Both Jamie and I ran to the front of the boat, wildly tripping over hatches and ropes to capture its surfacing at the front. This spectacle went on for ages, fins, tails, spouts and cresting. As usual, I teared up at being so fortunate to have witnessed something so amazing. I have renamed our anchorage Whale du Prony.
What started out as a grey day, where we were a little morose at the poor weather and our cancelled dive ended up being a whale of a day, with constant vigilance around the boat hoping desperately for a revisit. We turned the table into a day bed, watched movies all day, had dinner for lunch and a cheese platter for dinner.
Wow, the unpredictability of days…….