Encounter at Sea
27 January 2019 | Banderas Bay, Mexico
It was another perfect day for sailing. Fifteen knots of wind. Flat seas. Nine souls on board. (+?) And, of course, we were searching for whales.
It was the dolphins we saw first. Then, off in the distance, someone saw the spray of whales' breath. "Ten o'clock! Whales!
We all watched as they continued to spout and show their tails. That was nice, but we wanted to see some up close. What is that old adage? Careful what you wish for.
We had just finished lunch. The wind was dying so we were headed home. I was standing up looking back toward the stern of the boat. Jay was at the helm so he was looking forward. Suddenly I heard a thunderous splash and a loud cry from the crew. Jay yelled, "Oh shit!" I turned around to see a huge wake in the water crossing the front of our boat.
"Oh my God! A Whale! It breached right in front of our boat." Jay said.
I stood very still, holding on to the standing rigging, prepared for a thud and silently praying we didn't hit it or it hit us. I looked down and saw a dark shadow descending on the starboard side. I started to breathe again.
Needless to say, there was a lot of nervous chatter and wide-eyed looks for several minutes. Everyone told their version of what they saw. Only a few actually saw the whale jump. The rest of us heard the loud sound and witnessed the aftermath.
A few minutes later, I notice something moving on the foredeck.
“What’s that? An iguana? How did that get here?”
Lots more chatter from the crew. He seemed stunned and we imagined him to be saying to himself, “How did I get out here?”
"Maybe the whale dropped him off?" I asked.
"He must have been hiding under the staysail cover." Someone said.
"Let's call him Iggy."
Iggy moved slowly over to the rail. He looked down and around trying to figure out what his next move would be.
"Don't jump Iggy!" A chorus of people cried.
We decided he must have been startled by the whale encounter and now that he was awake, he discovered he had a new problem; how to get off the boat.
We all settled down and quietly watched as Iggy finally decided to move up to the bowsprit and stay on board. We kidded that he was doing his version of "I'm king of the world!"
"Turtle!" Someone spotted a big sea turtle off the side of the boat. I looked at Richelle. "Whales, dolphins, turtles and even an iguana! This has been quite a day." We laughed.
Iggy actually stayed put until we got back into the slip. Even when I came up to get the dock lines, he didn't move. Once we were steady, he climbed down the fender line and onto the dock. However, he didn't go far.
We watched as he tried, unsuccessfully, to climb on board another boat. A little while later, Tommy said, "He's back." We were having after-sail drinks in the cockpit and telling stories of our adventures at sea. I turned around and there he was. Iggy was back on the deck.
"No. No. No, Iggy. You can't stay here." I told him as if he would understand. He started to leave, but no, I had to make a compromise. Iggy spent the night in our dinghy.