I’ve been trying to articulate my experience on the morning Sept. 25; it was surreal / calm and peaceful / absolute sensory overload.
The marine layer was thick and the ocean and sky were separated only by their slight variation of grey, blurring the boundary between the two. The morning was cool and the water was still warm enough that wearing a hood was a preference and not a necessity. We paddled out into chest high rollers.
Anticipating the next wave with such reduced visibility required focus, and had I missed the full meaning of something [Tilley] said to me while we were waiting for the next set. He wanted me to look at something off to my right, but I didn’t see much.
I’ve heard stories about how one sense is enhanced by a deficit in another, and maybe it was the uniformity of the environment that deprived me of crisp vision, but either way the first I caught of it was the smell. It was overwhelming. The smell was as if the ordinary smell of the ocean had intensified a hundred fold. Not rotten—just the smell of bait fish, maybe shrimps, and salt air. And then I saw it, the top of a massive whale. I’m unsure what kind it was, but I was close enough to feel the pressure of the water it parted as it moved by. I’m unsure why it came so close to shore, perhaps it was curious about what we were doing.