Whale of a time

Glaciers are made of snow that is compressed over centuries by even more snow into ice that is so dense that it twists light so that only the blue of the spectrum escapes. It’s robins egg blue, and is brightest when the sun isn’t shining. A thunderous crack announces the calving of the glacial front, hundreds of feet of sheer ice undercut by the melting at the water below. Glaciers calve like the World Trade Centre fell. Straight down.

Puffins travel in pairs and rarely stray far from each other, kicking little bright orange webbed feet in the 9C teal-green glacial water. They’re crazy little birds with Einstein tufts of hair curling off the side of their heads.

Sea lions love puffins, but not as friends. They are erotic and sensual sea beasts, rubinesque and slippery, laughing and rolling and growling closer and closer to the boat, teasing eager tourists who would prefer to see whales.

Humpback whales are hard to find. First comes the loud blow. Then the puff of steam-like sea water rising like a plume. It can be seen for miles. Then a blunt nose, lumpy black back and stubby fin rise above the surface. The higher it goes the better the chance that the dorsal fin will plume. But if it does it means the whale may sound, down deep for a long time to wait.

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