Last Nights
October 15, 2016
Written By JanieWray

It’s a funny feeling, saying goodbye. 

It washes over you like a big swell in stormy seas; the realisation that this person you’ve spent so many special moments with, is leaving. The white caps foaming as you realise you may never see them again. 

It’s amazing how close you become to one another when living on an island, your tent just metres from theirs. 

The last couple of weeks we have said goodbye to a couple of really special interns. We didn’t quite know how to show them just how much we’d miss them, but luckily for us the whales that had grew to become a part of us here; visiting daily, checking up on us, knew just the right way.

It had been a busy day with many new-and old-faces visiting the island, a rarity to see so many in just one day, we even had a group join us for a special farewell dinner that night.

We called it our ‘party night’; everyone had a shower, a feast was cooked, wine was drunk and laughs filled the crisp air. And blows too. During dinner we were blessed with a show, as we often are here on Gill Island, the whales coming so close you could almost feel the mist of their blows settling on your skin. It was Janie that suggested we go sit up on the lab deck where we would be able to see 180 degrees of our ‘front yard’, so to speak, the magic unfolding before us.

The sea sparkled like a glint in someone’s eye – we were in for an extra special treat tonight.

The silence settled around us comfortably as we tried to absorb the sights and sounds engulfing every cell of our bodies. The sun began to set and the whales continued to come, fluking into the golden light and disappearing into the ocean’s depths as the sun sunk lazily below the horizon. As the light began to fade and the stars began to shine, the whales’ breath continued to punctuate the spell of the silent night. It was difficult to truly comprehend what was happening that night, as each of us tried to really feel this moment, one which no doubt would stay with us all for years to come.

What seemed like minutes (but was really hours) later, our guests had to leave and all that were left were our 3 interns who were soon to say goodbye, and myself and Janie, who would still remain. The 5 of us sat with our legs dangling off the deck, huddled under a blanket and clasping a glass of wine to toast new friends who would soon become old ones and to the whales who brought us all together.

Photogragh By Florent Nicolas

Time really seems to move differently here.

Days flow continuously into one another, yet at the same time, it somehow simply stops. Allowing you time to think, to heal, to experience; the days punctuated by raindrops and sun rays and whale blows. I feel suspended in mid air like a humpback’s body weightless in the water, drifting in silence and with such inner peace I can no longer tell what are my dreams and what is my reality, or if they have somehow managed to find each other in a sea of uncertainty. 

We really don’t need a lot to make us happy. If we strip back us humans to our primal instinct, all we seek is simply nature and wilderness, freedom and love, a moment so special it all but takes your breath away…

I looked up at the stars that night and thought of how interesting it is that their light only reaches us long after they have physically gone. I hoped that the same would be for our new friendships formed these months, that they would continue to light up my life well after these first special moments of meeting. 

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