Ever since I can remember, I have dreamt of killer whales. I have imagined their magnificent forms gliding majestically, gracefully, through a star-lit ocean, breaking the surface, while I look on in awe. And in my dreams I am pulled toward the water, wanting nothing more than to swim with the whales.
As a child, I grew up looking forward to trips to the Vancouver Aquarium, knowing that I would see Skana, Canada's most famous killer whale. I would sit as close to the glass as possible and watch Skana's trainers as they prepared for the show. I would clasp my hands, my eyes trained on the water, ignoring everything around me. Nothing mattered...except my Skana. I would hold my breath when a ripple disturbed the surface and wait eagerly for that first sight...that first glimpse into Skana's eyes--for I know she only had eyes for me. And I for her.
During a breath-taking performance where Skana performed tricks and jumped, I laughed and cheered until my throat burned. And all the while I watched her trainers and wished that I could be just like them. Oh, to swim with a whale! To glide through the water with such an awesome creation. I had no fear, regardless of the fact that I knew that in the open sea orca are known for their vicious attacks. Survival! That's what it is--pure and simple. I still want to swim with them...in my dreams. They are wild animals and deserve to be free and wild and most of all, respected.
I have seen whales from a distance in the ocean, I have seen them from above while flying in a seaplane. They are still in my dreams, and they are my inspiration, and certainly the inspiration of my novel Whale Song. While I now understand the downside of captivity, and while I would have given anything to have seen the whales on my recent trip to BC, even a sighting at an aquarium can take my breath away.
And now, something for you to enjoy--a beautiful video I saw on YouTube. Here is someone who is doing what I have always dreamed--swimming with a killer whale.