Field Notes: The Whale Boat

This is the second in our series of Field Notes from our Toad Warriors – the folks who hit the road and spread the Toad&Co ethos: Live well, do good and keep good company. They’re the people we’ve met over the years who embody the Toad lifestyle and practice what they preach. Jeff and Jen live in Santa Barbara, CA and are bonafide weekend warriors. Here are their Field Notes….

Iceland

It was July in Reykjavik, Iceland and though the sun had been up since 4am, it was colder than Southern California in January. It was early, a crisp harbor morning, and the harbor docks were full of excited passengers in orange jumpsuits preparing for the high seas. We, like many tourists in Iceland, had succumbed to the whale watching tour brochure, beckoned with images of fierce breaching orcas and majestic humpbacks dancing. Touristy or not, it seemed like an experience we shouldn’t pass up.

An hour into the tour, we spotted a minke whale – a small, common ocean dweller. We ran to the edge in great anticipation, because where there’s minke there’s orcas. But two hours passed and only one more minke sighting. By hour three, the same two minke were still on the horizon. The captain tried to lift our spirits as he fawned over the beauty of the minke. But after hours shivering in plastic jumpsuits, the minke lost it’s luster.

Jeff and I found ourselves wishing for some rehearsed pirate stories or even an Icelandic cover of “Copacabana”. But alas, nothing save for hours left at the sea with n’er a true whale in sight. So we did what any respectable tourists would do: We authored corny whale jokes and presented our material to the crew (formally, on napkins, of course). Perhaps they were as bored as we were, but one of the crew members actually handed us a microphone.

Jeff stood tall, took center stage – errr, ship – and posed the question: “Where do whales go for a fun Friday night?”  Nothing. “The orchestra!” Crickets. But like the whale watching tour, we forged ahead. Jokes about a porpoise’s purpose, how a humpbacks’ favorite band is “The Killers”… One by one, our jokes ebbed and flowed, some getting a chuckle here and there while others utterly tanked. But when all was said and done, and we’d finally docked without a single orca sighting to boast of, Jeff and I agreed – it’d been a whale of a good time!