An Essayby Rick Bass
We are sitting belowdecks, lunching, when a glistening black fin of a shape and size not known to us—this is no porpoise, no dolphin—creases the glassy blue and noses along, the fin itself a small sail, with the slight turbulence fore and aft promising the existence of something big.
We have no idea how big.
We leap from the table—we’re going in with the big fish, though I do not know this yet—and our guide, Juan, is first up on the deck, where he begins passing out flippers and masks.
It’s the closest I ever hope to come to an Abandon ship! order, and the adrenaline is as sweet as nectar. There’s no time to wriggle into the cumbersome wet suits, the crew is already boarding the Zodiacs: pandemonium, yearning. Was it this way for the whalers? I think it was.