Whale Watching Weekend Pt3: Ballenas

As the song goes, Sunday morning, rain is pouring. The ocean is covered in a thick cloud of fog and the temperature is a bit colder than before- but still warm enough for shorts and t-shirts. After breakfast we assemble at 9.20. It’s twenty minutes late but hey, we’re adapting to the laid back mañana culture of the Colombians- when in rome! We are told to wait until visibility improves for the trip. We are all still in good spirits, safe in the knowledge that even if we don’t see whales our weekend has been magnificent anyway. We have a good laugh around the table taking videos of ourselves, and joking about the pronunciation of the spanish word for whales, Ballenas, which here in Colombia sounds funnily like a mispronunciation of vagina. (I hope no kids are reading this blog!!!)

After all the shits and giggles of our mid morning relaxation we finally head down to the port where we board the boat to go whale watching. Rain is still pouring, and despite being a scout for 10 years and abiding to the motto be prepared, I had no raincoat with me. I was soaked, but the weather was still warm and I was having too much of a good time to get down in the dumps about a bit of water. Our boat had no roof, so we were all drenched before even leaving the shore- but we embraced it as part of the experience.

The boat ride is rocky and shaky but fun. After about 2 minutes I see a dolphin and scream for joy. Nobody else saw it- I am obviously the Attenborough of this group! We finally get out deep enough and start looking for Ballenas. It’s not long until in the distance, a huge whale leaps out of the water and we see it crash back down into the waves. Wow. Soon after we see whales surface a mere 20 metres from the boat. Over the hour long trip we see several whales go up and down, some quite close to the boat and other, bigger specimens in the distance. It really is special, a completely magical experience. (Inside joke).

We return in good spirits. Have lunch in Buena Ventura- dodge the gringo price of $15,000 pesos and opt for a cheaper meal, and Patrick, Kirsty and I try to subtly get changed in a park. I think we might have accidentally flashed some locals, but hey- when in Rome! (eh, I guess that doesn’t really work in this context but give me a break I’m no Dickens or Rowling).

The journey back to Cali is good. We get to reminisce about the weekend and of course have general chit chat and banter. Back in Cali, Heather, Kirsty and I bid a sad farewell to the others as we leave to catch our flights. Kirsty, Heather and I get a quick bite to eat in the airport, play some more “Real or Fake” and discuss what parts of our own bodies we would change. In the end we decide that we are way too sexy to go under the knife. If its not broke, don’t fix it. Just before 9pm, Heather and I embark our flight to Bogotá and Kirsty gets on hers, which sadly is with a different airline. On the plane Heather and I are beside a poor wee hombre with two cans of beer. He seems really nervous, and it’s clear he’s bricking it because he doesn’t like flying. “Está bien, no te preocupes! Estarás bien.” I’m not too sure our counselling session worked, but we got to Bogotá in one piece so our amigo’s worries were misplaced.

In Bogotá Heather accompanied me until we had to part to ways at the security checks, and from here I successfully managed to fly back to Barranquilla and get home safe and sound.

All in all I had a wonderful weekend- after all my homesickness, troubles, worries and problems I was reminded of the reason I’m in Colombia and realised that there is a lot of positive here and I just need to get out there and grasp it. I’m sad to once again leave behind my fellow English language assistants, but I know that just like before their support and friendship is just one Skype call away and we don’t have the pesky 6 hour time difference that so often prevents me from contacting friends and family at home. I can’t wait to see them again.

A huge thank you to Heather, Kirsty, Patrick, Jay and Amy for making my weekend whale watching so spectacular, and muchisimas gracias to Lucy for suggesting the trip, welcoming us to Cali and organising a fantastic weekend for us all.

Besos y Abrazos
Daniel

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