Explain Whales (parts dois & três)…

With so much happening since I arrived in Luanda six weeks ago, it has been a challenge to keep my blogs up to date in chronological order.  Being a Type A person, this is making me a bit twitchy.  But wait – I just realized it’s Thursday!  Crisis averted.  I can call this a Throwback Thursday Blog! Whew, now I can breathe…

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going whale watching twice in one week.  This first trip was at the invitation of Mr. & Mrs. Boss Man and also included another delightful couple, some friends of ours from London who had also just moved here.  I will call the second couple Mr. & Mrs. Tea and Jambalaya, as he is a proper Brit and she is a down-home gal from Louisiana.  This combination is both surprising and entertaining. For them, opposites attracted in the best possible way – but I would have given my right arm to witness that first “meet the parents” event!

On Sunday morning, the six of us headed out on the same boat as Hubby and I had the week before, but this time we were not having any luck finding whales.  The weather was also not cooperating. Strong winds and choppy waves made for a very rough ride.  After two hours of being slammed about by the waves, we finally spotted some whales in the distance.  Thank goodness!  I was afraid this was going to be a bust for Mr. & Mrs. T&J.  The ride also became much more pleasant as the wind began to die down and the sun peeked out from behind the low, gray clouds. Moving closer, we were able to get a really good look at the group of about four or five whales.  When you can see and hear them breathing, it is quite an experience! Just love that sound!

We followed this pod of whales for quite some time, but the thrill of proximity was quickly wearing off.  We wanted to see more than just lazy swimming and an occasional tail sighting.

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Scanning for whales…
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They were close enough for us to see the spray and hear them breathing.
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Lots of tail sightings…

Things finally changed when Mrs. Jambalaya announced that she could speak to whales.  You think I am joking?  She proceeded to make Animal Planet-worthy whale sounds as proof of her abilities.  Almost immediately, we saw our first whale breech!  This happened several more times after that.  I am now a true believer!  That Cajun girl has an amazing talent:

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Mrs. Jambalaya – aka, The Whale Whisperer!
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Doing a backwards jump…
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A strange, twisting jump…
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Excellent form, Mrs. Whale!
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Rolling along…
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Buh-bye! Show’s over, folks!

After this amazing display, we stopped at a nearby island called Mussulo, where there is a small beach resort and restaurant.    Although the service was lacking and the prices were sky-high, there was always something interesting to look at while we waited for our $40 pizzas.  There never seems to be a shortage of good people-watching here in Luanda!

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Mussulo Beach.
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Lots of folks selling things. This gal was selling swimsuits.
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A lady selling some colorful African fabrics.
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A herd of pigs wandered the marshy area behind the restaurant.
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The local girls often have their braids decorated with colorful beads.
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Ladies selling fabric and beach clothing. Luanda city is visible in the background.

The second whale watching opportunity I had that week was with a group of British ladies.  Go figure, I live in London for three and a half years and only make one British friend.  I move to Africa and have a whole boat-load of them in a couple of weeks!  And what a fun group they are, too!  We didn’t have much luck with the whales, despite absolutely perfect weather and water as smooth as glass.  Oh, we saw plenty of whales, but I guess they saw us first and decided to frolic elsewhere.

No worries.  When the going gets tough, tough expat ladies go to lunch!  We headed again to nearby Mussulo Beach, but this time we ate at the fancier restaurant set a bit back from the beach.  Apparently, there is also a small hotel hidden there amongst the trees.  We will have to come back for a quick weekend getaway if the clamor of the city gets to be too much. I so enjoyed getting to know these ladies, and their British accents were a welcome reminder of my time in London. Sparkling conversation coupled with yummy food (and plenty of wine) made for a very enjoyable afternoon.

I’ve learned that expat life here in Luanda is all about focusing on these little islands of tranquility amidst the sea of chaos. These moments can be found on a boat, on a beach, or just by spending an lovely afternoon visiting with new friends… DSC_0133

© 2014 Cheryl – All Rights Reserved

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