The coast where I live, is sometimes described as where the arse of England protrudes into the North Sea. This is mostly a physical description, as East Anglia does resemble the posterior of Gt Britain, and when viewed from inland, feels a long way from the more meaningful body parts.
Sometimes I feel a twinge of jealousy looking at Cornwall with its elegant toes dangling in the mighty and blue Atlantic Ocean. Our sea, the sea of the vikings in comparison is shallow and often brown in colour from the churned up silt. However paddling out at sunrise in the winter months is spectacular, with grey seals for company and the improving swell from the east.
On October, 30th I was sitting on my surfboard in a playful 2ft swell, know one else was in the water except a youthful seal, who seemed more curious than usual and joined me on several waves, dropping in, just in front of my board. I'd like to say that at this time I was aware that just out to sea, a hump back whale had been spotted cruising along the coast. however I was clueless, and only discovered this unusual sighting when I walked along the beach for coffee and doughnuts, and saw a crowd of people with binoculars peering out to sea. When I asked what seabirds was attracting such a crowd, I was told of the discovery, and saw the plume of spray rising from the whales blow hole just beyond the reef.
Although I'm aware that our sea is not a pond and is connected to the larger oceans, it is very rare to see such a large mammal that confirms this knowledge. If you spend time in the water and encounter anything larger than yourself, there is a sense of scale that immediately commands your respect and often ore. I'm not sure that the sighting is a good thing, are whales meant to be this far east, is it lost, exploring, is it a symptom of changing weather patterns, over fishing, pollution or are they less rare in our waters than we think ? All I know is that peering out from land, seeing the whale, gave me a sense of wonder, an emotional response that connected me to the big stuff.