Sally

We often see whales while we’re sailing.

It was time to start for home, but that was going to be a challenge. We had been blessed with strong winds blowing from the north to push us south on our journey, but now we needed to sail north—against the prevailing winds—to get home to San Diego. On top of that, with the cold California current running north south, we would have to fight that, too. It seemed like our best bet would be to use our tiny thirty- five-horse-power engine and scoot north during the night, after the winds had died down. 

Poor Jan was so excited that she didn’t manage to get any sleep at all the night before. So when I woke up at midnight, she was already awake. Ensenada had been a wonderful stopover. The people were so friendly and the food was delicious. A half moon had just risen when we untied from the dock. The water in the harbor was mirror calm. The dimly-lit green buoys were on our right, and the red buoys on the left marked our channel out into the bay. Once there, we were greeted with large, slow swells that had traveled from distant shores. The boat began to corkscrew uncomfortably. We couldn’t see the approaching swells. Back and forth. Up and down. Side to side. It grew darker and darker. The motion was nauseating. 

Dawn was welcome. It didn’t make much difference in the motion of the boat, but at least we could see what we were up against. It was going to be a slow bash northward. At one point, our speed dropped below two knots. “We’re walking to San Diego,” I complained. Jan was exhausted and I was green—very green. Soon, I had the opportunity to enjoy the fine fare of Ensenada over again—and again. 

We loved sailing, but not this part. I had to have a break from five hours at the helm. Somehow, Jan and I were able to trade positions behind the wheel, on the bucking bronco, without anyone going overboard. 

“I hate this,” Jan replied. 

I went below to check on the little diesel engine and try to find some relief. The way things were going, this was sure to be our last voyage! 

Suddenly, I heard Jan laughing and squealing like a little girl. I popped up on deck just in time to see “Sally,” a forty-five-foot blue whale. (I knew she was at least forty-five feet long because our little boat only measures forty feet from stem to stern!) She was just a “biscuit toss” away and keeping pace with us. (Yes, she had to slow way down.) 

“I’ve named her ‘Sally,’” Jan announced triumphantly. 

Sally rolled up on her side and looked us over before crossing our bow and swimming down the other side. She seemed to shake her head as if in wonder. “What are these crazy people doing?” and then she sounded. Her massive fluke swung high into the air, and she seemed to leave a hole in the ocean as she slipped beneath the waves. In one magic moment, everything had changed. All of our troubles were forgotten, and we were left with a sense of wonder and awe. 

I can’t help but think it will be that way for Christians when we meet Jesus. All our troubles will soon be forgotten. Maranatha — Come Lord! 

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