The Nearly Sunken Pram: An Orca Story (for Geoff)

Killer Whales (Orcas) Up Close

Killer Whales (Orcas) Up Close

My brother and I
set out in our pram
to catch a salmon,
a pram no more
than eight feet long
and three across.

But as we trolled along
through the deep green water,
an enormous killer whale pod
snorted up beside us,
jerking our heads around
and startling our hearts to pound.

Transfixed, we watched them
roll up out of the water,
great great granddaddies
with dorsal fins eight feet tall
glistening wet in the sun
and wobbling stiffly.

Big snorts or air.
Sucking in of water.
Gurgling and spraying.
An eye staring out at us….
We knew they knew
we were there,

so without a word
we steered our pram in
closer to shore, rowing briskly,
but smoothly and evenly
so as not to draw
attention to ourselves,

and once we got in
to four feet of water,
we reeled in our lines,
dropped an anchor,
boated our oars,
and watched in awe

this magnificent family,
these mothers and infants,
these gallant fathers and sons,
the aunts and uncles and cousins,
grandmothers and grandfathers too,
cruising around these inland waters
that their ancestors cruised around
countless generations before—

herding the little ones
around the Sound,
around these hundred islands,
eating clean fish freely
and making friends
with whale people along the way.

Copyright 2015 by Rick Clark

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7 thoughts on “The Nearly Sunken Pram: An Orca Story (for Geoff)

    • Thanks so much, Kay! That was actually in about 1967 or so, just outside the Vaughn Bay spit, where we started the Row to Canada. I also saw a pod in the early to mid 80s but from the AMTRAK train where it skirts the Sound. Last pod I saw was from a house up on Magnolia looking out over the Sound. That was about ten years ago. I’ve heard there’s only one pod still cruising the Sound now.–Rick

  1. Awe inspiring. Something like that is obviously etched in your mind. No matter how long ago it was. My wish for you is to see orcas again, before you walk off this mortal coil!

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