There She Blows!

We got lucky and saw the whale today! The day started with Dan catching a bus to work, at 8.10am, and then Charlotte shouting at me, ‘Telephone! Telephone!’. I pelted downstairs (as I keep forgetting to set the ring tone to ring more than six times) and just grabbed the phone in time (to cheers of hip hip hooray from Sophie!). It was Dan, saying he’d seen the whale from the bus-stop (he catches the bus from View Road and has a stunning ride into the city looking down on Lyall Bay below).

I raced through the morning ‘drill’ with the girls (teeth, hair, shoes, lunch box etc.) and we drove down the hill to fit in some whale-spotting before Kindi. We just caught the blow-hole and a flipper, but that was about it and I’m not really sure either of the girls saw anything. Nevertheless, they were VERY excited about the prospect of a whale in the bay.

No whale in this photograph – only a couple of brave chaps in wet-suits:

After dropping Charlotte at Kindi I returned to the beach with Sophie (after first stopping for a mandatory coffee and fluffy at the Maranui Cafe and chatting with my neighbours, who were enjoying a large breakfast). We saw the whale come up for air and I think Sophie must have seen it as she said, ‘whale, wave, flipper’. I met a wonderful woman, with her two gorgeous children (aged three and six) who lives further along the South Coast and home-schools her six-year old. I have read a lot about home-schooling and think that parents that do it are wonderfully patient and admirable. I would love to do it for a period of time, to allow flexibility to travel, but am not sure I’d be cut out for it full-time.

However, I do have doubts about the current school ‘system’ for today’s forward-thinking children (we must remember the school system is a recent phenomena in the history of man-kind – less than two-hundred year’s old – and it shouldn’t be thought of as ‘the only way’). I have no doubt that if Charlotte was ‘home-schooled’ she would learn to read, write and be an able mathematician just as well as being traditionally schooled. She wouldn’t have to contend with peer pressure and disruptions. She would be able to follow subjects that genuinely interested her and develop a better sense of self. Far from lacking socialisation; she would, in fact, be more realistically ‘socialised’ with people of all ages and backgrounds – in the ‘real’ world; as opposed to an ‘institutional’ one. Her drive for learning is natural and intense. There would be no ‘term time’; as every day would be an opportunity for learning. Learning is life; life is learning.

She would be able to benefit from staying up later in the evenings and learning different lessons with her father. There would be no need to push her to bed for an early school start. I’ve seen her some evenings so passionately involved and interested in a new topic that it seems crazy to insist on her sleeping – we know ourselves that when on the brink of a ‘discovery’ or finishing a project we prefer to work on beyond our ‘bedtime’ to complete our task.

Anyway, I digress…

The Whale! The Whale!

After picking Charlotte up from Kindi we headed back to the coast. By this time, the rain and wind had set in, but we weren’t to be perturbed. We sat, rugged up,with blankets and provisions and peered through binoculars at the ocean. For two hours we sat, staring. We were blessed with a few brief appearances of a flipper, a nose, a spout of water from the blow-hole, but nothing to capture on my mediocre camera of this amazing creature of the deep: The Southern Right Whale: Tohora.

We returned home and looked at great footage of the Southern Right Whale on the Internet and Charlotte drew a ‘whale’ picture whilst in the car.

Before bed, we snuggled down to ‘The Snail and the Whale‘ – or rather Dan did – as I had escaped for a quick jog. It was heavenly to be just me and the elements (and the wind was howling!). The wind took my puff away a few times, but it was just wonderful to be out, alone, with no voices other than the ones in my head!