Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whale Dreaming

I was fortunate to have gained my sea legs at a very young age. My mother still tells stories of her second daughter who at age 1 1/2 used to crawl down the beach and into the ocean before being hauled out and back up the beach coughing and spluttering only to repeat the performance all over again. In addition my father was always very proud of me as I was the only one in the family who did not get seasick. It may have been the fear of disappointing him that helped me find harmony on and in the water or perhaps I have been a whale in a former lifetime. Either way being brought up in the Bay of Islands the ocean has always played a very important part in my world and continues to provide a space that I tend to gravitate toward whenever an opportunity arises and/or whenever I am in need of nurturing.

As a result I did not hesitate to apply for the position of assistant cook on Arpana and Shamanatara’s 2010 Whale Journey to Hervey Bay. I had met Arpana through email when following the trail of the Whale Dreamers that had connected me with Bunna and Harry whilst I was in Cairns and they were passing through on their way back to Byron after the Garma Festival in Arnhem Land. Coincidently both Harry and Bunna, in the short time we shared, suggested that Arpana may be looking for another assistant cook for their October Whale Trip. And, not being one to miss out on an opportunity to share time and space with like-minded people on and in the ocean with my favourite cetaceans for company, I emailed Arpana as soon as I returned home.

A few weeks later having successfully completed the selection requirements which included phone interviews with Shamanatara, Arpana’s current wife, Moana, his ex-wife and Norma Mou their head chef my application was approved. Thus on the last day of September after a 24 hour bus journey from Cairns and an o/night visit with long time friends Mick, Lynn and their son Aaron I showed up with bag and swag in hand and reported for duty at the Urangan Harbour Pier in Hervey Bay. It was 4pm on Saturday afternoon I had no expectations of the journey ahead and nowhere else on earth I would rather be which enabled me to be absolutely present for whatever my week had in store!

Welcome to Hervey Bay the resting spot for many of Antarctica’s Humpback Whales during their winter migration to and from the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean . . .

Arpana, his son Raj and Raj’s friend Arial were the first to arrive, two catamarans; Vallela and Cattitude, were allocated and supplies and sound equipment for 20 people for 7 days at sea began to be offloaded . . . arriving passengers, crew, and the stowing of provisions continued for the next few hours interspersed with a buffet dinner of homemade pumpkin soup and BBQ chicken aboard Cattitude. It was a busy evening yet also exciting meeting the 19 people I would be travelling with for the coming week. It reminded me of the many pre-departure meetings I had facilitated for overland journeys only instead of a formal meeting and p/work there were loads of self-introductions, hugs all round and an impromptu jam session that lasted into the wee hours. I remember slipping into my swag, which I had unrolled across the trampoline on Vallela’s foredeck, to the sound of guitar, African drums and Chinta’s Hung, a beautiful instrument originating from Switzerland. And, as I slowly drifted off into dreamtime under a sky full of southern stars I felt like one of the luckiest people on earth.

Waking to the sound of seagulls at dawn I looked at my clock for what was to be the last time for the next 6 days at sea . . . so long as I woke at sunrise I figured that there would always be time to do my yoga and meditation before preparing breakfast for our team aboard Vallela. Somehow I had landed myself on the muso’s boat and what a pleasure to have live music morning, noon and night . . . Bhajan’s for Breakfast, Lounge Music for Lunch and Jamming with the Whales each afternoon and evening . . . Whalesong, music, healing, ceremony and dance was the theme of the dream and we all shared the joy of spontaneity in co-creating our wonderland with the whales on the water and beneath the waves for a whole week!

Motoring out of Urangan Harbour we set sail north and it was not long before we encountered our first whale and calf. I had seen whales at sea and from land on several occasions yet not too dissimilar from elephant sittings in Africa it is very difficult not to be touched by the power, beauty and perfection of being in such close proximity of some of the largest mammals on earth. As my heart continued to expand my breathing became more difficult and the only way I could express the joy I felt was through song, not that I am any singer but the need to create sound outweighed any embarrassment I may have felt for singing out of tune.

What amazed me is that we never once had an organised ‘family meeting’, ‘circle’ or ‘formal discussion time’ to lay out any rules and regulations on board Vallela, everyone simply went with their flow/the flow and it worked. At times we visited Cattitude and at times their crew visited us which on one particular occasion was of great benefit to me when ZaKaiRan (www.ZaKaiRan.com), Cattitude’s skipper, came over and offered me a healing session to assist me with addressing my ongoing alignment and integration issues. He had his own unique style of working with energy and sound that I was not familiar with and whatever it was it worked in reaching and releasing the emotion that was still being held somewhere in the depths of my being. It left me feeling absolutely exhausted yet also very soft and gentle, I felt like curling up in a warm bed in the sun and that is exactly what I did until I heard the call of breeching whales!

It seems as though every time I work with someone I manage to retrieve an extra piece of my puzzle, this one in particular being from a life time on some other planet in our solar system. Each session tends to leave me more relaxed and expanded yet also somewhat disorientated; the depth of which I am learning is a good gauge as to the degree of each shift. This, combined with my inability to engage my mind as I progressively come closer and closer to aligning with my heart, seems to be a reliable indicator of relative progress . . . or that is according to my reality at the present time which, for those of you who have been sharing this journey with me have probably also realised, continues to expand and evolve ;-).

We soon slipped in to a daily routine which for me meant rising with the sun. On one particular morning this came with a call from two dolphins passing by and by the time I got out of my swag to see them on their way a whale and her baby passed within a meter of the bow directly beneath where I was standing . I enjoyed the still of the morning and the space on deck to do my ablutions and yoga while everyone else was still sleeping, the timing was to perfection and I could not have orchestrated the flow better if I had attempted to choreograph it myself. Going with the flow worked so well that by the time I had finished my meditation Norma Mou, my naturally naked and very beautiful cooking partner, would emerge and we would prepare breakfast for our family.

Once our work was done we were free to explore the ocean and/or Fraser Island which meant endless white sand beaches and crystal clear water beneath the warm southern sun. There was time to swim with the turtles and on one very special occasion I shared a magical moment of stillness in time and space within very close proximity of a whale and her calf, a moment in time that I will not forget so long as I live.

I did not really realise how busy I had kept myself in Carins until I slowed down long enough to smell the flowers which in this environment meant beachcombing, creating sand sculptures, spending time with women and bathing in the sweet waters of the island springs. Not to forget time to listening to Bunna’s stories of this ancient land and its indigenous earthkeepers that I still feel I know very little about. Our crew would generally gravitate back toward the boat around midday so that we could prepare lunch and set sail in search of whales which were never too far away as we headed in the general direction of our next evening anchorage.

On day two we met another colourful character by the name of Richie, a very gentle and humble elderly man who has spent the better part of the last 10 yrs following guidance from the Arcturian Star System to establish a grid across the length and breadth of Australia. Richie had spent a lot of time over the years on Fraser Island and as a result was the ideal candidate to lead two of the three ceremonies that took place during the course of our whale journey. Whilst Richie was up the mountain performing his first ceremony Bunna began the second one which held the vibration on the beach below. There was no prior organisation and the ceremonial space simply evolved with people coming as and when they were called and contributing to the altar and the energy in whatever way or form they felt.

Some of our best Whalesong was in the stillness of the evening which simply provided another excuse for a jam session. Kim would lower the microphone into the water and broadcast the live Whalesong over Vallela’s sound system and the boys would simply pick up the beat on the didge, the Djembe and guitar. Those who could sing led the way while the rest of us joined in for the chorus as we danced on any spare patch of deck space that could be found. And whenever I needed a break I would curl up in the mainsail cover and get gently rocked in my cradle by the ocean waves as I watched for shooting stars in the sky above. While the rest of Australia was experiencing heavy rainfall and flooding we were living like Gods and Goddesses in our magic bubble of daily sunshine and crystal clear night skies filled and overflowing with stars.

After four days in the north end of Fraser Island we made our way back to Watumba Creek to return Richie to his home base aboard his catamaran Earth Spirit and share our final ceremony. Most of those participating were called ashore in the early morning however as I had cook duties I did not feel as though I could join them as I would have liked to. This inconvenience however was soon overcome as we received a radio message of last call for ceremony just as my work was done. Slipping on my bikini and sunblock I jumped in the tender with Shelley and motored over to Cattitude to collect Annie before we headed for shore. The women were on the beach to welcome us and Bunna was waiting to paint our faces. It was time to share sacred space one last time before we headed further south for our last night at sea.

During the ceremony Richie passed on to Bunna an amethyst crystal for him to take to the land of his ancestors on the Great Australian Bite. I wondered then how related Richie’s work and Raeline’s guidance to Activate the Birthing Gates of the Starry Whale Palaces of Lemuria was to my Earthwalk Project. . . I guess only time will tell the connection and for now it is best I stay out of my head and accept that it is as it is and all seem as though they are pieces of a puzzle corresponding to some greater Divine Plan!

With our ceremony complete it was time to offer prayers and give thanks before closing sacred space. Richie invited Shelley and I back to his special space on Earth Spirit which reminded me very much of my visit to Sakina Blue Star in Sedona, Arizona only Richie’s museum was not only living but also floating. I enjoyed a long swim back to Vallela in time to raise anchor and hoist the sail as we headed out to sea to what turned out to be our most spectacular performance of whale behaviour for the entire journey.

It was early afternoon and Norma and I were doing our gig in the galley when we heard the call of whales breeching and that was simply the beginning of what turned into a 2 hour performance of breeching, tail slapping and rolling by four whales either directly in front or immediately between our two boats. Needless to say it took a long time to prepare lunch that day and the best thing was that nobody cared as there was more important music to be made.

That evening we received our first shower of rain and although I still managed my last night on deck by morning the wind had picked up and it was time to batten down the hatches and surf the waves back on the Urangan harbour on winds gusting up to 30 knots! Norma kindly made time to share her gifts of healing on the journey home and I was able to experience the benefits of another new yet perhaps very old technique working through the perineum and conception vessel. I felt an incredible opening especially through my lower chakras which made me want to feel what it was like to be a sail so I climbed up on to the top deck and flew the last leg back to Hervey Bay. And what a magnificent way it was in which to end our week of Whale Dreaming.

Raeline was at the harbour to meet us and I was able to introduce her to most of the Whaledreamers team in between sorting, packing and cleaning. My body felt as though it was still walking on water and my energy body was so expanded that I felt as though I wanted a week of silence and solitude so that I could integrate all that had happened over the past week. Now however was not the time, as it was 10.10.10 in 12 hours time and Raeline and I had too much we wanted to share before we joined in ceremony to open the first Birthing Gate of the Starry Whale Palaces of Lemuria . . .

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