A Whale Named Cory

I’m back from paradise! I’ve been on Maui with one of my best friends for a week, driving the Road to Hana, hiking 10,000 feet above sea level at Haleakala Crater, swimming with sea turtles — the list goes on! One memory in particular is one for the books, and I’d like to share it with you all.

On my last day, my friend and I hopped in a kayak with Aloha Kayak Tours, paddled out to the middle of the ocean, and waited for whales. We said a prayer and an hour in, during a great conversation with our tour guide, a 40-ton humpback whale “breached” from the water just 15 yards away from us. I’m not kidding, fully out of the water. It was the loudest and most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.

This was our reaction to something so special.

Whale pic 1

I named the whale Cory (a go-to name in my family) and he put on a show for us all afternoon, showing us his tail and even swimming directly under our kayak. It was an out-of-body experience, being one with a 40-ton mammal.

It got me thinking. How something so big could make me feel small — in a good way. Think about how magical it is. A giant sea mammal with a heart the size of a car and eyes the size of grapefruits let me be a part of its life for the day.

I think of how small I am. How small my problems are. I’m surrounded by beautiful people and beautiful places and a beautiful whale that may have swam to Hawaii from Alaska in pain, stuck in fishing net, and here I am worried about what people think of me or when my flight leaves the next day. It put me in my place — from the airplane above, I was a tiny speck on the ocean. Cory was too. But in that moment, I was in awe, up close with a 45-foot mammal, listening to it singing and breathing. The sound of Cory breathing was enough to take my breath away.

I mean, check this beauty out!

Whale pic 2

I’ll finish with a quote from Elizabeth Peterson. She says, “Looking down on the Earth from high above, I see in 50 years from now, these problems we obsess about will be nothing. And compared to the infinite beauty in the world, our problems seem so small. It’s so simple. Why do people have to take things so seriously?”

XO- Olivia Caridi