Christmas 2023 Whalefall

Christmas 2023 Whalefall

Hiking Sole Sisters Spring Lake Christmas 2023

Hiked Spring Lake with the Sole Sisters, see me in the Santa Hat above. Afterwards, when the main hike was over, I led four of the ladies to see the warm sulfur spring that feeds Spring Lake.

Came home and finished Whalefall by Daniel Kraus, a very fast read because it was so absorbing. I hated Finnegan’s Wake because it was word salad, but as the main character, Jay, dissolves into nitrogen narcosis inside the diving whale, the jumbled words make sense. Whether he survives, how he survives is the “McGuffin” that drives the book. On the framework of the McGuffin that keeps us turning the pages, author Daniel Kraus hangs the story of a teen boy bedeviled by his attentive but abusive father and his loving but powerless mother and two older sisters. Jay is flashing back to when he was 15 and the pressure from his father became unbearable in the aftermath of the loss of the boat after poor-maintenance caused two paying passengers to fall overboard. The father’s descent, and his mistreatment of Jay, drive the boy to risky behavior that leads to his becoming entangled in a giant squid which is the prey of a large sperm whale hunting in the Monterey Canyon. As you can see from the Google Earth image below, Monastery Beach features ditches that slide into the depths. My PADI Open Water diving certification took place in the water off Monastery Beach. I had to enter the surf (backwards) in full wetsuit and tank gear, swim out past the surf line, sit on the bottom with my regulator in my mouth, take off my mask and my air tank and put them back on, underwater with my eyes closed. I passed and went on to dive the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.

Monterey Canyon and Monastery Beach

I went back to the area to dive several times including Monterey Bay itself, and have paddled the nearby Elkhorn Slough. The writing really captures the thrill and fear of diving and being on the water on that part of the coast. The marine biology in the book was a treat making it a trifecta of science-fiction, skillful writing and engrossing information. A delicious Christmas overall.

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