Mathematician the Humpback

Life in Ludlow

Ned Luce
Posted 7/10/19

Last week had it all with an unusually rainy day in July, a laser light show instead of fireworks on Independence Day at Fort Worden, and a whale watching expedition on the Puget Sound …

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Mathematician the Humpback

Life in Ludlow

Posted

Last week had it all with an unusually rainy day in July, a laser light show instead of fireworks on Independence Day at Fort Worden, and a whale watching expedition on the Puget Sound Express.

Yes, BJ and I were more sensitive to all those things because we had a couple of grandsons in town. Frankly, we were not the only ones with grandchildren in town as evidenced by the number of young folks in the Beach Club pool in addition to our grandsons. By the way, that pool was substantially warmer than the air both times we were there last week.

The search for whales began in Port Townsend on Independence Day aboard the Glacier Spirit, as we have done several times before. After a bumpy trip across the Strait of San Juan with some wind and tide issues, we encountered a gray whale feeding along the west side of Whidbey Island. We spent some time observing him/her from a distance before resuming the trip to Friday Harbor hoping to see more whales of any kind. Alas, the rest of the way to Friday Harbor was blessed mostly with seals and birds.

We docked in time to see the last part of the Fourth of July Parade consisting primarily of local emergency vehicles led by a pirate ship with a bubble machine. While eating lunch at the Cask and Schooner, Port Ludlow seafaring couple Don and Anne Whipple wandered by and told us that Anne and Ramsey Smith were also in town. BJ texted Anne who then exited the same restaurant we were in, searching for us. We also heard Liz Healy and Harlen Whitling were partaking of the festivities in Friday Harbor. It was quite the gathering of locals up there on San Juan Island.

The success of the whale searching and subsequent watching was limited until the last hour of the trip. Somewhere between Sequim and Port Townsend we came upon a humpback seeming to be more interested in us than we might have been in him. He made several passes around and under us for a good thirty minutes as Captain Trevor killed the engines and we just drifted with the whale.

We talked with a couple from a small town north of Springfield, Missouri. She was sitting on the bow of the boat and claimed she was thrilled to be the first one who saw the whale. She was justifiably proud of her success given the speed of the boat and her lack of experience. Jill was the naturalist on the trip and after consulting a book was able to look at the fluke of the animal and determine that it was named “Mathematician.” You cannot believe how excited my math major wife and daughter became with that news!

I hope you had a great Independence Day with friends, family, food, and maybe even a laser light show. As we reflect on the excitement of Independence Day I am reminded of a quote from Woodrow Wilson. “I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking.”

Love a curmudgeon and have a great week!

(Ned Luce, a retired IBM executive, writes from Port Ludlow, where he may be the only person who thinks he is a curmudgeon.)

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