Monday, September 19, 2011

Searching for whales and spices

The weather this past Saturday was incredible, at least in this corner of New England, we knew we had to be out of doors somewhere.

Now, we could've have stayed right here in Rhode Island and explored more of the coastline. Or we could've have gone to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge and taken in the arboreal splendors of that fantastic necropolis. Or we could have gone to sea in search of the great whale, that mysterious animal snacking its way south along Stellwagen Bank 30 miles east of Boston. The whale watch won out.

The day was gorgeous, warm yet hinting of the fall to come, and a blue sky that seemed to go on forever -- which it did, of course, since at sea the horizon appears infinite.

So we drove to Boston, to the New England Aquarium, home of Boston's much-lauded whale watch cruises. We parked the car next door to the boat landing and queued up to board the Voyager III, a hi-tech catamaran that would cary us and some 200 or so like-minded folks out to find the whales.

But it didn't quite work out as planned. The trip was wonderful, the sea calm and inviting and even though the sun beckoned us to stay the day we searched high and low for the great beast but all we saw were a couple of blows and backside of a fin whale. The only watching was by 200 people watching each other watch for whales.

Still, I like to think Herman Melville would have been proud enough of us to say that at least we tried. And they gave us free tickets to return -- the policy is we come back until we see whales. Noe that's a business model we can live with. So come next June. . .

Anyway, after we left downtown Boston we meandered our way west in the direction of Arlington in the search of spices, Penzey's Spices to be exact. For nearly 20 years we have been ordering Penzey's by mail -- great quality and you buy what you need; you can't beat that. But we'd never been in one of their shops. This search proved far more successful than the elusive whale -- and it was cool to finally stroll around row after row, rack after rack of nothing but spices and herbs.

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