Sandra almost misses the big moment, leaning overboard to throw up like graduation night.
The guide offers her a glass of water, patting her on the shoulder.
“It’s gonna pass, don’t worry,” he says kindly before leaving her to comfort another tourist. Damn seasickness, why did she have to chose this trip when she could be riding a motorcycle up Road 66?
The rest of the group is scattered on deck, taking pictures or admiring the rising sun on the horizon, until the captain’s voice comes out the speaker announcing they’ve arrived on sight.
She gathers all the strength she has left to walk toward starboard. A few feet away from the boat, something moves below the water, creating small waves on the surface. Then it’s just a matter of seconds until they see the back of the whale emerging, spreading water as she exhales, swimming away from the boat and diving again, disappearing in the ocean.
Sandra joins the chorus of ooohs and aaahs of people mesmerized by such a rare encounter. Tears threaten to flow and she puts back her mom’s Ray Ban on, focusing on breathing slowly. Once more, her memory goes back to Amelia recounting her trip through Northern Europe, how she both found herself and lost herself in the neverending horizon of the North Cape. Those stories were so dear to Sandra that when she’d started planning her homage journey, coming here felt like the obvious choice.
A little girl bumps into Sandra’s leg trying to catch a better view on the mammals, gathering memories she’ll never forget. Sandra gets out of her daydream and finally realizes she should grab her tablet to take pictures, securing her next blog post.
Standing there, watching the whale return to the surface, along with two smaller ones, Sandra knows her mom would’ve been proud of her.
Road 66 is no match for whale watching on the Norway shore after all.