Offshore Thunder
Remember thunderstorms as a kid? You’d see the lightning flash through the windows and excitedly start extending your fingers one by one.

One...two...three...four...five — boom!

I always thought that every one-second delay represented one mile. Turns out it’s every one mile for every five seconds. (You Google something new everyday.)

Anyway, I had a similar experience the other day while backpacking through Point Reyes National Seashore. As my girlfriend and I hiked up a steep hill, huffing, and puffing and cursing the weight of our packs, we saw some humpback whales surface in the distance. At first, it was just the spray from their blowholes. Then they were lunging for fish. Eventually, we saw one slap its tail on the water, a technique designed to drive fish away from the surface and into the mouths of their friends below.

We watched this, delighted, then turned to continue our walk up the hill when suddenly — clap!

The sound of the tail slap reached us several seconds after we watched it. It happened again. And again. We started counting the seconds until the tail slap met our ears.

One...two...three...four..five...six...sev— clap!

There’s no moral to this story. Whales are just awesome. Especially when you hear them from 1.4 miles away.