Light Notes

Tough cruise ship crowd cheers God's whale

They were a tough sell; an entertainer’s nightmare. A crowd not easily impressed.

But that didn’t stop our Alaska-bound cruise ship from providing an array of entertainment that would make even Mona Lisa break into a wide-toothed grin. Yet, as I scanned the theatre audience on more than one night, my heart sank.

I had a feeling the backstage staff already had manned the lifeboats.

“I feel so badly for the performers,” I said to my husband, Bill. “They’re every bit as good as any of the Broadway vocalists and dancers we’ve seen, but people aren’t responding.”

Bill reminded me, “The passengers are like us. They’ve been 'cruising' the buffet and they’re still stuffed at this hour. Besides, I’ll bet most of these baby boomers are usually in bed as soon as it gets dark.”

He was right. But in Alaska this time of year, the sun never sets. Even so, it was lights out for the majority of the audience.

So, you can imagine my surprise the next evening when we encountered the same crowd on deck, all bubbling with excitement. They had binoculars, telephoto lenses and video cameras at the ready.

An announcement that we might spot wildlife in or near these glacial waters had brought them running — thankfully, not all to the same side of the ship. As Bill and I squeezed into a space along the ship railing, we joined the throng squinting and staring at the cobalt sea.

Minutes passed. Anticipation mounted.

Then the cry went up, “There’s something to the right of the ship! Look just off the bow.”

To our delight, a huge humpback whale surfaced, then dived into the ocean depths, lifting its tail high for all to see.

Immediately, a thunderous roar of applause rose from the ship, echoing across the waves.

Wow! What a performance!

As entertainment goes, God’s magnificent creature definitely was a crowd pleaser. After all, it had just received a standing ovation.