I stood next to the edge the water and saw a tail fin flip above the surface.  The waves lapped on the shore and a glimpse of an arched grey blue body appeared.  Soon other tails and curves took their turns to rise out of the water.

Suddenly a large smooth animal, a porpoise, or maybe a Beluga whale, surfaced inches away from the shore.  I hesitated, reached forward and stroked its skin.  It didn’t recoil and seemed to enjoy the touch.  It stared right back at me.  Oohs and ahhs came from the crowd on the shore.  The whale dove under the water and emerged a few feet away.  Until my dying day I will remember how that whale smiled at me.

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