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- Chapter 31: Rubbing Beach -


  Now Cherokee had a rendezvous with two young killer whales beside a cape on the northeast side of Johnston Strait. Although he was ashamed of his small figure in the same race, the large build of 44 feet quite stood out as the orcas around him not exceed the length of 30 feet. Then with the young age orcas accompanying on both sides, Cherokee going ahead by the head felt like becoming their big brother. It was strange to himself if that he would be playing with the genuine killer whales more than anything else.
  However, in practice relative to them, it was frank his thought that killer whale is only heavyweight dolphin. Of course, it was a premise that the opponent is 'Scale Faction' guaranteed safety. An orca who has not yet been made an adult is plenty, wants to pierce his nose whatever, and was far from dignity much less felt fear.
  Not only that, it was not him who had a respect but rather the killer whales. According to them, they were told by their parents that humpback whales are professional street performers so they must treat them especially carefully among the whale. In fact, Cherokee did not notice that he was teased by them.
  While thinking what kind of education they do as a noble family, he should not be bad feeling to be looked on with worship in their eyes. Even though the opponent is still a child, it is that killer whore the name of a killer whale to the heaven. Anyway, the companions were killer whales whom crying calf whales fall silent with the terrors of their name. It was why he spent much longer time with orcas than Claire and Douglas that he thought that he was going to instruct various things them as he is longer the length and experiences of life.
  Claire hid behind the rocks and secretly watched the Cherokee. He sometimes blew or casually looked around, but he did not seem to be wary of surroundings. So she could observe the situation of him without carelessly. As Jansen said, certainly Cherokee does not seem to feel fear or tension particularly.
  She thought; After all the torturing theory seems to be my groundless fear. But, if so, where and what is he going to do?
  Then two killer whales, his conspirators, came.
"Master."
"Sir. Cherokee."
"Hello, guys. Where shall we go and what to do today?"
  The young orcas flattered Cherokee and called him as Master or Sir. He took it in truly, inflated his belly slightly to be looked like it, and spoke while clearing his throat.
"Sir, I found an interesting thing today and I will show you from now."
"Hmm, I am also interested in your discovery. Take me immediately."
"Here you are, Master."
  Claire did not clearly ascertain the sex and age of the orcas when she witnessed their secret meeting before, but she noticed today that the two orcas are still very young. They were male, but their physical condition is only half of Cherokee. The tall dorsal fin which is the characteristic of a mature male has not been fully extended, so they are indistinguishable from females by distance view. Perhaps they are not independent from the pod yet. Although the content of the conversation does not reach her ears, Cherokee's standing behaviors were clown with a little play.
  Eventually the three whales started to move somewhere. Claire tailed behind them with a certain distance.
  Two killer whales and one humpback whale entered one of the small bays opened toward the Straits. The forest of kelp underwater was dense along the coastline there, and the leafy tips they were hanging over the surface of the sea. The kelp forest is a suitable playground for orcas kids. They often go through the bushes of growing seaweeds and play tags with several one. The two killer whales suddenly dashed into the forest and started a hide and seek.
  Cherokee also put his nose with lumps into kelp as finding the residence of the two orcas. The blabby brown algae, which did not distinguish roots, stalks and leaves, became a curtain that partitions the inside of the bay connecting the ocean floor and the sea surface, wriggled like dancing and made invisible from time to time what is on the other side. Although the power of sonar will be reduced by half in this place, since using a sound wave with hide and seek is foul play of course, he have to rely on intuition to distinguish movements by staring his eyes. The shadow seemed to move through the turbidity of the green water is whether only kelp swayed gently in the water, degree of the light shining, or the fancy black and white petit devil's work?
  When Cherokee was exploring the Kelp's gaps one by one, suddenly someone bitterly bites his nose at the other end of the bush.
"Ouch!!"
"What happened, Master!?"
  The agile young orcas who was turning behind him unexpectedly looked into the face of the insensitive teacher as if something was wrong.
"Yeah, there are some strange creatures in this forest. It's a ferocious fellow suddenly biting another's head. You should take care."
"That's tough, Sir. We have to report to everyone in 'District' later."
  The authors of the mischief pretended serious looks forbearing hardly to burst out laughing.
"Let's cease to enter this forest because it's dangerous. Is there anything more interesting than that?"
  Then, the three whales decided to play the game with kelp as a toy.
"Look at me, it's a rhythmic gymnastics."
  One of the killer whales hooked kelp to caudal fin or dorsal fin, turned like a dance and winded around the body.
"Let' see."
  Cherokee also got the edge of the Kelp imitating him, and tried to wind up by swirling the body. The two orcas talked as Master's help, and made him winding round and round.
"It's a seaweed roll of humpback!"
"Whale sushi!"
"Hey! Stop the ill omened joke!"
  The young killer whales dragged a specially long, thick kelp from inside the woods this time.
"Sir, let's do a tag of war with this."
"OK."
  Cherokee and two orcas held both ends of Kelp in their mouths and pulled at the signal of the whistle (It is convenient to blow without opening the mouth). If it compares just power which is not related to speed and fang, Cherokee had confidence to win them.
  When Kelp tightened to the limit, the two orcas watched at each other and we released the mouth which were holding it. Cherokee, who seriously tied up his jaw and pulled Kelp, the opponent suddenly relaxed, so he got stuck in the ocean floor due to momentum.
  The naughtiness orcas said with a grin to Cherokee who winked his muddy head and blinked with surprise the eye.
"Well, we can not beat Master as well."
  Next, they pulled out some small kelp and brought it.
"Sir, this is a game that we invented."
  Since the tip of Kelp has a bladder with air in it, it float on the water surface when some one let it go down and release it. Everyone should release this with "Ready, set, go!", and whose kelp reach the fast to the surface are winning.
"Well then, Sir, please choose one."
  Among the long, short, twisted and so on, Cherokee took a piece with a bigger bladder. Everyone brought it to the bottom of the sea and went to the position.
"Ready, set, go!"
  At the same time they opened the chin and released it, the three kelp flew up towards the sea surface and jumped out in the air with a momentum.
"Oh, I'm defeated."
  After that, although Cherokee challenged by replacing his Kelp carefully and changing it, the result always ended with his defeat. Apparently, it seems that it is caused by the time lag between opening the mouth until kelp is released as kelp is tangled with baleen.
"You should be handicapped after all. Let me release it at the 'set' timing of 'ready, set, go'."
"More than that, we heard that two dominant powers work in the world in physical classes before. Did you ever know, Master?"
  The young orca changed the topic altogether because it is boring to repeat the same thing. Kelp has other way of playing sucking and adding a tooth form, but it can not be done by baleen whale Cherokee.
"No, I'm doing poetry in humanities, so I'm not good at science."
  The young killer whales talked about what they learned to Cherokee scratching his flank.
"One is a force drawn towards the sky, it rise up when this force works, and the other is a force pulled towards the bottom of the ground, if this force is stronger it sink down. The first force works dominantly when we are looking for air or feeling cheery. When breeding, it is possible to jump higher by thinking about fun things. The second force works strongly when we feel depressed or want to muse alone. So, when we meditate we sink. Birds can fly like the wings in a light mood, so they can fly in the sky, and stones and something with no life are only sinking. Plankton such as jellyfish which are always floating is soft head and light heart, so there is nothing to worry about the world at all. Many of fish are rather in a brown study, and the creatures that are sticking to the rocks at the ocean floor are inflexible mind perfectly. We whales are roughly in the middle. We are not so flimsy flying away from the water to the sky, and not only be saddened enough to refuse the air and stick to the bottom of the water. I think tooth whales are better glue than baleen whales, if anything. Cachalot whales are probably more obstinacy and cool-headedness like Jansen. And so, if we can keep our hearts at moderate, the two powers just balance and do not be ups and downs."
"Uh-huh. Then what exactly is 'Floating Rock'? I want rocks not to be driven by the lusts, and to meditate forever."
"Well, the way these two powers work is not related to the volume of objects or organisms. It is called "Orcamedes' principle" as the name of the great 'Professor' who found it."
"I see. So, I have also made another new finding. Why was I always finished last in the earlier kelp race is because I'm a baleen whale, a type that thinks more deeply and has the nerves finer than you. In other words, the two forces acting on our hearts also propagate to the objects we control. Let's name this "Cherokee's Law"."
"That's great, Sir!"
  Then the three whales lingered vacantly for the time being while watching over the change of the mosaic pattern drawn the waves and the lights on the water surface and the matrix of the bubbles that springs from the gap of the stone of the seafloor.
  Suddenly Cherokee raised his head and said to the two fellows.
"Well, shall we go to you-know-where soon?"
"All right, Master."
  Claire hid behind a rock at the entrance of the bay while watching Cherokee and the young killer whales frolicking. They are completely absorbed in the game and probably will not notice even if she go out. She was surprised by orcas' so playful than even Joey and lily, but by Cherokee who was playing together, too.
  Claire thought; He is still a child, because he have not got tired of playing even though it has been around for half an day.
  Somehow he seems to be twisted round the two naughtiness orcas' fin. Nonetheless, Claire was relieved since one misunderstanding was solved. And she apologized in her mind that she made suspicions for the orcas.
  Oh, they will move again. Where are they going this time? OK, let's mingle to the finish today. Maybe this is a kind of pretend detective.

  The young orcas and Cherokee crossed the Johnston Strait and went along the banks of Vancouver Island. They passed by a minke whale on the way.
"Oh, is that Sister!?"
"That is probably minkey belongs to 'Clan of the Front Side'. We often see them."
  For a moment Cherokee thought of Claire. Though, it is not something to hide it apart from her...
  He turned why he became to hide playing with orcas behind Claire over in his mind.
  Is it because I am playing and can not help her when she is getting serious about Joey? Or, is it because I do not want to show her doing childish things? Maybe because of the incident involving 'Floating Rock', she seems to be unable to approach recently. Besides, it was hard to complain since I was accused by the tone of cross-examination. Even so, it is not good to keep it like this forever. OK, let me explain properly next time. Not doing anything wrong. It is not bad to take her to where I will go. It's perfect for relieving stress.
  Soon, they saw a small beach at the destination. There is a reef zone on both the banks of the vertical cliffs and black rocks across the Straits, but in some places the beach made of pebble extends to the underwater. Because the flat shallow filled with pebbles absorb the sound waves and do not send reflected sounds, so conversely you can understand such beaches when watching by eco-location. On this beach that absorbs ultrasonic waves and literally drowns out the sounds, the sign of the creatures can not be felt except red-throated loon's slutty chirping heard from the forest on the cliff and the distant echoes of whales' blow sometimes breaking the silence. However, it was a very important point not less than "Government Affairs Room" and "Cove for Reminiscences" for killer whales.
  Before watching Claire, the three whales approached the beach in a straight line while increasing the speed. It seemed to have been waiting for like as the first time in the summer "Fertile Sea". Cherokee and the orcas stopped once before a small bowed beach, took a deep breath as they did in preparation gymnastics, and then they disappeared under the sea surface.
  Claire thought; What are they going to start?
"Well, you gentle orcas! I Cherokee, who is the pretty 'Street Performer' among the whale races and also the famous 'Vocalist' of the Great Barrier Reef 'Large District', shall take a look at the essence of art from now!"
  The two young killer whales cheered him hitting the white flank with the black pectoral fins.
"So, first of all, art 1! Back sliding!"
  Cherokee lied on his back and slid while scrubbing his back against the seabed with tightly gravel stones.
"Then, art 2! Belly sliding!"
  He lied on front and rub the body against pebbles this time. The sound his rubbing has reached to the place where Claire is.
"Art 3! Side sliding!"
illustration   It is certainly not exaggerated to say the ultimate street performance that the big humpback whale is twisted freely with full utilization of small shallow spaces as wide as 500 feet. Since the depth is only several feet, his pectoral fin and caudal fin sometimes ripped apart waves and jumped.
  Claire thought; That's a shame of the race. I'm glad that I'm not a member of humpback.
"Next time I will have a difficult technique. Esoterica of arts! Sliding and rolling!!"
  Two killer whales send cheers for Cherokee's performance. They began to glide together. They lied the dark tall dorsal fins sideways, rubbed the body from the offing towards the beach or along the shoreline. They seemed unsatisfactory just sliding on a pebble, so they play blowing each other's body, bleaching, kicking up the water surface with a caudal fin and scattering water splashes. Their laughs completely defeated the tranquility of this beach.
  This killer whale action was called rubbing. The pectoral fin of the whale races is just for swimming as you can see, there is no fingertip, and not made to scratch the body surface. On the other fin, their skin sensation to detect subtle water flow is sensitive and delicate. So, they got the habit of rubbing the body on the seaside gravel beach. By doing this, they can remove bugs on the skin and scrape the old epidermis, and metabolism also becomes active by giving irritation to the skin. Besides, the feeling of sliding on frosty pebbles with rough grain as the degree which does not hurt is pleasant enough to make them feel dreamy and they can relieve fatigue.
  Not any stone can be used for rubbing, but beach with aligned pebbles of reasonable size without corners is ideal. It is precisely the beach specialized for rubbing where Cherokee is present, and the orcas who belong to Vancouver North "District" are frequented. Each pod use of the rubbing beach has become a time change system and in turn to avoid conflict. Two young orcas came here between the regular orders. Even if they are blamed they will have some excuse since bringing the guest.
  It was the first experience of rubbing for Cherokee. There is not a huge beach so large baleen whale can be used for rubbing. They have bleaching instead, but it is more likely that barnacles and whale lice will be attached, and it is impossible to keep smooth skin like orca. Conversely, for killer whales whose speed to pursue prey is important, the custom of rubbing to care for the skin had a higher necessity than other whale races.
  Anyway, it was certainly not bad. As the first breaching for Claire, everyone often becomes addictive when experiencing something new and tasting a wonderful feeling at that time. If I polish me as a handsome boy here, females will be rushing to me for courtship in the next winter, he-he; While gloating so, Cherokee was engaged in rubbing without being aware of Claire in the immediate vicinity.
  When Cherokee was laying on the pebble as he was decelerated and stopped after several rubbing and closing his eyes gently, he felt someone just beside his face. He opened the eyelids thinking that it was a young orca, Claire spreading the pectoral fin and staring got into his eyes with an upside figure.
"Sister!"
"What are you doing in such a place?"
  Cherokee was flurried and talked indistinctly against her cranky voice.
"Oops, I got caught."
"It's not oops! It's no big deal if you are seen. Why did not you tell me soon?"
"Uh, well, I have failed to tell you..."
  Cherokee asked with upturned eyes to Claire who was annoying and silent.
"Um... Are you still mad at me, Sister?"
"I'm not angry anymore!"
"Your voice is angry yet."
"Ur, I'm sorry. It's us that am to blame."
  When turning around, the two young orcas were aside her in an apologetic manner.
"We pulled Mr. Cherokee here without your permission talking that there was an interesting place. So please don't scold Mr. Cherokee."
  As they had a pang of remorse for him because they was so mocking him, the two orcas shrunk in fear and winced when Claire turned her eyes, so she began to feel sorry somehow.
  It will be in trouble if they would become killer whales of minke-phobia in adulthood; she thought.
"OK, don't mind so much. I'm sorry to disturb you though you have been playing all the time. Please keep on going."
  The three whales felt greatly relieved. However, they can not feel like to resume rubbing again.
"No thank you since we already have enjoyed enough. Would you rather do it once more? Apart from that, would you try sliding once, Sister? It is quite pleasant. And it is said that it will become esthetic as well."
"Don't be stupid anymore!"
  Cherokee and the young orcas got rushed away in a hurry as escaping. Maybe they went to find the next play spot without discipline.
  Claire left alone looked back suddenly at the beach where Cherokee started rubbing.
  ... Is it good for beauty?
  The white beach on which pebbles like a ball spread all over is a beautiful appearance, and it seems like inviting her somehow. Claire once again glanced at the direction Cherokee and his fellows swam away. It seems that they have already gone to the distance where the sound does not reach.
  Well, I'll try it just once.


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