Moments of breathtaking beauty

The sun sparkled off of the quiet water up against the coast, and the passengers stood watching, barely breathing. Suddenly the dark dorsal fin of a northern resident orca appeared with a puff of steamy breath. Then another, and another. Up ahead, the large dorsal fin of a male cut through the water, up and down, up and down. Lulled by the gentle moving of the boat and the golden glimmers of sunlight on the green water, we listened, spellbound, to the musical, distinctive calls of the “I” clan over the hydrophone.

Earlier in the day, on both tours, the fog clung to the water in patches. Sometimes the stern of the boat would be in fog, and the bow in sunshine. This made for a dramatic backdrop to view humpbacks today. We watched them glide up and down, disappearing from sight on their deep dives, and surprising us when they came back up for air. Their distinctive blows gave away their location, and we were able to spot several as they foraged around Bold Head. Around us the jagged contour of the coastal mountains on the mainland and on Vancouver Island appeared above the fog, surrounding us as if we were in a giant outdoor amphitheater.

Today we saw Dall’s porpoises (“Cute!” exclaimed one passenger), a Stellar sea lion swimming as if on a mission, a variety of seabirds, including the common murre and rhinoceros auklets, bald eagles at the Plumper Islands, and Pacific white-sided dolphins pestering the orca, as they are prone to do. The waters were calm, and whether in fog or sunshine, the wildlife was abundant. Moments of breathtaking beauty are everywhere to be found in our backyard!

Hayley ShephardComment