Saturday, August 07, 2010

Third Boat Day

Thursday morning we went to Telegraph Cove to rendezvous with our water taxi. He had had a fishing charter at 5AM, so we weren't going out until 11AM or so. Nice slow morning. We zipped on over to OrcaLab on Hanson Island in heavy fog. It took some doing to get into the boat in Telegraph Cove (very low dock), and out of it at Hanson Island (no dock at all). We had a lovely time: visiting with Grandmother Cedar, sitting in the house talking about orcas (one of our transients the day before would have been T19b, he has a tilted dorsal, oh yes he did, that was him), meeting the volunteers, looking at Blackfish Sound out their wonderful windows, hearing all the news, having tea and cookies. Paul Spong himself gave us the lab 'here's what we do' tour, a treat for the two newbies in our party.

Getting back on the boat was yet more of a challenge, E. who is even shorter than I am sensibly just crawled under the rail instead of trying to step up onto the boat and then climb over it. We returned around the back way, so we got to thread our way through Weynton Passage and admire all the narrow openings and mysterious passages among the Plumper Islands, just about the best there is for scenery. Then our captain ran out of gas. He puttered ever so slowly a little bit further to a place where it was safe to be without power for a while, then shut down and telephoned for someone to come across from the fuel dock in Telegraph Cove. There we sat for about 45 happy minutes, bobbing around just short of where Weynton Passage enters Johnstone Strait. Conditions were perfect, it was warm and flat, slack current, we were perfectly safe, it's one of my favorite spots in the world, looking through the mysterious spaces among the islands,

and we had a mini-wildlife tour just sitting there. Some dolphins, a seal on a rock, a minke whale came very close by and then went on his/her way; and a herring ball also nearby, with gulls and ducks and three eagles working the feast. We five loved it, just quietly being in one of the more entertaining and productive intersections in the world of water. It's an orca thruway when they are around, which of course they were not; a very biologically rich spot and we couldn't have had a better place to be dead in the water. :-) (Some photos of the Plumper Islands in this post from three years ago.)

A little boat called Knot Again brought us fuel, and followed us in. (All this took place on this map:)

(Click for readable image.)

Friday, driving down the island, saw a bear. He walked across the road, casually showing off: 'this is what a bear looks like in profile, don't I do it well?' I wished for a dashboard camera.

PS Transient orcas are what we saw this week, and mostly they just have numbers, haven't been named. The Northern Resident orcas have names, and to the people who try to observe them in their core habitat every summer, they also have families, histories. Read a little about it in Paul Spong's blog. Personally I've always identified with Scimitar, A12, who is even older than me and still earning her living in the ocean.

Some stray images, and yes, I probably should have pitched the camera into Goletas Channel in the middle of the second day.

Tuesday. The bear on the shore at Hidden Cove. (Click for larger image.)
Tuesday. Dolphins. (Click for larger image.)
Wednesday. Somewhere west, vicinity of Goletas Channel. Very smoky air. (Click for larger image.)
Wednesday. The curved dorsal fin. (Click for larger image.)
Thursday. Waving goodbye at OrcaLab. (Click for larger image.)

1 comment:

Sky said...

oh, my! sounds like you have been in a natural marine paradise with the added dazzle of bears!