Sunday, 14 October 2018

Whale Trip out into the Salish Sea …




I took the opportunity of a clear, calm day to jump a trip to see some sea life out in the San Juan Islands and Straits to the east of Vancouver Island …
 
Leaving Cowichan Bay going south-east

… and while out thinking how difficult it must have been for those early navigators plying the seas to find a route through the intricate network of coastal waterways …




Showing Victoria, capital of Vancouver Island -
and then the border line interspersing the islands up
to 49th parallel south of Vancouver



… yet I also remembered that for centuries the indigenous peoples knew their lands, the flora and fauna all essential to their slower full way of life …








Looking east to the snow-covered Mount Baker



Just looking at that daunting land, full of mountain ridges interspersed with volcanic valleys, or the many ‘dead ended’ inlets … 






Java rock chain with Sealions, seals and plenty of birds



... then the multitude of islands and islets – some just called ‘chains’ (reefs) … ie rocky formations just at or below sea level – boggled my mind.





Enhanced iphone photo
We did see in the distance – but c’est la vie: it was lovely to be out and to have the opportunity – a Biggs Killer Whale pod, a harbour porpoise being eaten I believe … as it was being tossed around … Steller Sea Lions, seals numerous, lots of birds, including common murres …




Spieden Island


… on Spieden Island fallow deer from Europe, Moufflon sheep from Corsica, Sika deer from Asia (Japan) remain after it was set up for sport hunting … now it is unoccupied, but the animals thrive and remain … until (I guess) inbreeding occurs.



All on board - rarin' to go ... 
As an after-thought – you may know James Jannard who owns Spieden … he started and owned Red Digital Camera – forty of which were used to film The Hobbit.


We cruised down at 55 kmph (28 – 30 knots) … I sat hunkered down letting my eyes drift across the gentle calm waters … over to the USA mainland, or westwards towards our British Columbian coast …  


I had lots of layers on ... 


It was a lovely excursion run by Ocean Ecoventures, who are passionate and dedicated, responsible for ethical whale watching and wildlife viewing. 





Spieden Island is marked

They are a small owner operated tour company, members of the Whale Watch Association while supporting local researchers and conservation efforts. 


It was delightful … and I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon out with them … so friendly – I did feel a bit like a teletubby – the only downside to the whole trip – but I was warm!

Ocean Ecoventures website and blog ... with some amazing photos

Here’s the Hobbit link to James Jannard and Red Digital


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

34 comments:

Botanist said...

Yes, those islands are a bit of a maze! Ali and I did a tour in a boat like that off Tofino last year. Even in summer, it's important to wrap up and stay warm! Glad you had a good trip, and looks like it was a fine day for it.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
what a delightful trip - the sort of thing I love. YAM xx

Liz A. said...

It's so nice to get out on the water. I bet those were tricky waterways to navigate back in the day.

Chatty Crone said...

You are so incredible blessed to be able to go see those beautiful things.

Jz said...

What fun!
And you actually got to see whales, even if from a distance - how fantastic.
That you did it all while staying warm is even better.
Good job, you!

Hels said...

Ethical whale watching! That is SO important. In the Southern Pacific, the Japanese kill whales for "scientific research".

Joanne said...

what a fun jaunt and very adventurous. I, too, think about how folks sailed in the "olden" days - quite intrepid to be sure.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Glad you bundled up! That would be so much fun. I had no idea there were so many islands and islets!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

That had to be an interesting and wonderful trip. I have always wanted to go whale watching. Maybe someday.......

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You certainly look bundled.
Wild you saw the killer whales eating a porpoise.

Jo said...

Navigation in that area must be a nightmare with all those seamounts, especially the hidden ones. Pity you didn't see whales breaching, wrong time of year maybe. Even wrapped up you look a tad cold.

Jacqui Murray said...

My brain is stuck on, How the heck did early mariners get through island groups like that? They wouldn't know an island from a mainland? Amazing people.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ian - your trip out of Tofino must have been glorious. I can believe it's tricky staying warm - thankfully it wasn't too cold and yes the day was fine ...

@ Yam - it was a really enjoyable day ... no responsibilities: just relaxing and seeing what was around ...

@ Liz - yes ... being out on the water is always so exhilarating - while the ins and outs of islands and inlets looked maze like ...

@ Sandie - I am lucky - you're so right ... got to do what one's got to do and take the opportunity ...

@ Jz - yes ... we were lucky seeing the whales - though they're usually around I gather. It was a lovely time and I was able to stay relatively warm ...

@ Hels - ethical whale watching - well they left the other boats and didn't crowd in ... and knew the whales we were watching. I know the 'excuse' of 'for research' when killing whales is appalling ... it was good to know the Canadians were looking after these northern residents ...

@ Joanne - it was a very comfortable booking - and I'm so glad I did before the season ended (for this station). Those sailors of yore - amazing navigational skills - think how many times they'd have been disappointed with no way through ...

@ Elizabeth - I was glad they said put on lots of clothing and then the suit. It's not until one looks at the coast line between VI and the mainland of British Columbia that one realises quite how rocky it is ...

@ Arleen - it was a delightful trip ... and I'm so glad I took the opportunity ...

@ Alex - I was well wrapped! But at least we saw some whales and them flipping a porpoise, as well as the other sea creatures ... few - but wonderful to see them ...

@ Jo - The seamounts are another added problem ... I guess some of the 'chains' are like seamounts ... a navigator's wee challenge. My shot does show a breach ... but it was the only display as such ... the rest of the time they were swimming around and diving for food then re-surfacing ...

@ Jacqui - it does beggar belief how those early sailors knew where to go and then were able to write up charts etc ... I'm sure the sea gave them signs ... but no wonder journeys took years ...

Lovely to see you here - thanks for the comments ... I'm so pleased I was able to get out and take a trip ... cheers Hilary

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Simply fabulous, Hilary. You're looking resolute!

Out on the prairie said...

My first visit up there was to see whales, but missed them completely.Had a great time visiting many other sites. When one was almost sighted everyone ran across to the side to see, usually a seal or wave.

Lisa said...

What a lovely trip! I'd love to do that someday.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Oh, I bet it was cold. But look at all the wildlife you saw.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Looks cold there but also sounds like a great trip

Sandra Cox said...

Minus the porpoise being eaten, it sounds like a lovely excursion.
Cheers,

Anabel Marsh said...

What a fabulous trip! Better to feel like a Teletubby than be cold.

Inger said...

Errol and I spent our honeymoon on Orcas Island. It was lovely back then and reminded me of the Stockholm archipelago where I spent my summers growing up. There too, half or it was under water and you had to be careful and know your stuff when out boating.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mike - thanks ... and yes I was 'confined' in my teletubby suit! But it was a lovely 'soft' journey - no jockeying for sightings etc ...

@ Steve - we were lucky ... but we had to dash south to find them - still it was lovely just being out amongst the islands. As I mentioned to Mike - at least we were in situ and weren't tilting the boat ... we didn't see lots - but saw enough ...

@ Lisa - yes I just had to take the excursion, couldn't miss out ... or resist ...

@ Diane - it was getting cold - but I probably was fairly sheltered and did have plenty of clothing on; but exactly we did see a fair amount ...

@ Jo-Anne - it wasn't as cold as it might have been ... I'm glad to say!

@ Sandra - you couldn't really see the porpoise being eaten but, could see it being tossed up in the air ...

@ Anabel - yes I was glad to be well wrapped Teletubby style ... than be cold ...

@ Inger - what a fabulous honeymoon that must have been - I hope this brought back lots of happy memories ... I see it's quite a big island. I bet it's a little like the Stockholm archipelago where you spent your summers as a youngster. I bet the rocky formations were similar to here ... look like it when one sees a map.

Thanks for your visits and comments ... cheers Hilary

Linda said...

That sounds like a really neat trip. I love boat tours for the different perspectives they offer. What you describe sounds particularly dangerous to those sailing the seas before modern navigational equipment.

Glad you got to go before it gets too cold. Winter is coming...

Debby Gies said...

You are such a go-getter Hilary! I love your enthusiasm for Canada and all your wonderful excursions. :) xx

retirementreflections said...

I live on Vancouver Island but have never done this trip. You have now inspired me!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I've always wanted to do one of those trips - maybe one day I'll get around to it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Linda - it was 'very comfortable' and really interesting. Seeing the islands from out in the Salish Sea certainly put another perspective on the area. I really don't know how they survived in those centuries ago ... and yes I'm glad I went when it was still 'warm' ...

@ Debby - not at all ... but there are some things one has to do - if the opportunity is there and it's relatively easy to achieve. I've been lucky - and Canada is very welcoming ...

@ Donna - well definitely something to do - I gather the Tofino tours are wonderful ... I'd love to do that at some stage ... but please take the opportunity ...

@ John - me too ... they are well worth doing - and I hope you get a chance to take something similar ...

Thanks so much - it's a great trip to take advantage of and to know more about our seas, the conservation efforts and knowing what sustainable fish we should keep an eye out for ... cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

The photos are beautiful.

Sherry Ellis said...

Looks like it was cold! But you some some lovely things. (Maybe not so much the porpoise being eaten by killer whales.) Thanks for sharing the photos!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - some mine, some others ... but all bring the post to life ...

@ Sherry - It actually was 'warm' - if I'd gone out with a wind, or if it had been colder generally - then it'd have been cold: I would think the west coast of the island is much colder. Thanks just determined to do what I can while I'm here ... yes the porpoise being killed wasn't that bad - but I didn't watch too much ... it's the cycle of life isn't it ...

Cheers to you both - Hilary

Terra said...

The map you share shows how tricky and intricate navigating must have been in the past and still is today, I would imagine. Well worth it to enjoy all the beauty of the area.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Terra - yes the map brings the islands to life ... as well as seeing the seals basking on the reef rocks just a few inches above the water ... and relating back to navigating the area. It is beautiful though ... thanks for your visit - lovely to see you - cheers Hilary

DMS said...

I thought I commented on this post when I first saw it- but maybe I read it and then didn't have time to comment. I am not sure. Sounds like a lovely trip. Love the pictures and the map. It looks like it was CHILLY- but I am glad you were able to stay warm!
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jess - delighted to see you ... and thanks for checking in re this post. It was a very 'gentle' trip ... ie no wave thrashing, or whale splashing - which perhaps was unfortunate ... but it was a lovely afternoon. It did get chilly towards the end - and that photo is probably tiredness and also exposure to the sea air ... but it was great fun and I'm so glad I took the opportunity. Thanks for being here ... cheers Hilary