Friday, 31 August 2007

Thar she blows!

Yesterday was a bit of a hack along the long main coastal highway, which I'd been so adament about avoiding as much as possible. The truth of the matter being I'm running out of time to get up north and start the ride through the Rockies. If I don't get a move on I'll be snowed in at some point and I can't be arsed to get in a place for days; unless its by choice. So I got away early from Port Alberni and only stopped for a late brunch. Luckily the route wasn't too boring there were still nice scenic views for much of the way. The road was generally only single carriageway, with enough strtches to pass any other traffic. As I got further north there was vitually no traffic anyway, so I didn't get to play with too many cars. I had my destination in mind, so Route 19 until just before Port Hardy then a detour to Telegraph bay.

This bay was recommended by a park warder from the south end of the Island. She was really impressed with the operation last year, not a great big place and small groups. At least she got the first bit right. Telegraph Bay is a small place, with nothing there but tourism. OK, so it was fairly quiet! Still at the higher end of the tourist chain. On offer were all things involving boats: sport fishing, kayaking, Grizzly tours form the water and Whale watching.

There was only one campsite, so it had to do. Despite feeling niggled over a lack of space for my tent on the pitch it was fine. I even had some wood left over from the last campers. The pegs went in fine, the facilities were nice and people who passed were friendly. But I felt alone, desperately so! And down came the tears, they lasted all the time pitching and sorting out a fire. Still didn't stop as I went to phone Al and lauren, I just needed a friend to talk to, to hear someone voices that meant something to me. Mainly I wanted to be able to talk to Cai, but I can't and won't be able to again. I don't mind grieving, I know it does me good; but I wish I could have some control when. To be able to feel it and put it aside till later, not for the tears to just roll down my where ever I am. It isn't that I'm ashamed either, I just don't want to have to explain what is wrong to any onlookers.

Call me a miserable shite if you like, but, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a boat with a few dozen tourist plebs crowding round the rail and getting in everyone's way. And thats exactly what I got! The early morning sailing was meant to be the quiet one; WRONG!! Fifty people, whilst friendly enough to talk to, who rushed onto their chosen rail and no way were they moving for anyone. Even when I saw something and lifted up my camara to try and shoot something some pillock instantly jumped in front my lense. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The naturalist on the boat saw my frustration and had a quiet word. Actually she asked if there were anything she could do to help, "throw half the passengers off" was my reply. She did understand completely, which is why she noticed. Once advised the best place to go the trip improved dramatically. Each time the engines were cut I got up in front the wheel house and had a grandstand view. So I could stop being a grumpy old git, but I do so hate being surrounded by tourists.

So what did I see? You've already seen from the photos so I don't need to tell you. OK, the Stella sea lions have just arrived back into the area, couldn't get a better shot; grrrrrrrrr, tourist blockade! But the rest just got better and better. They get reports by spotter plan where the resident Orca's are. So off we set, to view what I'd been set on seeing. And it wasn't long, despite detouring to look for some Humpback whales. On the way there we happened upon the Orca's; so much for the supposed report. There were two males and half a dozen or so females, we got closer and closer (have to stay 100 yds away though) and loads of photo opportunities. Then it was decided to go see the Humpbacks, as they are less frequently seen. Amazingly there were three together feeding, a sight not seen often. We got to see them surfacing for a lunge feed and their tail sweep as they descended again. And then the Orca's appeared again, close to the Humpbacks. Bloody great, Orca's on one side and Humpbacks on the other, coool! We stayed watching for quite some time, spoilt for choice!

While backing away a report of some Pacific White side Dolphins came in so off we went to investigate , a supposed large group. By buggery it was, a very large group. Hundreds of them and we meet them just as they started our way. The buggers are so hard to get a good shot of, but I did manage a few decent ones. To be honest, like the whales beyond a certain point you missed the best by trying to get decent photos. The dolphins were lined up in groups of four or more riding the same bow wave, only a couple of feet away from the boat. Gorgeous and amazing, it really lifted my spirits. It also brought on the tears! It was excellent but would have been perfect seeing all this with Cai, jeez I do miss him so much!!

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