Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another orca movie

Just got back from the wilds of British Columbia -- specifically, near Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver Island. My friend Mike and I spent three days in the vicinity of Robson Bight Ecological Preserve. We didn't enter the preserve, of course, which is off-limits to boats (or at least is supposed to be, though we saw any number of commercial fishermen blithely wading through). We mostly hung out about a quarter-mile from the boundary and watched the whales come through; on Saturday, we saw about 60 whales.

The star of the procession was the A11 pod, which came in next to us from a handful of feet away from where we had been hanging out near the shore. They had also come by us the day before at our camp at Kaikash Creek (the wind was up and so were the whitecaps, so we stayed ashore) and come in close, at times rubbing the rocks there. The most impressive, as you'll see, was A13, the 28-year-old male who sometime this past year suffered a horrifying injury to the top of his magnificent dorsal fin; it appears a boat propeller took out a chunk of its top, leaving a noticeable white scar. These fins, incidentally, are mainly large chunks of collagen. He came up so close in front of my kayak he took my breath away; I was too startled to get off anything but a blurry half-shot of his saddle patch.

The sound recordings were generally pretty clear, but there was a large log boom being hauled by a massive tug that was slowly grinding its way eastward up the strait that day, churning up water and noise along the way. It's part of the constant background noise on the soundtrack.

Hope you enjoy. Back to our regular blogging shortly.

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