Inside Passage Blog

By Linda Lewis

 

 

August 23, 2007 – Whales at Fury Cove

 

Fury Cove (on Penrose Island, BC) is a favorite anchorage for many cruisers. It is on the north end of Queen Charlotte Sound, one of two open-ocean crossings for those who cruise to SE AK. We especially like to stay here before we start our crossing south. Even though we listen to the VHF radio's weather report, it is so nice to just look out from the anchorage and see what the conditions are.

Here is the isthmus at Fury Cove at high water. I took the skiff out through this opening to go back out into the channel. With camera in hand, I was off to hunt for the whales we had spotted as we approached the anchorage.

The humpbacks were still out there.

I could get really close to them in the skiff. I would come fairly near by paralleling their path, then inching towards them, and finally just cutting the motor and drifting. What I have experienced around whales and what I know about them reassures me that being in their midst like this is a safe thing to do. I'm so glad, because my time within their circle was a treasure.

At one point, a humpback very suddenly rose straight up out of the water almost right next to the skiff, jaws wide open, feeding. It was so close I could see the sides of its mouth flapping and vibrating. I was PARALYZED. Not scared, oddly enough, but absolutely thunderstruck by its size and majesty. I was standing up in the skiff with camera in hand, but I just could not snap a picture. It was one of those crystal moments when time stands still. I felt blessed. I can still see it.

The picture below is the best I could do as the whale sank back down into the water.

This humpback is preparing to flap its very long pectoral fin.

Here it comes.

Hi back at ya', your majesty.

Did I say the whales are big? And close?

So close you can see the blowhole (towards the far end). I think it looks sort of like the snout end of an elephant's trunk.

And here's a tip: DO NOT get downwind of whale breath. It will absolutely knock you out. Halitosis - big time.

I apologize for the missing photos of so many great moments I would have liked to share with you. Many of those moments are burned on my retinas and my heart and not recorded in pixels.

The whales appear so suddenly when they make their dramatic moves. The breaching is especially hard to capture because there is no warning. All of a sudden they are just there, flying through the air. They breached, they cavorted, they spouted, they waved, and they flipped their tails as they dived. What an experience it was to do this in the skiff so I could be really near them.

After my several hours with the whales I was ready to make my way back to the anchorage. As anticipated, the route I took out of the anchorage was no longer available to me because the tide had been falling. Here is what that isthmus looks like at low water. No taking the skiff through there!

I had the chart with me because I wanted to return by taking a long-circle route through this wonderful maze of islands that Fury Cove is a part of. Here is a picture of what is actually called "The Maze" on the chart. It was approaching sunset, so I found gold in the water.

And when I returned to the Royal Sounder, I found Dave in one of his favorite spots, sunning himself.

I have been in Fury Cove before. But this day of the whales will define Fury Cove for me.

Linda & Dave
M/V Royal Sounder

 

 


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