(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.
humpbacks were still out there.
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.
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.
humpback is preparing to flap its very long pectoral
back at ya', your majesty.
I say the whales are big? And close?
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.
here's a tip: DO NOT get downwind of whale breath.
It will absolutely knock you out. Halitosis -
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!
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.
when I returned to the Royal Sounder, I found
Dave in one of his favorite spots, sunning himself.
have been in Fury Cove before. But this day of
the whales will define Fury Cove for me.
M/V Royal Sounder