May 21st, 2020
Written by Guide Aleia Wylie
It’s as if you have the place all to yourself
Close your eyes. Imagine standing on a pebble beach.
The crisp morning air on your nose and a mug of hot coffee cupped in your hands as you watch the steam rise in front of the still water before you.
Now imagine standing among great towering trees, gently draped in a delicate blanket of fog. You feel the spongy earth beneath your feet. You stop to look up and around, as a bright fungus or lichen catches your eye.
As the summer slowly creeps into fall, a little chill enters the air. Day by day, the water starts to show fewer visitors until gradually, it feels like you are out there all on your own. It’s as if you have the whole place—the beach, the island, maybe even the whole ocean—all to yourself. It’s quiet and calm and more peaceful than you could have ever imagined. The soothing sounds of waves lapping gently on the rocks ease you to sleep and kindly greet you in the morning when you awaken.
The sun rises later, giving you the opportunity to witness the tranquility and colour that the start of a new day brings. The silence of the morning gets interrupted by the sound of a humpback whale blowing puffs of moist heavy breath up into the air. Lungs filled with oxygen, it starts its dive down, slowly rolling its back along the surface of the water. Its tail flukes catch a glimmer of light for just a moment before joining the rest of the whale into deeper water. Gone for now.
As we paddle along the shoreline at low tide, shades of green seaweed contrast the dark rocks on which it lies. On shore, a wee crab takes refuge under a barnacle encrusted boulder, hiding from a black bear foraging for a snack. It scours the beach flipping over large rocks with ease, using its long tongue to scoop up mouthfuls of tiny creatures. On a lucky day, quiet as can be, we might just come around a point and witness this interesting activity in action.
We may even be graced by the presence of the ever anticipated Killer Whale. Its tell-tale black dorsal fin rises slowly, piercing through the water followed by a short, strong blow. The sound of its exhalation carries across the water to catch your attention where you’re sitting, whether on the beach or in your kayak. Unpredictable as they are, it is always a pleasant surprise to catch a glimpse. I like to close my eyes and listen to the sound of their breaths fade into the distance as they continue on their way.
As a guide, there’s something so special about guiding the final tours of the season. To experience wilderness on the cusp of transition, from summer to fall. Watching the plants and environment change somehow helps me ease into my own inevitable transition from life on the water to my next adventure. Just like the bears, my berry consumption slows and I am gently reminded that the summer is fading out. The next phase is on its way, but not before a few more wonderful weeks on the water with those who are keen to experience the change together.
We run our multi-day kayak whale watching trips on the coast of BC from May throughout mid September. Click here to see all tours and dates. Choose amongst a wide variety of glamping and expedition-style adventures.
Fog blankets over islands & the sea
Misty and refreshing forest walks
Flower Island in Blackfish Sound