Sunday, October 05, 2008

Watery Canadians

Off Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, live at least 2 seals that come to the side for feeding and are tourist attractions in themselves. They stand out of the water and watch as tourists buy platefuls of sardines from the nearby fish stall. They were the fattest seals!And these are harbour seals doing what proper seals are supposed to do i.e. live out in the harbour and fish for their own food.Take my word for it, this is a grey whale. Grey whales are bottom feeders and the water these particular ones were feeding in wasn't very deep so unfortunately there was no need for them to do that lovely tail-flip to propel themselves to the bottom. All we saw were bits of long sloping backs as they slid gently under the water. That and the puffs of steam. But that didn't make it any less wondrous.The captain of our boat and guide, Alfred, called sea otters the teddy-bears of the sea because everyone loves them and wants to cuddle one. Unlike other sea mammals they don't have a layer of fat to keep them warm. What they do have is the densest of furs. Human desire for that fur led to them being wiped out from the Vancouver Island area but they were reintroduced from Alaska about 50 years ago. They don't have fur on their faces or feet and so they keep those bits out of the water so they don't get too cold. (Although I thought it was pretty chilly out on the sea in the mist and wind anyway.)Sea lions held court out on the wave-battered reef.

Just before I took this photo a salmon leapt up the river - honest. Or rather it tried to leap. This is Bailey's Chute and is recognised as the furthest point that salmon can get to when they return. They end up giving up and retreating downstream a little to spawn.The captain's mate said he'd been going out with the boats for 6 years and he'd only seen Pacific white-sided dolphins 3 or 4 times so we were incredibly fortunate to find a pod. Husband said I easily won the prize for being the squeakiest person on board but it was amazing. It was like living in a television documentary. video

11 comments:

leslie said...

Oh, lucky you that you saw the dolphins! I saw those two seals at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria this summer - boy are they ever FAT! They know a good thing when they find it, don't they!

jmb said...

What a great tour you had Liz. Sea otters are my favourite too. YOu see masses of them floating in the seaweed just off the shore in California. A magical sight.


Doesn't look too sunny that day. More like our part of the world.

Rose said...

Wow! This looks fascinating! Husband and I have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise; whale-watching, especially is on my "bucket list."

Lindsay said...

Have been reading you posts about your Canadian holiday - it brings back memories. We too had a super holiday touring the Rockies, (Abathasca Glacier, Lake Malign, Lake Louise, Banff (Husband got stuck on cable car) Jaspar (this was the best) and eventually driving to Yellowstone. We got chased in Jaspar by a rutting Elk - gosh they do bellow! One sat on our log cabin verandah all night roaring away.

Dragonstar said...

Just look at all those dolphins! Wonderful! I love that first photo of the seal's face.

babooshka said...

These are just beauiful.

Aileni said...

I am not in the least envious... so there !

DeeJay said...

Just loving all of your Canadian posts Liz

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Lovely watery pics. That seal looks so cute.

Liz said...

they certainly do, leslie.

It turned very grey but not too cold on that particular trip, jmb.

We were wraned about rutting elks being more dangerous than grizzlies, lindsay. that must have been pretty scary.

THose dolphins were just amazing, dragonstar.

babooshka, it all was very beautiful.

of course not, aileni!

Thanks, deejay and welshcakes. More to come ...

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