There are some places in this world that can expand our notion of what is possible. Last month, when I spent 10 days on board Achiever in Hecate Strait, I quickly realized that I had found one of those places.
Hecate Strait is the body of water between the Great Bear Rainforest and the Queen Charlotte Islands. Acheiver was chartered, I was cook and crew, and our job was to identify as many humpback whales as possible by photographing the underside of their flukes. This job afforded us a glimpse of the incredibly beautiful world in which these animals thrive. More than once we sat in a sea boiling with krill and herring as humpbacks lunged with open mouths to scoop up their prey. We sailed through expanses of shearwaters and had our whale-bound attention stolen by a lone albatross. We listened to the annoyed squealing from humpback blowholes as the whales tried to escape the mischievous attacks of Pacific white-sided dolphins. At twilight, we stumbled upon a pod of fin whales, the second largest whale in the world.
Following these humpbacks, I watched them dive, I heard them slap the water surface, I smelled their breath. One even gifted me the experience of her stare and the feel of her smooth grey skin against my hand.
This sliver of the Pacific is richer and more beautiful than I could have imagined. We must vow to explore it, not with seismic ships and drill bits but with personal experiences that will impress upon us the wealth and wonder of these waters and give us the strength to protect them.
July 5, 2004
From somewhere in Hecate Strait, BC