POOR CANOEING WEATHER

With the Fall comes the inevitable wind storms! Power normal goes out,the only question is………. for how long? Wind is something I’m always mindful of! I go out in my 10 foot Zodiac (20Hp) so It doesn’t take much of a wave to make for a bumpy ride! So on windy days I keep my feet on solid ground and go out to the beach.

The West coast just had one of those big wind storms. It’s really easy to know when the surf is huge………everyone can hear the roar in town! Normally we can’t hear anything but after the storm noise is gone and the ocean is in motion….. the roar permeates the air!

That’s Mother Nature calling. I’ve always asked her to give me a call when the waves are huge!

I’m not sure if you are aware of this but all these huge waves here in Tofino and all around the Earth are created by the sun.

Energy blasts out from the sun,enters our atmosphere and begins to heat it up. The warm air rises,cools and then descends. This is convective turbulence. You ever see one of those Lava lamps? Lava lamps are a excellent example of convective forces. The wax gets warm,rises,cools and descends.

So this warm air rising,cooling and descending creates the wind we experience here on the surface. The only difference is the speed at which these air currents move. Most times gentle, but sometimes with great force!

The west coast is a perfect spot to watch storms! Thousands flock here each winter to marvel at the shear power of a raging storm! The only problem is …………timing!

If you come here and theres no storm happening, your not going to be very impressed. We get a lot of tourists here in Tofino. I always ask where people come from? If I hear they are from Vancouver or the west coast I tell them to watch the news each night. Specifically the weather. If they hear of a BIG low pressure system moving in, I tell them to get their asses over here ASAP! Make quick plans! Thats Mother Nature calling you. She wants you to get a great seat for the “really big show”! The key is to watch/ listen to the weather all the time!

Of course If you live far from the coast…….your SOL!

STORM SURF

I looked at the beach camera and saw that the clouds were perfect for a sunset shoot! Two other thingsI had going for me were the tide and recent rainfall!

I’ve found the best sunset shots are when the low tide coincidences around sunset time. That way there is lots of beach exposed.

All the rain we’ve been getting lately bleeds out onto the beach making the the beach like a mirror!

So I rode out in a hurry as I decided to do this late in the day……..one hour before sunset! By the time I got out there the clouds had moved in snuffing most of that great light!

KFC DELIVERS?

I went to see If Romeo was home? I haven’t seen him in almost a month! When I arrived at our meeting spot I found a Gull on Romeo’s perch. I told him he better get out of here as my friend was going to be coming over real soon! Which he promptly did when he saw Romeo flying towards him!

I didn’t know KFC deliveries?

MY FRIEND THE DAREDEVIL

I haven’t been able to get out on a shoot in awhile! I was physically heading down to the boat shed last night but saw some clouds moving in,so I turned around and went back! Which turned out to be a mistake because the sunset ended up being one of those great ones!

So when I saw todays weather was about the same and knew that the next three days were going to be pouring rain….I decided to go out. BUT….that incoming Frontal system came in early and snuffed the sunset!

So great sunset last night,didn’t go out. Poor sunset tonight,I did go out! Trying to be at the right place at the right time can be complicated!

DELILAH

This is Delilah. She’s the Daredevil’s mate. I should say this is Delilah #2. Delilah #1 disappeared over a year ago. She just didn’t come back from the salmon grounds. I haven’t a clue what happened?

When this female showed up months later I was thrilled to see who I thought was Delilah but soon realized it wasn’t my old friend but a stranger. I felt a shadow cross my heart when I realized my friend was gone!

WHAT YOU LOOKIN AT?

I paddled upstream today looking for bears. I found one almost immediately! It was walking upstream on the left and so I paddled upstream on the right. We had rain last night so the stream was flowing faster than normal. We kept pace with each other but when I took out the camera to take this shot I quickly headed back downstream.

The vast majority of salmon a bear will eat are dead. The salmon spawn,die and float downstream. Bears are part of the clean up crew. They walk along the streams edge looking for dead salmon. If you don’t have to work for your dinner why bother?

This bear came across two salmon! It grabbed the first one and promptly dropped it. It than found a second one and walked off into the forest to enjoy but I was surprised to see It come back out 15 seconds later! When I see a bear being “fussy” that means It’s tummy is full! I bet the only fish it would keep would be a fresh squirming one!

I saw three bears on this trip but I still think there should be more! I saw 4 large dead salmon laying very close to the streams bank. Seeing those fresh salmon told me no bears have been around! If just one bear had walked by It would of grabbed one.

This bear was full, most likely because very few bears are around leaving plenty of salmon to eat! Enough salmon that It can afford to be fussy!

I’M CONCERNED!

I camped out at my favorite river so as to get shots of the bears grabbing salmon! Lots of salmon in the river but zero bears? I was there for three days and saw no bears!

I talked to a friend of mine who has the unusual job of swimming down many streams around Tofino. He and his wife count salmon to get a idea on how healthy the run is. He told me that in 17 swims over the last month he and his wife saw only one bear!

No hunter or hunters could possibly wipe out that many bears all over the place. Maybe in one stream but still that’s stretching it! I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on? I’m hoping he and I are both wrong and the bears will show up on mass soon!

PRETTY IN PINK

Most of you are already know, the entire west coast has taken up a bad habit…..smoking!

California,Oregon and Washington State all have major fires burning right now. The smoke from a forest fire once in the Jet stream can travel for thousands of miles! The smoke is composed of tiny pieces of ash. The thickness of a smoke layer varies. Basically the thicker the cloud, the less light will get through. Until its so thick that the sun is totally blocked.

Another thing that happens with forest fire smoke are surreal sunsets! The sun goes to a deep orange, than to a orangey red, than to a reddish pink and finally to a neon pink. The contrast is very muted because of the low light conditions. Exposures can be tricky.

SUNSET VIGIL

I wanted to line up those gorgeous clouds in the background with the Heron in the foreground but this Heron was wise to me!

I had to beach the boat and walk in the shallows. I am constantly taking shots as I walk. I call them “Safety” shots. If the animal takes off before I can get to that “special spot” at least I have something. Ten percent of something is better than one hundred percent of nothing.

So this Heron took off before I could reach that spot unfortunately!

WET AND WILD

This yearling was swimming when I came upon it. It climbed out of the water,shook vigorously like a dog and stared at me.

Bears are very good swimmers. They swim from island to island foraging. Actually just about every animal out there is a great swimmer and island hops as well.

When Bears get mange,they often times go into the ocean. The salt helps kill the parasites.

THE GIFT

August for many birds is molting time. Which makes sense when you think about it. If you were going to undress you’d want to do it in the hottest month!

Romeo dropped a large primary feather tonight!

As a photographer I do something most do not do. I keep both eyes open when I shoot. Watch anyone taking a shot and 99% of them will be closing one eye. My photographic instructor is the only other person I know of that shot with both eyes open. The advantage of doing this is you can see far more on the periphery! (my dominant eye is my right with my left being secondary)

I bring this up because If I had my left eye closed I would never of seen the primary feather drop! As Romeo went past my right eye was tracking/shooting him but my left eye saw that primary feather fall.

A eagle has over 7000 feathers but there are only 5 large feathers on each wing . They are called the “primaries”. There are also 12 large white tail feathers.

I’ve looked at my shots and figure the feather that fell was the second primary on his left wing.

I consider it a honour when one of my eagle friends gives me a feather but of course they do not chose to just get rid of it. It’s just shear fluke to be honest! At any rate I love recieving them!

I also play a game at this time of year. When one of my molting friends zips past there is usually a light fluffy piece of down released! It drifts downwind. The game I talk about is me trying to grab that piece of downy fluff before it hits the water! I missed two of them last night.

MY SISTER MARIANNE

I took this lame shot of my younger sister Marianne back in 74? I always called her “Boo”. I took this when I was just beginning to take pictures. We had a trampoline in the backyard so I got her to jump on and pose.

I got bad news early this morning that she had died. It was expected. She had cancer in multiple areas. She was in the Hospice in Huntsville. A small town in northern Ontario. She was seven years younger than me.

Take flight Boo and soar!

THE DAREDEVIL

I was able to get out on a evening shoot tonight. I originally wanted to go looking for bears but it turned out I left too late. I did see a bear on my way out close to town. I normally do not see any bears on Meares island but tonight there was one grazing in the tall grass. It was shallow where it was and the tide was coming up, so I wouldn’t of gotten stuck. Some flat bays empty quickly!

Only time to visit both the Daredevil and Romeo tonight. Juliette did fly over to say hello as well!

BIG BART

I found two bears tonight. I recognized this bear as one I’ve called “Big Bart”. He’s been around for a few years. He’s shy but tolerates me.

Because of there being no Bear Watching boats zipping around, the bears appear to be more skittish.

I think they get accustomed to boats being around when the bear watching boats are out. Because of this virus the boats haven’t been out this year,so the bears have gotten use to silence making it more difficult for me to get close. Fortunately many of them already know me!