HARBOUR SCENES

20130110-IMG_189720130110-IMG_190220130110-IMG_189620130110-IMG_1920I have been away for the Christmas holidays over three weeks & man was it great to get back to my beautiful Tofino!!
Had a great time visiting family & all,but coming back sure felt right! The sun was shining brilliantly today & I eagerly headed out in my boat to visit with all my wild friends!
I went straight down to Cannery Bay to visit with the Lions first. The tide was very high so there wasn’t too many on “Lion Rock”! Only 4 Stellers were on the rock when I arrived. I couldn’t find a single Californian anywhere at first!
I went on the inside of Cannery & found them (Californians only) on that float basking & barking. I think there numbers have decreased since I last saw them? Can’t been lots of food around if that’s happening than! They like Pilchard,but there can’t be too much food around to have them leaving so early?
I’m not sure if this is a what is going on or not?
I also didn’t find that one Lion with the wire wrapped around it’s throat & can only assume it has perished?

I have noticed at high tide when there isn’t alot of room on the rocks for them to laze around on,that they go hunting. Than with their belly’s full & the tide lower,they return to laze around. So basically I went for a visit when they were out shopping at the supermarket! (I hope?)
Time will tell?
Said goodbye to my voicestress friends & headed over to Rankin rocks to see if anyone was home. Not a soul was there! No birds or Harbour Seals!
I did find a few Seals further on towards Tranquil,but nothing to write home about!
Continued down into Tranquil Inlet to visit with the Trumpeters. I could see them with my binoculars at a good distance at the end of the Inlet. I can never get close to these guys! They spook very easy & it was calm out,so they heard me coming several kilometers away! I counted 7 this time.
Headed back towards town & had time on my side,so I dropped in to visit Rob in Gunner Inlet for awhile. He lives on a floathouse with three friendly cats.
I’ve always wanted to live like that myself! A floathouse would be the cats meow!
Said goodbye & continued on towards town. Stopped at Tsapee Narrows to visit with the Daredevil & Delilah. They both came over to say hi. I noticed the sunshine was on the verge of being snuffed for the night! Some extensive high cloud was moving in,so I got some shots of them doing their thing while I could!
Once the light went I said goodbye but the Daredevil flew over to me first as if to say “don’t leave”! I explained I had to to & would be back tomorrow. He flew back to his attack perch & just looked at me.
Conditioned west into town. I fueled up at the Marina first & than went over to Deadman Island to visit with Romeo & Juliette. I could only find Romeo around! I realized that Juliette was hidden from my view & was over on the mud flats chowing down on a fish. The sun by this time had been completely consumed but the cloud was translucent enough to allow some nice partial light through! I could only shot Romeo as a silhouette! He didn’t seem to mind.
I noticed several fishing boats coming in from the days work. I think it might of been Geoduck ( large bivalve)?
I got a few shots of Romeo playing in front of the “Georgia Prince”!
Called it a night & headed back in after saying goodnight to my friend Romeo.
I bet he had been wondering were I was all this time? It was really good to see my friend again!
This was my first shoot of the year & it couldn’t of been better! ( aside from no Orca’s or wolves of course!)
It was like coming back to Eden!

HEY!………”WHERE’S THAT BIG TURKEY GOING”?

20121212-IMG_131120121212-IMG_131220121212-IMG_131320121212-IMG_1314It seems so long since I was last out on a shoot……..& it has been! The sky’s cleared for the day & I headed out.
My first hurdle was the tide! A very high tide was happening when I wanted to go out! Almost 14 feet! I have to put on my chest waders when the high tide coincides with me wanting to get out.(unless of course I wanted two very full & complete soakers!)
I headed on down to Cannery bay to visit with the Lions. Their numbers haven’t grown tremendously so since I last saw them,but most likely will over the Christmas holidays! The high tide forces them up higher into the forest & their rocky islet had only a few spots available.
The entire inlet was very calm & gave great reflections!
I than went over to Rankin rocks to see if any birds or Seals were laying about,but nobody was home! Decided to try Gunner Inlet for any bears but I knew the odds of that happening was slim to none & Slim just left the building! Gunner was vacant for any of my furry friends,so I decided to slip on over into Fortune Channel to check over there before heading back in to town.
Once I got into Fortune I decided to check on my fuel situation. I was absolutely shocked to see my tank was almost bone dry! I couldn’t figure out why! I thought maybe the carb needed adjusting for the colder weather? I had to go to Creative Salmon’s Dawley Pass farm & beg for some fuel! They were nice enough to give me 10 liters! I only needed enough to get into town. Thanked the guys & took off for the sunset in town. Made it back in time for a nice visit with Romeo at Deadman island. Juliette just sat there staring at me as per usual. Said good night to them both after half a hour & went over to the fuel dock to fill up.
Thats when one of the attendants noticed that my choke was half way on!! I must of forgotten to push it in all the way! I had been boating all the time with the choke half way out! No wonder my fuel consumption was atrocious! That was a dumb mistake! Felt pretty embarrassed about that screw up! I have never done that before & most certainly will never again!
Even with that screw up it was still a great day out!

THE GATHERING

The weather broke today & I didn’t need to be asked twice!
The tide was high,so I headed down to Tranquil Creek. You can only get inside the creek if it’s a high tide. I knew there would be a good chance that the salmon would be gone & the run finished for the year……………….& that’s exactly what I found!
I only saw two fish moving about in the fast flowing stream! I tied the boat up & took my chest waders me. Came across two bears as well! The first one didn’t see me,but I could tell it was injured! Most likely from a recent fight. Coming into the winter season,this bear could die from a wound like that?
It saw the second bear & retreated into the forest. The second bear saw me & looked like it was trying to hide behind a spindly bush! It was kind of funny to see this large bear thinking it was able to hide from me!
I returned to where I had tied up the boat. The tide had dropped & grounded me. I took the motor off & put the wheels down. The boat is designed to be very mobile!
Once I got the boat back into the stream,I decided to just drift. I realized that this was going to be the last trip into Tranquil for 10 months or so! It was kind of sad to think that actually! I’ve been coming up into Tranquil for 2 1/2 months now. I saw the entire spawning season from start to finish!
Thousands upon thousands of salmon had entered into the system to spawn & die. I saw many dead salmon littering the bottom of the stream & estuary! Many bears,birds feasted upon the salmon!
Another cycle has come & gone.
I headed out of the system & started my trip back to Tofino. It’s a long trip for me! It takes about a hour to get down to Tranquil!
On the way back I saw some Harbour Seals hanging out on Rankin Rocks. Found hundreds of Dunlin’s as well on Rankin!
Ran into a friend of mine on the way back with motor troubles. Started towing him back,but he managed to get it started anyways. Said goodnight to them both & headed to Deadman Island for a visit with my favorite eagle friend,Romeo!
He greeted me well & was receptive,but because of me stopping to help out my friend with his boat,It delayed me & I missed the sunset! I did get a bit of it,but the sunset’s peak had come & gone!
Didn’t find any salmon today & missed the sunset,but I still had a much better day than 99.99% of the Earth’s population I bet!!

The Cormorants are back for the winter & have started to hang around on their favorite haunts.

Cormorants


I managed to get out today. The light & weather was great! I went straight down to Cannery to see If I could find our injured friend? Sure enough,he was hauled out on the walkway to the float by it’s self. I noticed it doesn’t go too close to the others. I think it must be in pain & instinctively wants to stay apart? Continue reading “Cormorants”

Brandt’s Cormorants

It’s been 3 weeks since I last went out in my boat! I don’t think I have ever spent a longer 3 weeks either!
It was sunny sky’s today & about bloody time!
I went straight down to Cannery bay to check out the Lions. As soon as I was close enough to glass them,I saw what I suspected. Their numbers have grown tremendously! They were in their normal haul outs along the shore and not just on those two rocky islets. The tide was too high anyways,so they weren’t even on those rocks anyways. They have moved into Cannery Bay finally. They were even back onto the slide float. The float was weighed down so much from their weight,that the deck was below the waters surface!
I’m going to guess around 3 hundred so far! There seems to be more Stellers this year as well.
After visiting with my furry friends,I went over to Rankin rocks to check out the Dunlin’s. They seem to love that rock. With it being a rocky island it’s a perfect home base. Very protected from ground predators.
I than headed west towards town again. As I was coming up to Tsapee Narrows & noticed Logan on the point. I stopped to take a few shots.
I continued on to see the Daredevil and Delilah,but only Delilah was home and she wasn’t being very sociable today.
So I moved on to Deadman Island to visit with Romeo & Juliette. They were both home and very active tonight.
Great way to end a even better day out!

Strathcona in Snow

I was surprised to see that the Frontal system that threatened us with rain, went past us further off shore! That meant it was going to stay sunny! I think the rest of the week will be wet,so I took advantage of the great light! It was a cold trip today! I had my winter gloves on. I do not have a windscreen on my boat and am exposed to the wind/cold!
I loaded up on the fuel and headed east down Tofino Inlet to Tranquil Inlet. I wanted to see if I could find any bears?
The tide was just right. It was very close to being high and it allowed me to enter into the river system easily! It didn’t take long for me to realize that the party was over!
I couldn’t find any salmon swimming around at ALL! The dance is over for another year I guess!
I did see one bear however, but it was at a distance and heading up river away from me.
I couldn’t see many fish carcass’s on the rivers bottom either! The heavy rains had flushed the entire system!
After my little disappointment,I headed over to Cannery Bay to see if the Sea Lions had moved back in…………..& no they haven’t yet.
I don’t think I even saw one swimming around!
I headed back into town. I noticed that a large cloud layer was moving in from the west and I knew what that meant! Bye bye to my great light!
I went to visit Romeo and Juliette for awhile at Deadman Island. Only silhouettes tonight of my finely feathered friends.
Another great afternoon’s shoot under my belt!

Crabber

This is a Crabbing boat. They set Crab traps and harvest the crabs caught in it.
They rebait the trap with squid,fish heads etc. Squid is the choice of the industry I believe,but don’t quote me.
When the trap settles back down on the bottom,it starts producing a “scent” cloud downtide. Any Dungeness crab downtide of a trap will follow the scent trail right back into the trap. A one way door flap ensures the visitors a permanent stay in the trap until the Crabber comes back in a week or so to harvest them!
I also believe that only the males are harvested,with the females thrown back to help replentish the population. They have to be a certain size as well. I think the cut off limit is 6 inches. The smaller ones are thrown back for future harvesting.

Strathcona And Cormorants

For those that visit my site often ,you will recognize this spot! I always shoot it when I find birds on this rock. It’s located just in behind (to the north) Strawberry Island. It has no name but I call it “Strawberry Islet”.
Notice how the birds always point into the wind!
I was looking north,so they basically were pointing to the West/NW.

Cormorants Sunning

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I did get out today and went somewhere I have never been………to the Bulson river at the north end of Fortune Channel! Turns out that there wasn’t much there to write home about. The creek to the east of it had salmon in it and it looked like some bears had been around! However there were none there when I arrived.
On the way back I came across a single bear along Fortune’s Eastern shore. The tide was too high for bears really and I anticipated that.
Romeo was the only eagle active tonight. Juliette just looked at me and couldn’t be bothered!
I than came back into town for the sunset,which had a rare Green Flash happen! I was very happy to get that!
I do not see that very often! Best sequence I have ever shot!
Another great evening out!

Cormorants

I was able to get out this afternoon. I went down to Cannery Bay to check and see if any Sea Lions had taken up residence…….and no they had not yet!
However,I did come across one lonely looking Californian Sea Lion “outstanding in it’s field”! (you’ll see)
I than continued north to Tranquil Inlet to check out the salmon run and maybe some bears? There were no bears (lots of signs that they had been there however) but there were thousands of salmon!
Chum and Springs mostly I think!
I went up Tranquil creek to the old bridge and than turned and came back. I always love going up Tranquil! It’s shallow going up the river,so I had to kick up my motor to draft less and even than my prop hit a few stones lightly!
I could see thousands of salmon darting all around me in huge schools! The bottom went black in spots! Good to see!
I than headed back to Tofino. On my way in,I went past Rankin Cove and saw the barge “Makah”. It was being loaded up with logs but the guys had gone for the day,so there was no activity.
The light by this time had failed. Some clouds had moved in from the west and that was all she wrote for the days shoot!
As always,it was great to get out!

Their HERE!

I’m starting to see the kayak’s again!
They, like the birds of Capistrano are fairly reliable.
I was already heading out of the harbour when I saw them and turned around and went back to this spot.
I got foreground,mid-ground AND background with my first shot of the day!
Not bad! A good start I thought.
I always like to “draw blood” (photographically of course) before I leave the harbour. Getting the first shots under my belt primes me for the afternoon’s shoot!

I obviously got out today in my boat. The light was pretty good. I know that Spring has arrived and the Sea Lions will be leaving soon.
I went down to Cannery for a visit and verified my suspicions!
Their numbers are down! They have started to migrate out of the inlet. Several normally popular spots were vacant and the main gathering spot over by that wooden structure had less than normal!
Mother Nature has put in a phone call to the boys and told them that their winters vacation is over!
I will miss them.
I did do what I promised I would as well……….I put into land and checked out the forest where they were! Or at least one of many haul outs.
You will see below a few shots of the forest floor.

Outstanding in their Field

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I went out today in the boat but realized even before I got out, that the light was going to go bye bye!
I saw a thick cloud system moving in from the west. I probably wouldn’t of gone out,but I invited a friend and I wanted to put a smile on her face!
We postponed going to Cannery Bay. The waves were starting to cap from the wind and it’s a long trip,so I called it off and we stayed in Lemmens Inlet. It’s a semi protected inlet and a good backup for times like this!
We visited Moe and Maggie as well as Romeo and Juliette.

These Cormorants looked funny standing all by themselves on such a small rock.
I found the background moody! You can see how the light had failed! It was sunny one hour before this shot was taken.
That thick cloud was doing it’s thing right over top of me!