So we have left the city and arrived off the mainland. Today starts a week of whale and bear trips. So. Up at 6 to be ready for breakfast at 7. At the pier at 7.45 to kit up ready for the off. It’s absolutely chucked it down all night but there’s a bit of a lull as we go and get kitted up.
It ain’t attractive – for starters I look like the Michelin man. And that’s before I start. When my mother went into her nursing home after a fall I went into see her straight off a flight as we had been on holiday. ‘Help Mum’ i said. My dad ‘ you know who this is don’t you’ she looked At me carefully. ‘ I have no idea but who ever you are you need to lose some weight.’ That’s Alzheimer’s for you. She never recognised me again. She wouldn’t have today for sure. I digress – as usual it’s my mothers fault. It usually is.
Here you go. Guide insists you also need a fishermans mac. Gloves. And a hat. All to add to what you have already. I think an XL raincoat. Your having a laugh young man. Try triple X – I want to breathe as well as be able to move my arms.
So. We are all sat in the boat. Well it’s a dinghy really. Sits 8 and the guide who is driving? The thing. He starts on his outline. ‘Excuse me’ a shrill voice says. Can I use the bathroom. Use the bathroom! You only left your hotel 5 mins ago. And got dressed up the same as the rest of us. Now you want the loo. God help you. You’ll have to peel off the layers. If you can actually fit in the cubicle. She apparently did as eventually she was back. And we were off
To say it was wet was an understatement. It chucked it down. Between the mist and the rain you couldn’t see the person in front of you. Find whales. I couldn’t even find the head of the person in front.
There were breaks in the rain. Few and far between. We circled for hours. Rain lashing at your face – I didn’t know why we were given goggles. Until you got hit in the face with driving rain. I’m on holiday for gawd sake. I need sunshine – I have to top up my farmers tan.
We were wirelessed. There had been a sighting of killer/orcas whales that morning. So off we went. Another hour in the rain. Skirting the shoreline. Still no whales. We stopped near the shore watching a couple of bald eagles circling overhead. That’s when I could lift it. Between goggles. A hat. My camera stuffed in my boiler suit.
Look over there the guide said. There’s a grizzly bear on the grass. Ian saw it through binoculars. Good buy that. Then there were two. B—/-r this – I whipped the camera out and took some photos. In the rain. Not great as we were a fair way off but cropped and lightened you can see it’s a grizzly. Apparently 3 years old. Ish. I don’t know how he could tell. I suspect he was nether at the birth or is a Godparent.
Excited to see a grizzly in the wild. Was I. Do bears …… We are off to Great Bear Losge tomorrow for 4 nights and I’ve already seen two. But no whales. So off we go again. In the rain.
A shrill voice again ‘excuse me’. I need a toilet stop. Woman. You had one when we started. We are in the middle of open water. Your in a boiler suit. With a fishermans mac. ‘Hang on’says the guide. ‘Here’s a bucket and the back of the dinghy’ Full marks tho – somehow she did it. Round of applause for the lady. ‘It’s alright for you men’ she said. ‘With those useful things of yours’. Huh. Useful? It’s not a bottle opener. ‘We’d have to find it under all this gear ‘ a smart Alec replied. Speak for yourself I thought – though he was right. Im not even going to try.
I need to go to specsavers. I thought the sign said big boy Stuart bay and this is where we eventually stop for lunch. Still no whales. No big boys either. I’m grateful for thermals.
Getting off the dinghy was a scene from the generation game. Who could Look the most stupid exiting the boat. First off was the woman with the shrill voice. What did you say the number was for the toilet. Guide gave her two different codes. She sprinted up the ramp. She was still trying to enter the wrong code as we all reached the top. She had entered the code too many times and she had locked it. But she went. Twice. Only after she’d done a dance. Well a jig. Still no whales.
Bald eagles yes. Whales no.
Weather gear hoisted back up. Zipped up. Hats on. Goggles on. We set off again. But it was sunny. Hurrah. But still no whales. We saw sea lions. Big things sea lions. Hunting for salmon. Not the tinned stuff. Fresh. Plentiful.
Harbour seals basking in the sun disguising themselves on the rocks.
Back on dry ground. Walking funny. It was s good day. Sea lions. Seals. Bald eagles. And two Grizzlies.but no whales. Tomorrow is another day. And a 2.5 hr drive.