Have you ever made images you treasured so much that you didn’t want to publish them?
I’ve been hanging on to these images for almost a month now, so I think it’s time to finally let them go.
It all happened when I was out on my boat one lovely calm afternoon. It was a glorious day and I was off sightseeing in the San Juan Islands, on the USA side, and the Gulf Islands, on the Canadian side.
The body of water between them is called Boundary Pass and it’s one of my favourite places to go, especially after I got my dream Orca photo there earlier this year.
I spotted a couple of whale watching boats, so I headed over to Saturna Island to see what was going on and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out what they were watching. Until a humpback came up with it’s enormous blow.
Because they stay underwater for a long time, when they come up and release their air it is under so much pressure that it can spout 15 feet into the air. And it’s quite loud too.
The whale watching boats continued on at around 3 knots and the whale would pop up every five minutes or so. They must have had a pretty good idea of how fast the whale likes to travel. I was staying on the outside well out of their way hoping the whale might come out to the middle. You never know. But I don’t like to get too close because I don’t want to harass them.
I got a few photos from a distance like this one…
… and this one…
Then, at exactly 5pm, the whale watching boats left. I guess the tour was over. I figured I would keep going at 3 knots and see what would happen. Well, nothing happened. I lost the whale.
But then when I looked behind me I could see the tell tale spout from the whale’s blow way back where I was when the other boats left.
Strange that the whale stopped travelling as soon as the whale watching boats left.
I didn’t see see the whale again and after 15 minutes went by I figured he was gone. After all, they can stay underwater for half an hour so he could be anywhere.
It was a beautiful glassy calm evening, so I decided to just cut my engine and enjoy the peace while having dinner.
Another 15 minutes went by when I was just about blown overboard when the enormous whale came up RIGHT BESIDE ME!! It scared the bejesus out me when the silence was broken by the loudest blow I have ever heard.
For a second I was stunned and then I dropped my sandwich and grabbed my camera and made this image as his tail went under.
I was in a 17 foot boat and this was a 40-50 foot animal that weighs 80,000 pounds. That’s 40 tons!!
Then he came up even closer.
I made the image above at 235mm, that’s how close he was to me.
You can see in this graphic how much of the animal is actually in this photo.
It’s a good thing I couldn’t see underwater because it might have freaked me out!!
I was just floating there with my engine off and he came to me. There was not another boat for as far as I could see in any direction. Maybe he thought I might be dinner, I don’t know, but he came to check me out for sure.
I would like to think it was his way of saying thank you for giving him some space earlier in the day 🙂 He gave me a little bit of a show, and then he was gone.
Best boating day of the year!