It was one of the best boating days I’ve ever had. My first time going through Seymour Narrows, up Johnstone Strait, to Kelsey Bay on an absolutely glorious day.
Please click the images to view larger versions.
On the way home though Discovery Passage I spotted some porpoises a little ways off on the starboard side, so I decided to take a swing over there and see what was there. I was expecting some harbour porpoises, but as soon as I turned my boat towards them, all the fins turned towards me and I knew right away those were no harbour porpoises!
I felt the adrenaline start to surge because I knew these guys wanted to play – Pacific White-Sided Dolphins!!! A pod of about 15-20 of them.
I was testing a lens I’m planning on taking with me to Africa – the 16-35 f/2.8L – so I quickly put that on knowing a wide angle lens would help me get the dolphins in the frame.
It’s quite a challenge driving the boat and photographing at the same time!! With the whales, I just put the boat in neutral or cut the engine and then photograph, and I only have to worry about how far the boat drifts. But the dolphins only play with a boat that’s moving so I knew I had to keep going.
Sometimes I’m a little worried because they get so close to the boat. They love to swim in the wake right behind the engine! Then then go under the boat and jump on either side, go under again, and jump in front, all while I’m travelling at about 15 knots. I was actually getting splashed by the dolphins – which is really something special 🙂
But the dolphins are super agile and fast, so there’s really nothing to worry about. They are about 7-8 feet in length, weigh 300-450 pounds, and can easily swim 30 knots.
So I have to look ahead to drive the boat and avoid logs, and then quickly look back or to the side and photograph. I don’t even try to look through the viewfinder, I just hold up my camera, aim in the general direction, and hope for the best.
They played with me for about 20 minutes! I got about 200 photos of splashes – and a few that actually had a dolphin in the frame.
Eventually I got into a place that had a lot of current and whirlpools and then a big bunch of kelp, so I had no choice but to slow down. At that point, the dolphins left me and I watched them swim off into the distance with a big smile on my face.
That is so awesome! What a great experience!
A trip to Africa sounds very exciting! My mom has been to Namibia and I would love to see South Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya… my list goes on! Which country/countries are you planning to visit?
Mary @ Green Global Travel says
What an amazing experience! Driving and taking photos at the same time sounds tricky, but you got some beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing!
Sherri Stone says
What an amazing adventure! I feel like you’ve been blessed by “the gods of nature.” I had a chance to capture some dolphins a few months ago while we were on a sunset cruise around Chincoteague Island, Va. It was so challenging waiting for them to pop up. Great shots!!!
YAY !!! This must have been so amazing. Looking at the photographs it’s hard to believe the challenge you had in taking them 😛 Lovely captures as always.
Nice photos! What a treat to encounter a pod of dolphins, and you certainly had your hands full with taking photos while handling the boat. Using the 16-35 lens surprised me until I remembered how close to the boat these dolphins like to swim. Thanks for the great shots of these special animals in such a special place. Loved these photos!!!
John Murray says
Great stuf Anne,
You did well double tasking!! Not easy I know!!
Some nice pics !! We often have bottle nose dolphins
(Flipper) type , I am on the south coast of new
South wales , Australia! A little town called
Bermagui! Made famous by your sane grey the western
Writer, in the 1800s. It is deep Pacific Ocean and also has
Montague Island off shore which attracts much
Life!! The humpbacks migrate past here from Antarctica to the tropics
And back so we also get to photograph them!!
They are are a special treat to have close by like that arnt they!
Well done and happy clicking, cheers john
Sabrina Samuel says
What a great story! Had a dolphin experience in June…and your story put that same gooffy grin on my face. Thanks!
Maryann Morabito says
These are awesome shots. There are so many miracles every day.
Love dolphins…great shots here.
This are some lovely pictures. An inspirational real serenity .. Many things to learn as an amateur. Thanks for sharing …
Sounds like you had a great time! I have never been able to take a tour like that. I hope I can next year.
Sounds like a hoot!
Cranking the difficulty level up there by driving the boat at the same time. Even aiming and choosing the moment it’s bloody hard to get a good shot. I was once in a pod of hundreds of dolphins at Kaikoura in New Zealand and out of all the photos I took, I only got one that was anywhere decent – and that was of a fairly distant dolphin. All the ones splashing around me were too quick.
Having said that, with better gear I’d get better shots. More pixels, a faster burst rate, a polarised filter and lens hood. Just to boost my chances.
Fabulous scenery on a brilliant day, by the way – even without the dolphins those wide shots are delicious!
Malcolm Watkins says
We were on a whale watching trip out of Telegraph Cove on September 9th. Saw pods of Orca, porpoise white sided dolphin, seals and I think you! We had driven up from our home in Victoria for a few days and had a wonderful day with lots of wildlife.
Were you on board that day taking photo’graphs (with a very large zoom)?
Anne McKinnell says
Hi Malcolm, No, it wasn’t me, that was the day I left on my trip to Africa – otherwise I would have been out there for sure 😉 I’m glad you had a great whale watching trip! The boating is wonderful up there and Telegraph Cove is a quaint little spot. Thanks for your visit and comments!
dr nisha says
Hi Anne..u r journey is truly inspiring & encouraging..indeed u have made ur life as beautiful as ur photographs…well done
Kevin Falk says
I enjoyed your pics, thanks.