For those that are keen, this location may be recognized. A friend of mine suggested to me that I not disclose the location, so I will certainly honor that suggestion.

My friend Allan Edwin and I spent three and half days in late December exploring this area on remote Northwest Vancouver Island. Most of the time was spent under our tarps, watching and listening to five-meter seas crash ashore as the wind howled and the rain poured. We struggled to get a fire going but got lucky on night number three, just in time to ring in the new year accompanied by Allan’s expert culinary skills and gourmet steaks.

It got cold at times, especially when the sun went down – not that we could see it, but you could tell there was a difference in temperature. Luckily Allan had what he referred to as a “Plan G.” I’m not sure where the G comes from but can assume that it was far enough down on the alphabet to account for everything else failing. Plan G was a “Mr. Heater Buddy” and in a harsh coastal environment, it increased our margins and then some. Well done Allan, well done!

As many of you know, I have had some incredible experiences in 2019 with my friend Nick Templeman  and Yukon – #chiefwhalespotter from Campbell River Whale & Bear Excursions.

Get in touch with Nick so that you have a spot in 2020 – if you really want to see Humpback, Dolphin and Orca – Nick and #chiefwhalespotter are your one and only choice! 

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I love the vibrant First Nations culture in British Columbia and right here at home.

“For thousands of years indigenous people occupied the shoreline of eastern Vancouver Island in a place referred to as, “the land of plenty”. This Land of Plenty stretched from what is known today as Kelsey Bay south to Hornby and Denman Island and included the watershed and estuary of the Puntledge River. The people called K’ómoks today referred to themselves as Sathloot, Sasitla, Ieeksun, Puntledge, Cha’chae, and Tat’poos. They occupied sites in Kelsey Bay, Quinsum, Campbell River, Quadra Island, Kye Bay, and along the Puntledge estuary. As a cultural collective they called themselves, “Sathloot”, according to the late Mary Clifton.

Oral history and archaeology describe a rich and bountiful relationship between the K’ómoks and Land of Plenty. Salmon, seal, octopus, herring, cod, deer, ducks, shellfish and a plethora of berries filled the tummies of the young and old alike. The technologies that were applied in harvest, preparation and cultivation of local resources were appropriate to the environment, resource and spiritual beliefs. Fish weirs, duck nets, berry picking techniques and clothing design met the needs of the K’ómoks and for generations provided variety, utility and sense of cultural uniqueness. Mask dances and rhythmic songs filled the winter nights and season. Property was distributed to guests in potlatches and elaborate naming ceremonies honoured the youth, leaders and elders of the communities.”

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What an honor. I’ve been asked / hired to photograph the Pacific Paddling Symposium in Victoria, BC – May 29th – 31st, 2020! Arguably this is one of the biggest paddling events in North America! 

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My 2020 calendar, featuring Orca, Humpback and Pacific White Sided Dolphin is available now and you can order it here.

I am proud to be supporting Pacific Wild again this year with 100% of proceeds from calendar sales going towards supporting the important work this organization is doing. A big thank you to Colette Henghan and the team at Pacific Wild for our continued collaboration.

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On September 24th, close to Lewis Channel, northeast of Campbell River I experienced something incredible, something unforgettable and something that I simply can’t put words to. The experience will resonate with me for the rest of my life. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was standing near the bow of the boat, with guide Nick Templeman from Campbell River Whale & Bear Excursions and his trusted companion, Yukon – #chiefwhalespotter.

The T090’s and T002C’s all surfaced directly in front of us and they stayed there watching. This biological phenomenon is known as “logging.” They stayed in position for what felt like an eternity but surely it lasted for at least 2 minutes. Time just seemed to stop. T002C1, the big male, commonly referred to as Rocky then swam directly in front of me with the rest of the pod in tow.


Afterwards, Nick explained to me that in all of his time on the water guiding, more than 25 years that he has never seen or heard of anything like this before.

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Watch videos here:

https://mryerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/1.mov

 

https://mryerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2.mov

Orca have no natural predators. They’ll hunt Great White Sharks and are capable of systematically taking down a Blue Whale, the largest animal that has ever lived on our planet! A lone Sea Lion is certainly no match! 

I observed this first hand in a once in a lifetime experience on September 24th, close to Lewis Channel, northeast of Campbell River. Calls came in over the VHF radio to our guide, Nick Templeman from Campbell River Whale & Bear Excursions regarding a “Sea Lion kill.” 

Upon arrival, it was obvious that the Sea Lion was incapacitated but still alive and it remained alive for hours and was still alive when we had to leave. The natural forces of nature were in full effect. Were the Orca teaching calves how to hunt? Was the animal diseased and of no edible interest? We’ll never know. 

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The pictures certainly justify the title of this post! I continue to be amazed at the powerful but yet graceful acrobatic abilities of the Pacific White Sided Dolphin. A true joy and spectacle to see and photograph. 

During this particular encounter, a school of about 50 seemed at first to be rather lethargic. But we waited and that changed! 

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My friend, Steve Best and two of his friends explored Gwaii Haanas by kayak between June 25th and July 5th, 2019. Check out Steve’s video here.

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It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve returned from exploring Kyuquot Sound, Bunsby Islands, Cuttle Islands, Acous Peninsula and South Brooks Peninsula. What an amazing place!

I wasn’t sure how to collect my thoughts and my experience but a few things stand out to me now. 

There seemed to be a vast sense of emptiness, it was so quiet and calm. I know this is typical in a very remote wilderness environment but this was different. It was as if no one had ever been there before, like it wasn’t even real and truly didn’t even exist. I’m not sure what it means, or why I think this, maybe it doesn’t mean anything at all and this is just my own sense of contemplation. Maybe I need it to be this way. As I think back, it seems like it was a transition to a clean slate, removal of clutter, a new beginning of sorts.  

There’s powerful and mysterious forces at work, especially on the Brooks, things we will never understand. Whatever the reasoning, I’m grateful for places like this that actually do exist and that can cleanse the mind and soul. 

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