Morning cruising, afternoon to Alert Bay

Sep 19, 2017 - National Geographic Quest


As the sun rose, National Geographic Quest entered the waters of Blackfish Sound, located just south of Cormorant Island in the waters of Johnstone Strait. Blows from humpback whales had been spotted, and we began to slowly make our way towards them. Sea birds and bald eagles decorated skies overhead with layer upon layer of clouds laced through the mountains of Vancouver Island to our left and the coastal range along the mainland of British Columbia to our right. As National Geographic Quest pushed east into Blackfish Sound, a large pod of what appeared to be dolphins were spotted in the distance. An announcement was made and soon the bow was filled with guests, staff, and crew as our Captain and First Mate maneuvered expertly in, around, and through a pod of at least 250 white-sided Pacific dolphins. Shouts of joy were heard from the bow as each of us found ourselves at the edge, watching dolphins watch us!  Our lovely fall light shifted as the sun rose higher in the sky, changing ever so slightly the lighting of the extraordinary scene before us!

Soon the dolphins made their way out into Johnstone Strait as National Geographic Quest followed, making her way towards our afternoon destination of Alert Bay, British Columbia. We were being hosted by the Namgis First Nations to attend an exhibition showing some of the protocol of the Potlatch, a ceremony that forms the backbone of the Kwakwaka’wakw culture of these Northwest Coast people. The T’sasala Cultural group brought us into the Big House where a large fire had been laid and elders welcomed us beginning our late afternoon of the sharing of cultures.

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About the Author

Sharon Grainger

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Sharon’s degrees in Psychology and Anthropology from Eastern Washington University have given her a good base to pursue her profession as a naturalist and photographer. With five generations of artists behind her, she has developed a portfolio of images covering many interests including indigenous cultures, ethnobotany, natural and cultural history. Photography gives voice and interpretation to her experience of the world. Spending many years with Native peoples has dramatically affected her attitude towards how and what she sees. She recognized, through these experiences, the diversity of peoples around the world. This began a lifelong curiosity about the variety of ways in which different cultures relate to each other and this planet.

About the Videographer

Mark Clement

Video Chronicler

Mark Clement grew up in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York, where he developed a deep appreciation for wild places at a young age. Now living in the Green Mountains of Vermont, he has made a career out of capturing the beauty of wild places at home and around the world.

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