Strait of Georgia & Wallace Island

Sep 24, 2017 - National Geographic Quest


Wow! A terrific day! Before breakfast, as the sun was rising, we spotted a handful of humpback whales. They circled around, blithely feeding as we stealthily approached. After several minutes one of the whales split off and came close to the ship, surfacing beside the bow to great excitement. Then it dove under the bow, popping up on the opposite side. Guests dashed back and forth as it continued playing beneath the ship, exuding great plumes of fishy-smelling breath into our faces and cameras. The sun came up, casting golden light over the scene as the whale moved just below the surface, directly under the frantically snapping cameras on the bow. After rolling from side to side and launching its rostrum several feet out of the water to great delight, the whale finally swam away. We headed into breakfast, satisfied with a sunrise well spent.

During the morning we sailed south, looking intently for signs of any marine mammals. We passed a few more humpback whales and our National Geographic photographer Phil Schermeister presented a talk on photo tips.

Following lunch we continued our wildlife watch and were finally rewarded with excellent views of killer whales! A fair-sized group of resident orcas was circling in the Gulf Islands with some very interesting behavior: rolling over, swimming upside down, spy-hopping, and tail-slashing were among the interesting activities we witnessed.

Late in the afternoon we landed on Wallace Island, a long skinny island with interesting history and very pleasant walks. Folks took off for an hour of strolling leaf-strewn trails, photographing old buildings and vehicles, and searching for wildlife. The day ended with a delicious meal and a presentation from our underwater team.

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About the Author

Emily Mount

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Emily grew up in Niwot, Colorado and Pullman, Washington. Her love of nature began as a child during family vacations spent hiking, camping and exploring the mountains and deserts of the west. In contrast to her outdoors interests, Emily pursued an intensive young career as a classical violinist, culminating in degrees in history and music performance at the University of Washington.  

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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