Desolation Sound

Sep 21, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


This morning dawned misty and beautiful, but the weather cleared as the day went on. We started the day in Desolation Sound Provincial Park with expedition landing craft tours and kayaking. Because of the low tide, we saw a lot of marine life: moon jellies, Olympic oysters, blue mussels, and a variety of sea stars were accompanied by kingfishers, eagles, flickers, black oystercatchers, great blue herons, glaucous-winged gulls, and Bonaparte’s gulls.

In the afternoon, we headed to shore for a hike near Unwin Lake. The trail was slippery and wet, so we stopped and enjoyed the quiet, taking in the plant life around us. We saw red elderberries, red huckleberries, black-capped raspberries, and the native blackberry. We saw kinnikinnick, but we couldn’t find Devil’s club.

As we departed Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park, we chanced upon a pod of Bigg’s killer whales, which we observed for about half an hour. While we watched, they made a kill, and proceeded to eat their supper. What a privilege to watch these magnificent cetaceans!

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About the Author

Owen Walker

Cultural Specialist

Owen B Walker was born in Moab, Utah and raised in very rural North Idaho. He graduated high school in Palmer, Alaska, where Northwest Native Art first stirred his soul. After achieving a degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Western Washington University, Owen focused on pre-historic peoples and places of the Pacific Northwest.  This interest and his 40 plus years of living and working in the rural Pacific Northwest awakened a spiritual connection, which he chooses to express thru Northwest Coast Native Art. 

About the Photographer

Phil Schermeister

National Geographic Photographer

During the past 25 years, Phil Schermeister completed more than 40 major assignments for the National Geographic Book Division, National Geographic magazine and other National Geographic publications. He has photographed on assignment in more than 40 National Parks around the United States and has published six single-photographer books with National Geographic, including Range of Light, Our National Parks and America's Western Edge. Some of his other assignments have included coverage of Quechua Indians in the Andes of Peru, Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Native Americans across the Western United States. Phil is drawn to high-latitudes, and has photographed all types of natural landscapes from National Parks, Seashores, and Recreation Areas to Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Wildlife Refuges. In his search for “decisive moments” in nature, Schermeister seeks to find drama in the changing light and seasons as the forces of nature continue to sculpt an unfinished natural landscape.

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