Fritz Hughes Sound to Horsefly Cove

May 07, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Lion


A few of us rose early to photograph morning light from the ship. We were treated to lovely clouds at sunrise, as we sailed along through Fritz Hughes Sound in calm waters. An occasional floating log went by carrying a few gulls catching a free ride and a rest. The layers of mountains were shades of black and blue-grey separated by the atmospheric haze and resembled a Japanese painting.

We cruised for a while through calm waters and past tree-covered mountains that met the sea. At breakfast time, we found ourselves caught in the Bella Bella light and we went out on the bow to capture the lovely sunlight and reflection on the blue water. After enjoying a hearty breakfast, we continued cruising through Seaforth Channel, past the Ivory Island Lighthouse, on into Milbanke Sound, past forested mountainsides of hemlock, Sitka spruce, and western red cedar. An occasional gull accompanied the ship as we sailed along, and more phalaropes sped by.

We spotted a lone humpback whale feeding along the shore and observed that for a while, before turning and continuing our journey toward Finlayson Channel. A Dall’s Porpoise joined us briefly for some playful bow riding, and what a treat that was! We soon turned to Tolme Channel, passing Klemtu, and on into Graham Reach, where we then turned into Horsefly Cove. We had a delicious lunch and then loaded into kayaks and D.I.B.s for exploring the peaceful cove. As we paddled and cruised in the inflatables, we saw harlequin ducks, red-throated loons, a harbor seal, a mink, and heard many birds calling as they flew through the forest and along the shoreline. The sun played tag with the clouds, and the waters reflected the varying hues of greens from the forest. It was a very peaceful afternoon for everyone.

We pulled up anchor and sailed back into Graham Reach for our overnight anchorage as the sun went behind the hills.

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About the Author

Brenda Tharp

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

For over 20 years, Brenda has used her photographs of the world to celebrate its beauty, and inspire others to protect what we have. Brenda grew up exploring the woods, lakes, and coastlines of New Jersey and New England and her family traveled regularly throughout the eastern U.S., camping, hiking, backpacking, and canoeing. She spent most of her childhood engaging with nature in some form or another and learning about animal behavior. When her father taught her some photography at 13, Brenda soon combined her love for nature with her newfound passion, and several years later her adventure began as a freelance photographer, teacher, and writer.

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