Cruising and Wallace Island

Oct 01, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

After transiting overnight through Seymour Narrows and south along Vancouver Island, National Geographic Venture saw the sunrise midway down the Strait of Georgia. A beautiful and productive body of water, this area is part of the Salish Sea we have been learning about for the past few days. We slept in for a change and were treated to a fabulous brunch, complete with a mimosa or bloody mary. A few talks were presented, an illuminating discussion about smart-phone photography with the photo-team, and a discussion about environmental restoration of this area, from Katie Mills-Orcutt, our naturalist / expedition diver. Low and behold if we didn’t discover a loose group of perhaps a dozen humpback whales! Whales can communicate over vast distances, so while these animals don’t form pods, they certainly were in the same area together, exhibiting what looked like feeding behavior. A mother and calf pair approached the ship slowly, and after twenty minutes or so of the ship being clutched out of gear and drifting, the whale pair swam right next to us! Our afternoon saw us ashore at Wallace Island, one of the Gulf Islands of Canada’s portion of the Salish Sea. We went ashore in the sunshine for leg-stretching walks, interpretive ambles, and a few took to kayaks and Zodiacs for a sea-based tour. The day finished as usual with a fun and entertaining recap from the staff, a delicious dinner from the galley, and libations from the bartenders.

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About the Author

James Hyde


James is a home-grown, free-range Pacific Northwest outdoorsmen. Born in Seattle and reared nearby on Vashon Island, he grew up in and surrounded by the Salish Sea. James has saltwater in his veins, but would be quick to point out we all do, echoing Carl Safina " We are, in a sense, soft vessels of seawater." Born with the travel bug, James was fortunate enough to spend time on four continents before graduating college. During his studies at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, James went to Australia and visited the Great Barrier Reef. He was never the same. A lifetime of playing in the productive, but opaque green water of the Northwest had offered him little firsthand experience of the creatures below its depths, but with a clear view of the colorful dramas playing out across the bottom of the tropical Pacific, he was hooked. Scuba diving and underwater ecology were solidified as his passion and after college, it took him to a dive shop in Seattle fixing gear, tidepooling with local middle school students, and generally making a spectacle of himself in the surf.

About the Videographer

David Pickar

Video Chronicler

David Pickar is a native of Portland, Oregon. He studied anthropology at the University of Oregon, then spent several years working as a field archaeologist. Participating in excavations in countries like Jordan, Belize and Italy and in every corner of the US, allowed him to witness culture and the environment from an unusual perspective.

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