Paddling in thick fog is intriguing in it’s own way. The world appears to you only twenty feet at a time. Slipping into your vision quietly. It reduces you to your immediate surroundings and brings details into focus. The moss on the tree branch above you, the brilliant purple starfish passing under your boat, the way the rocks have been turned orange by the minerals leaching over them. Fraser Reach is the least hospitable place we have been so far and to me, maybe the most beautiful. For the most part the shores are cliffs, no stony beaches or even rocky sloping shoreline to pull a boat onto and get off the water.
As we make our way the fog slowly clears to low cloud cover and ahead of us we see two humpbacks blowing. They breach and bubble, feeding on the plankton, fish and krill in the water and moving our way. Their massive 50 foot bodies slipping above the water to blow then lifting their tails and diving down again. They circle and bubble the water, surfacing again with open mouths to catch giant mouthfulls of water and krill.
Jeremy and I sit stunned and in awe, and to be honest, a bit of terror. When they feed they circle around in the water, coming up with their giant mouths (they can hold 5,000 gallons of water in their mouths) wide open and then shut their jaws as they come above the water. They then push the water they have collected back out and their baleen filters the water and keeps the fish and krill inside. 50 ft in front of us they dive back down still headed our way. Its unnerving knowing they are feeding, knowing they are heading our way and not being sure where they plan to come up next. They swim under us and surface just behind us off our sterns, feeding again. We watch overwhelmed by the massiveness and the beauty if these incredible creatures.