Wednesday 12 June 2013

First time unto the breach

Our last day on the Silver Shadow, sniff, and it dawned more typically grey and damp – in fact, a grey-out at one stage, the sea merging indistinguishably into the sky. But there were compensations. One was a speed-merchant dolphin hurtling through the water after prey, performing a nifty figure-eight movement after some presumably panicked but doomed fish. Then there was the land, an ever-changing outline of hill and beach, but all of it swathed in green. Never in my life before have I seen so many trees.

They, or the logging rafts, had shed so many logs into the water that it was hugely frustrating to us whale-watchers staring at the sea as conscientiously as any sailor from a century ago. Again and again I thought I’d spotted something, and it was only a bit of wooden flotsam providing a handy resting spot for a couple of gulls. But then there was a humpback, spouting noisily as it cruised away from the ship.

Really, I wanted orcas. Humpbacks I’ve seen often enough not to be that excited any more – but then, after lunch, I was standing on our veranda looking out at the glossy water as we slipped along the Inside Passage between the mainland and Vancouver Island, and saw more than just spouts. There were two small humpbacks, busily breaching, over and over, which I’ve never seen before, though others on the ship, doing different excursions, had had exhibitions of, close up. They were beyond the limits of my little zoom lens, but still, it was great to see.

So that was exciting, and coming an honourable 3rd in the Trivial Pursuit tournament was mildly satisfying; and then dinner at La Terrazza was delicious tonight, in good company, by the window with the sun slipping down behind ranks of hills and peaks, a sliver of a thumbnail moon above and a fernleaf trail of rippled, coloured water below. It was just a shame, that it was all for the final time.

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