Ah, island life! Whenever I go to an island to stay there for a while, it makes me feel “at home”. That’s strange, because I didn’t grow up on an island at all.
I grew up in a town surrounded by grassland. So why this feeling when I stay on an island? I have a few ideas about that.
The first is that an island invokes this sense of “quietness”. A sense you don’t get in a city and only in a lesser way from living in a small town or village. Like a cat feeling safe in an empty, small box. Once the ferries have stopped for the night, there is no more new traffic racing by. Silence sets in and a good night’s sleep is almost guaranteed.
Brier Island Lighthouse
But most of all, an island is associated with the sea. As a Dutch guy, I have always loved the sea. As a kid I devoured books about the VOC. While they must have been ruthless in their days, they also built a large part of the country. Respectable at home, brutal at large. But that’s how it went. Then there was the whaling going on. A good thing that that has now stopped, these magnificent creatures deserve to live their lives too.
So going to an island for me is this association of sea, adventure and, in a way, returning to faint roots. My uncle, God rest his soul, once did research to the origins of his part of the family and came across a “letter of faith”, a letter from the president allowing him to be a privateer. The distant ancestor, that is, not my uncle.
Conflicting currents and winds
Water kind of runs in my blood. Mind that I said “water” not beer, like would want to believe… Wind-swept waves, stunted trees and bushes from the constant wind are what makes for great pictures. The above shot was from the shore, at the southern-most point of Brier Island, Nova Scotia.
First sight of a whale for me
But for some people, the best part of being on an island is to be able to get off of it. I went on a whale-watching trip for that. The water was a bit choppy, but all in all the whales were there. Of course, when you go on a whale trip for the first time, you come back with hundreds of pictures, most of which are complete duds…
Humpback Male “Parens”
I came back with 900+ pictures from this trip on the water alone, not counting the rest on the island. Of the whale pics, I think I kept perhaps 50, perhaps less. The rest were the same pictures, just a few milliseconds apart. For once I was using the burst mode of the camera to the maximum.
Humpback mom and calf
Once I got home, I paid the price for that with hours of culling. Above, a picture of a mother and calf. All of the whales we saw that day were Humpback Whales, no other species were in sight. The water was a bit rough, so the whales didn’t “perform” any tricks, breaches or other picture-worthy actions. Defecating in the water, leaving a huge spot of poop behind doesn’t count as performance to me…
By times, they were not visible at all, even if we knew they were not far away. That was the time to shoot the birds. This Great Shearwater was a first for me. These birds live over the sea and only come to the land for mating and laying eggs. The past 2 years they also came on land to catch the avian flu, decimating them.
Last whale tail of the day
After a few hours on the rough water, it was time to go back to the island. A last tail of farewell and we were off. The pictures of the whales here are all from different whales. In total we saw 4 or 5 different ones. Then we were back on the island, for more adventures.
Until next time…