09.10.2018

RE: Delphine vor Bella Bella

Makes me smile...what a life they have!

Thanks, Michaela!

-----Original Message-----
From: Micha [mailto:micha@fotovagance.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2018 9:50 AM
To: Zabelle Huss; Tom Knibbs; Michaela Huss; Mary Ho; Jürgen Stoll; Alex
Huss
Subject: Delphine vor Bella Bella

Visitors yesterday....

Delphine vor Bella Bella

Visitors yesterday....

06.10.2018

Princess Royal Island

We do not regret having driven back up to Princess Royal Island. No, we have not seen white bears. But: we have done wonderful hikes up rivers. We had to climb over rocks and trees, crawl underneath trees, wade through the rivers over very slippery rocks and through deep mud where once I had a hard time getting my boot back out, balance on fallen for a while until we could jump back down, walk through thick bush while eating the bear's berries, walk or climb up little waterfalls, do some rock climbing up and down, very much enjoying every step we take. In our second river, once we had gotten past the rock climbing we found a nice sandy riverbed, flat enough (due to the drought) to be able to cross back and forth as we needed it, around that one corner behind the bush I saw a big dark rock. Oh no, it was moving. And ate fish. We were lucky. We found three decent size grizzly bears eating fish about 50m (50yards) ahead of us. Of course I only had little battery left on my camer
a. So I first took out the film camera to take a video of them eating. Then I shot some photos. As grizzly kids stay up to two years with their mom we believe, from their sizes and fish catching skills, that two were older cubs and one the mother. They all had funny different hair style. The biggest one had a kind of blondish head, one was completely black and one a mix. The smaller ones took off, wish a fish in their mouth, once they saw us. Only the biggest one looked at us and continued its hunting and and feeding on fish. Could not have been many. We had seen a bunch of salmon (all pinks and three sockeye)a bit further down in a pool which is too deep for the bears to get them. After I had my pictures we slowly moved backwards and walked away back down. That "encounter" gave us hope and we returned next day. Well, that next day we met two locals (indigenous) who do fish counting, but no bears. We walked all the way to the natural fallen tree barrier which is another 45 m
in upstream. There we found lots if carcasses of chum salmon, any many skeletons, heads without eyes and dug out holes where bears had looked for eggs in the ground as the eggs carry lots of nutrients and are their preferred winter storage food. We so loved that hike. 3 and 4 hours, so cool. Same with the other walks along rivers that we did. No bears, but partly really challenging, especially the one yesterday with it's bigger waterfalls and higher rocks/ almost cliffs. Did I mention that we're hiking all of this in our gum boots, our "XTraTuff". They are standard in Alaska. Everybody has them, especially fishermen/-women, but really everyone. They're made from neoprene and as such are really flexible. That makes them somehow more scratch resistant. So far they still keep the water out. They are brown on the outside and the women's have cool inside designs like octopus, salmon etc.
Yesterday along the river we saw tracks of wolves. The two people we had met the day before told us they often come out and check you out, especially if you imitate wolves sounds. We did not dare to as we were still hoping for bears. Last chance today/tomorrow. It's finally supposed to rain tomorrow, that means the remaining salmon are going to come and run up the rivers. That makes food for bears so they will come out. We'll see.
We just drove into a bay with active logging. They are crazy. There are people cutting down the trees and then the heli comes and flys them out (without any people on the ground to help). They operate a grabber from above from the heli. Once the heli has two or three trees in its two finger "hand" it flies them over a so called "float" and drops them. Makes for great pictures and very much reminded my of the calving glacier I witnessed. The "floats" is an area made up by floating trees which are tied together so any tree thrown into there will remain within these boundaries.
So far for now, we're continuing on to Klemtu and possibly to another bay. There is a hatchery there and they say there are lots of salmon waiting. We hope to get some more finally, we're running low.

02.10.2018

Princess Royal Island

From Port Hardy, which is in the very north -NE corner of Vancouver Island, Marcus and I sailed back up to Princess Royal Island in two long but very beautiful days. Tue fog had lifted early in the morning on the 29th so when we started our way up we had a spectacular view of the BC mainland panorama, where we even could make out some of the glaciers that are far away. The day ended with a spectacular sunset accompanied by quite some whales blowing peacefully into upcoming darkness. Clouds had come up and fog started to move in which made the scene so amazingly beautiful. There were little wind/rain sections in the cloud creating super beautiful shapes. Some looked as if someone had taken a brush and just brushed a bent stripe into the yellow-orange-red colored clouds that were following the mountain range in their shape or were just straight where there were no mountains. Some birds flying into the scene topped it all up. We could barely see where we dropped the anchor...Early next morning we left our anchorage, crossed the straight that quickly picked up lots if wind and waves. We had decided that it would probably be better to drive up outside in the open water than against the wind in a channel where the wind would be stronger. And it worked. We even got a couple of hours of amazingly beautiful and calm sailing in. Again the scenery was amazing. We were at the northern end if a low that set foot around Vancouver giving us interesting, soft cloud cover that made for a beautiful fake blue whilst from the direction we were sailing to it cleared up so that we ended the day in sunshine. But I loved the mood before. So peaceful (if you know you're sailing out of it) and quiet. We were sailing through a landscape of many little rocky island, each one of them really pretty, some with trees in them. Then we heard noise and smelled the typical smell. There had to be sea lions. Sure enough we found them. A gazillion sea lions dozing on a pile of rocks. Actually on topf of the biggest one, way over the high tide mark (we were sailing by at low tide). Even though we were far away, about 200m, some got nervous and quickly made their way down into the water. Haha, so funny.
Then yesterday we drove up in beautiful weather from the outside of Swindle Island to Princess Royal Island. We did not move today. This is our try to find white bears. Or bears at all. Only few salmon have been seen. Our problem is this beautiful summer. It has hardly rained here in BC. Everything is really dry, even the evergreen trees turn red and yellow. The bush and trees with leaves loose their leaves all ready due to them being dry. They went from green to brown and off to the floor. One spark would burn down whole BC. That means the rivers and creeks have now water. That means the salmon can't get up there - or can't even find their home creek as there is little fresh water mixing into the ocean water. Maybe sometimes not enough to guide the salmon the way. Here and there we see some jumping outside. Or even here in the river. But they are mostly already changed to spawning and dying state- so they don't taste good anymore- or are so rare out there you can't catch them. In the past three weeks Marcus was only able to catch two. Seems like the season is over. But we keep trying. We had a good tip a week ago, but he had to drive down to Port Hard to deliver crew. So we could not get to that spot and now it's probably too late. But, we'll pass by there anyways in a couple of days.

So far so good. It was great to NOT move Alita for a day. All I did was drive around in the Kajak and in the Dinghy. At night I was able to record some strange calls. No animal I know, so it sounded like little bears whining. I'll have to find out. A super echo amplified their cry. Stupid crows disturbed the silence a lot. When they talk - and they do most of the time- you can't hear anything else. That's called sound pollution.

22.09.2018

Whale firework

Back at the inside passage of British Columbia we entered into a bay at Royal Princess Island where there were supposed to be white bears. Well, unfortunately we did not see them- but at least we could have. The passage into that bay was very tricky. We had to wait for 100% slack time, meaning the change between the tides where tue water does not flow in either direction for very few minutes. I had to go up to the rapids with the Dinghy and check the situation and wait for the water to calm down- which was not until 1hr40min later. Finally it was calm enough that I went through with the Dinghy and gave thumbs up for Marcus to drive Alita through the narrow channel, which still had quite a current going but not dangerous anymore. Once through a beautiful bay opened up to us with ling inlets. It took us another hour to get to the actual anchoring spot. The beauty was that finally we did not only see forest but also rocky mountains. Beautiful and smooth rock, I guess granite. Ve
ry similar to Patagonia/ Tierra del fuego.
We left there yesterday with the same procedure, hanging out in front of the narrow waiting to be able to get through in the other direction. This time I did not have to go in the Dinghy first.
We continued our path to the next hot springs once we entered the Inside Passage. And then we received a whale fireworks. How so? We saw a bunch of whales and all of a sudden, while our friends had already given up waiting for them and I was still sitting there knowing they'd come back, one started breaching, into my picture. And then the next one breached and the next one. They kept taking turns in breaching, for a couple of minutes. That was truly crazy. Very beautiful to see against the sunlight- difficult for photography. But just amazing. Our friends of course got their cameras out again and we shot side by side, hoping to get a good one. I haven't looked at the pictures yet, but I am sure I got something.
Continuing our way towards the springs we came across another bunch of whales, further away, and one also decided to breach a couple of times. Just so beautiful to watch. This morning as we just left in the sunrise the whales were still hanging out here in the bay, showing us their blow and tales in the morning light. A moment to treasure and never forget.
We're gonna continue the Inside Passage towards Vancouver Island now. Lots of miles every day.

Another highlight of course were the hot springs again. We soaked ourselves last night in the sunset, before we went over to the boat we were tied up to, Nomad. We were last tied up in a package in Elfin Cove. Early this morning all except Marcus got up in the crystal clear night, beautiful clear and cold starry night, we soaked again in candlelight. That was truly amazing. Upon our return to Alita, at 6.45, we took off and are now on the way again.