Tansy Crosses Hecate Strait

Dawn after the trip is well underway

Tansy, and her favourite photographer, had never taken a boat, not even a ferry, across Hecate Strait to or from Haida Gwaii. So, they were thrilled to help transit the Passing Cloud across the Strait to the BC’s Central Coast where she will be doing Great Bear Rainforest tours for the fall.

The crossing started at 3am, and anchor was not dropped until 10:30 that night, about 240 km to the south-east.

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Passing Cloud’s track in the week that included the crossing.

There wasn’t enough wind to sail, but the seas were calm and the progress was steady, interrupted by sightings of interesting wildlife.

Lion’s Mane Jelly

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Herring Gull

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Sunfish (Mola mola)

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Pigeon Guillemot

 

Run away! Pigeon Guillemot

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Fin Whale

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Humpback Whale

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Minke Whale

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The rarest sighting was not caught by the camera due to it diving as soon as the skipper throttled the engine back. It was a basking shark, a species never before seen by Tansy or the First Mate, and not seen since the early 1980s by either the Captain or photographer. What a thrill!

Basking sharks are huge filter feeders, consumers of plankton, that spend a lot of time floating just below the surface, with only the dorsal fin visible. In our part of the world they are extremely rare after sustained campaigns to eradicate them because of ignorant and false beliefs about their impact on commercial fisheries.

Whitesided Dolphins – probably more than 150 of them

The sudden disappearance of the shark was soon forgotten when Tansy spotted a large pod of Whitesided Dolphins. She was completely mesmerized when some came to play on the pressure wave under the bow. They played for for 10 or 20 minutes, which seemed like forever.

Mesmerized

Watch the video below (click on it) to see the dolphins playing under the bow.

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Captain Lawson has posted a slow motion video of these dolphins on his instagram (here) if you are interested.

In between wildlife sightings Tansy and the crew absorbed the huge sky with a 360 degree horizon in the middle of the Strait and wonderful ever-changing cloud formations.

 

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Surveilled

We were surveilled from overhead by a low flying aircraft belonging to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

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Finally the mainland came into view

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And we were treated to a spectacular sunset which came to a gradual climax bathing the Passing Cloud in golden light.

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The stabilizer sail was taken down and we found a safe anchorage.

Lowering the Foresail

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It was a long day, but one Tansy will always remember.

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This link is for a map that shows the location of Hecate Strait.

Please click here to see the website of Outer Shores Expeditions and for views of Passing Cloud, which was Tansy and her favourite photographer’s home for nearly three weeks…

Passing Cloud is over on the BC Central Coast at the moment, click here to see where she is right now!

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10 thoughts on “Tansy Crosses Hecate Strait

  1. Had never been sailing across a strait before…thank you soooooooo much for taking me!!!!! Like Tansy, I am not about to forget!!!!

  2. Simply mesmerizing! The photo of dusk over the sea looks like a blanket of snow in the sky. I’ve never seen a sunfish and am so appreciative to see this photo…and I can just imagine the thrill it must have been to spot that basking shark. These photos are so amazing.

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