It doesn't take much to get a sleepy little seaside place like Crofton excited. As Eddie and I strolled along the seawalk in front of the RV park full of campers this Victoria Day long weekend, I noticed every single camper had binoculars raised, gazing out across Osborne Bay.
I didn't have binoculars. I didn't have my big camera. I only had the pocket one, and all I could see was some blobs on the water. And then......a huge splash!
Whales! We had killer whales in our little bay, diving and breaching and spurting their way through the waters as they headed north. Chatting with the campers, I discovered the whale pod had been swimming through Sansum Narrows and Osborne Bay for nearly ninety minutes, about twenty of them so far. Even the ferry from Crofton to Salt Spring Island had to stop running to let them pass.
After kicking myself for being poky this morning (I usually do my walk a good hour earlier than I did today), I practically dragged poor Eddie home, grabbed the big camera and ran down to the docks. Sadly, they had almost all passed through. But over towards Shoal Island was a cluster of little boats and kayakers (no doubt stressing the whales and risking being dunked in the ocean), and some careful focussing and zooming allowed me to capture this rather fuzzy image:
The whales were the talk of the town, and I sure hope we see more of these beautiful mammals in our waters again soon. An old timer, watching me watching the whales this morning, tells me they used to be here often in the days before a causeway was built from the mill to Shoal Island for the log sort. In those days - as recently as the 1980s - our beaches were pristine white, long stretches of amazing sands like Parksville and Tofino still enjoy, beaches that people from all over the island came to for picnics and swimming, Now long stretches are grey and mucky.
Perhaps the return of the whales is a good sign, a sign that slowly industry is becoming more environmentally responsible. I sure hope so.