Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bowhead Whale The Story

It started with the phone ringing.

Then Michele hollering to get the camera there's a whale in the Inlet. Less then two minutes later we were in the car and heading to the shore. I always keep my camera and gear ready to go because there usually isn't much time to react and plan for events like this.

Once we got there I noticed my battery indicator was showing low battery. No need to panic I always have two fully charged extra batteries with me. With a somewhat smug smile on my face I reached into the camera bag for one of the extra batteries and put it in the camera. I got about 20 feet from the vehicle and was getting the focus set and checking the settings when the battery indicator light started showing low battery again. Now my gut clenches and the smug smile disappears so quick it may never had been there. With a feeling of dread I get the other battery and put it in the camera. Ah utopia this battery is full. Luckily this was the only scary event of the evening.

When arriving at the shore we were met by several others to wait with anticipation for the appearance of the whale. Across the Inlet a rippling in the water and the dark, sleek back of the whale breaks the surface of the water with a spray of exhaled air. The surprise and shouts of wonder came next as a second smaller version broke the surface beside the first. A mother whale with her calf.

The whales sank down and everyone was speculating on where they would surface again. One older Inuk said they would be circling and heading back out of the Inlet. Sure enough both showed again just down the shore from us. The boats gave a nice contrast on how big the whales are. The same Inuk told me to be patient they always surface at least three times before going under for a long period of time. He was correct rewarding us with more photo opportunities.

Some were speculating the reason they came into the Inlet was to escape the harassment of a pod of Orcas (Killer Whales). Even though the mother whale is too big for them the baby would be fair game. They would tire the couple out and when the calf could go no further they would use their bodies to force the calf down to drown it. There may be truth to this theory because the two whales were staying very close to shore and were following the line of the island on their way back to the Davis Straight before going on to the Fox Basin. Lets hope the Orcas didn't catch them. I kind of hoped they were just chasing food.

After the whales went under everyone returned to what they were doing before the word went out. Michele and I figured if they were going back out then they have to go by the Park to exit. Back in the vehicle in a tear to get to the park. The whales don't seem to move very fast but after watching them circle the Inlet we knew they would be at the park soon. It was at the park in our ankle breaking pace down the rocks to get closer to the shore that we viewed them on the surface again. This is were I also got the photos of the mother whale with her tail above the water. This was the only time they did it and Michele and I were alone to witness it.

The next time the two surfaced was right in front of us. I had to wait for them to swim off a bit before I could take clear photos. They were so close that I couldn't get my telephoto lens focused on them. What an experience to hear the snorting whoosh of the exhaled breath and the splashing of the water as they surfaced and dove. I even manged to get a photo of the calf blowing air. Not easy given how dark it was getting by now.

Our screams of delight must have been heard back in the Hamlet because soon after a couple of trucks showed up disgorging people everywhere. They arrived just in time to see the whales just as they came across the island still following the shore. It was the last time they surfaced within sight. I certainly hope to have this opportunity again.

What a wonderful evening.

Bowhead Whale

It's been a magical night.
More over the next couple of days as I go through the 150 photos that I've taken. I couldn't wait that long and had to post at least one photo before going to bed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This past weekend we were out and seen some seals in the water. Of course I didn't have my camera with me and by the time we got back out with it they had gone. So instead I got a couple of photos of a seagull. I must look bad because I can't get birds to look in my direction when I have a camera. Is there a type of whistle or gesture I can use to get them to look back at me?

I'm getting better at the manual focus.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Arctic Wolf Spider Revisited

When it rains it pours. After trying to get good shots of the Arctic Wolf Spider for a couple of years, in the space of a week I've managed to get several good shots. The first photo below is a shot from above and in front of the spider but the second one is the cool one.
I originally thought I had a bunch of ruined photos. I got to excited when the spider came over the rim of a small pit and he stopped making for a great photo. But due to my excitement and the swarms of harassing mosquito's I didn't notice the grass in front of the spider. Ever photo has a purplish V in front of the spider. I was just closing the last photo when I noticed how clear the front of the Wolf spider was and after zooming and cropping I got the shot below.
Just look at the two big eyes and four little eyes below and the two grabbing and tearing mandibles. No doubt about it now this is an Arctic Wolf Spider.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

First Sealift

The first sealift of the season came in this weekend. There is a huge pile of crates and seacans on the beach. We won't be getting our sealift until the last ship of the season this year.
Cute little tugboat snuggling up to mother ship.

Summer Flowers V

Lots of fireweed around.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Flowers IV

I don't know the names but I do like the looks.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Flowers III

I have to get a Macro lens.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Flowers II

I found this fellow all alone.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Arctic Wolf Spider

Over the last three years I've seen this type of spider several times but I either don't have a camera or they run off to quick for me to get a photo. I finally got lucky a couple of days ago and got one in a photogenic mood. I believe it is an Arctic Wolf Spider but please correct me if I'm wrong. This was the best photo I got before the spider disappeared. I think Michele thought me wrong in the head when all she could see was me taking photos of pebbles and then me yelling out in excitement. The spider is about the size of a Canadian nickle. Wish I could have got a shot from the front.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Flowers

Summer is here and so are all the pretty flowers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Like Father Like Son

My Mom took the photo below of Dad and me leaning on the railing at the Government of Nunavut building in Cape Dorset. Now your first thought may be look at the lazy government employees but this photo was taken at about 10 minutes left to go at lunch. So the next question logically would be why are we leaning on the railing? Well we both left to eat lunch at Dad and Moms apartment and left our jackets behind with our keys in them. We had to wait for someone to come along and unlock the door for us. Yep like Father like Son.

Note. The little guy is Dad.
On the Maxim magazines top 100 feared men of all time, Dad's ranked in at 38th. What shriveled up old Bastard can still put the fear of God in you.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Duck Eggs

Michele had the opportunity to go boating with friends and she came back with some duck eggs. Mom used some of them to make donuts and after several taste tests they do taste different than using eggs from the store. But in a good way. An Inuk friend told Michele to try eating a couple after they have been frozen. Apparently it is like eating ice cream.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Away With Thee

The ice is finally on it's way out and the photo below shows all that is left. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that we will have the icebergs and smaller pieces blow back in this year. Last year it was amazing.

*Update* - When I got up this morning all the ice was gone. It has been 15C three days in a row but the mosquito's are starting to arrive.

An Evening at the Park

Before Michele left to see family in the south we spent an evening at the Park. Photos below.

If I wanted to spend the time I could have made the sky blue.
Runoff is everywhere and makes nice designs in the sand and mud. Luckily I like to play in both. I had taken about 20 photos of Michele on the swings at this point. This was her telling me the next boot won't miss.
Zoom Zoom

Ice, Ice Baby

Finding funny or witty post titles is starting to become a bit of a stretch. Photos below are just different photos of ice from the last couple of weeks.

This ice looked like tiny ice cubes.

Plants were starting to force themselves through the snow a couple of weeks ago. There is only patches of snow left now that the temperature is starting to stay in the 10-15C range.

You can still see lots of ice floating around. This little chunk was floating around Dead Dog Lake a week ago.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Parental Units

Those of you that follow our blog know that both of my parents are now living and working in Cape Dorset. Some of the family are requesting more photos of them on the blog so here you go. Mom and Dad at Dead Dog Lake with Dad trying to be funny. Note the trying part.