|Grey whale off English Bay seawall - photo by VPD Marine Unit|
There's nothing like a whale to stop Vancouverites dead in their tracks and take their minds off the high cost of housing, a boring Federal election, and the incessant beeping of their smart phones. Mind you the phones were quickly put into gear taking photos, texting, and calling everyone to come and see the latest wonder in paradise. It was a warm and sunny afternoon, the last day of September and the seawall was full of folks enjoying another perfect day.
|Vancouverites watching the grey whale in English Bay - photo by Junie Quiroga|
|Vancouverites following the grey whale along the seawall - photo by Junie Quiroga|
For some reason this whale has taken a shine to the Vancouver harbour and has been spotted along the beach in West Vancouver, in and around Coal Harbour, and all along the Stanley Park seawall over the past week or so. It also likes to stay close to shore for some reason, which makes it easy for everyone to follow its progress. Whether it's the same whale that appeared earlier in the summer, or is one of the many passing through on their annual road trip between Alaska and California that detours here for a pit stop and some tasty munchies hasn't been determined, but grey whale sightings seem to be a more common occurrence these past few years.
|Grey whale in English Bay - photo by Junie Quiroga|
Hard to believe we nearly hunted these creatures to extinction back in the day when we refined their blubber into oil to light our lamps and make soap. Vegetable oil and electricity have saved the day and the grey whales, along with the humpback whales and others, are making a dramatic comeback, in spite of Japan, Norway, and Iceland, that continue to defy the worldwide whaling ban that went into effect in 1986. While the whales are normally spotted off the west coast of Vancouver Island they are frequently now making their way into the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait) as they seek to re-establish old migration routes.
|Grey whale tucking into bed at sunset in English Bay - photo by Junie Quiroga|
It's been 5 years since I started writing this blog after suggesting to the local papers they write a column about the waterfront and was told there wasn't enough material to write about or readers that would be interested. Our waterfront is connected in so many ways to all the things in life that really matter and I've always found something of interest to write about, averaging over one posting per month and 1,500 readers around the world logging in.
When I went for my swim this morning the whale was waiting for me, having spent a comfortable night sleeping in our cozy bay, and I couldn't believe I had such a magnificent swimming partner to start my day with. A little intimidating when he got too close but otherwise magical. I think I'll name him Stanley. Another day in paradise.