In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau

Delirious happiness on the open ocean

We are Anne from Chemnitz and Claudia from Taucha and we stayed in Canada for 5 weeks. We would like to share some of our most exciting adventures with you. Enjoy! We are standing on the pier of Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, British Columbia. Jeff stands in front of us and with the help of a map explains where the objects of our desire are currently hanging out: in the waters of the United States, off the coast of San Juan Island. At the same time two young women help us into our gear: rain jackets with integrated lifejackets in size XL and larger, rain pants, hats, sunglasses and gloves. Around us are tourists, sunshine, chatter, and a lot of people standing in line for fish and chips… and this is where we start off for a wilderness adventure? Jeff, our guide, guarantees that we will experience something wonderful. We exchange skeptical glances, but the excitement is already in our bones. We get on the spacious motorboat and leave Victoria harbor. Then Jeff increases the power and we race at top speed and with a lot of noise over the water, past islands and large ships. “We have finally scared them all off,” we think to ourselves. The wind rushes through our hair and the ocean offers a peaceful contrast: It is calm and shines like silk in the light of the early evening. All of a sudden a black sword cuts through the surface of the water: just a quick moment, and then it is gone. The next loud puff breaks the excited silence, and they rise like shiny black mountains out of the sea: Orcas. They come up for air, then dive down, and glide majestically through the water. We watch the giants with unbelieving eyes. We are surrounded by about 35 killer whales which are apparently in a playful, fun mood. They offer a breathtaking show with jumps and fin-clapping. We wait, open-mouthed, for the next time one of the orcas shows its fin. One of the adolescents decides to dive under our boat, and resurfaces just a few centimeters from us. The guides tell us a lot about the lifestyle of the orcas. One of the cows is already 101 years old! The females live longer because all of the poisonous materials that they take in via the ocean water they are able to excrete through the mother’s milk again – to the detriment of their calves. The males have no similar valve for these dangerous substances that humans have left in their habitat. It is also fascinating that the males are real “mamma’s boys”: They stay near their mothers for their whole lives. They only leave for a short time to mate, and only rarely do they go off on their own or join other males in a group. I am not upset that my camera quits after a while. I can get over the impulse to hold onto everything in photographs, and enjoy the overwhelming impressions of the moment, pure and simple, rather than through the lens. It is difficult to explain why seeing these animals in the wild is such a moving experience. But “delirious happiness” is probably the best way to describe it.  

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