September 04, 2012 | Tips from Travellers >
Comox, Science, Nature or Animals
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As I tugged my wetsuit over my legs and my partner grabbed the camera gear from the trunk of the car, he glanced over my shoulder towards the water.
"We're being watched."
I turned, expecting to see someone on the beach, but all was still. Most of the beachcombers were on the other side of Goose Spit, a sandy finger of land that juts out into Comox Bay on the east coast of Vancouver Island. We, however, needed calm water for our underwater photography, and we were the only people on the protected side.
"No, look out farther,"; he replied quietly.
I raised my sightline a few feet offshore. There, a glossy black dome with two puppy-dog eyes and trembling silver whiskers bobbed on the surface: a harbour seal.
We were close enough to hear the whisper of her breath on the water. Under her curious study, we checked the camera, strapped on weight belts, and adjusted our masks. She watched us until we stepped into the bay. Then, she dropped out of sight, as quiet as a ghost.
We filmed jellies, crabs and fish, but while I was quite aware of her presence around us, we never saw the seal again. I caught glimpses of motion out of my peripheral vision as we dove. She flitted through the murky depths like a shadow, watching us fumble in her aquatic home.
Sometimes, on the BC Coast, it can feel like you're a million miles from civilization. But our silent friend provided us with a poignant reminder: whether on land, in the forests, or on the sea, you're never really alone.