Sunday 25th August 2019 – WE HAD OUR …

… first engagement with the ukelele today. During the evening’s recap different groups had to give a discussion about what they had learnt the other day, so we gave a rousing performance of “You Are My Sunshine”.

Unfortunately no-one passed around the hat, but then again that wasn’t a surprise because we are a long way from meriting it, but the Icey Arm 6 are on the road!

This was another night where I didn’t sleep as well as I would have liked, but then no-one is complaining because we had the “everyone up on the starboard bow” call. Sure enough, there on the bank at the side of Buchan Fiord was Mummy Polar Bear with baby. Too far away to be spectacular but we could see them quite clearly and take photographs.

The downside of all of this is that the bear and her cub were wandering about right where our landing site was to be in Icey Arm. She was there first so we had to leave and look for someone else. My suggestion that we make a list of passengers without whom this cruise would operate more smoothly and send them ashore on the first zodiac as bait was met with disdain

While we were turning round to look for another site I checked my photos. And to say that I was disappointed was an understatement. I resolved to speak to the photography guy but we were interrupted by the most magnificent set of cliffs that you could ever wish to see. Called “Executioner’s Cliffs”, they were over 1000 feet high and vertical. Marc the geologist and I spent a very happy hour or so examining the rocks and we even identified a volcanic cone.

That session too was interrupted. A pod of narwhals decided to join in the fun and while we couldn’t see their tusks we could see them cavorting about – after a fashion because once more I wasn’t up to the task with the photos.

After lunch, I button-holed the photographer. We adjusted one or two settings on the camera to improve the quality of the colour of the photo, but there wasn’t much that we could do about the lack of sharpness. Shaking about happens to everyone of a certain age and it’s nothing to do with the camera either.

He suggested that I ramp up the ISO to about 6400 – to let in plenty of light. Then, go for the widest aperture possible when taking telephoto shots – and then go for speed on the shutter. My camera had a capability of 1/8000 and that is what I should be aiming for, if you excuse the pun.

So I tried it, and for the first time in an age I managed to take a really good photo of a bird in flight from a distance. Some of the images are still not as good as I would like, but a rolling ship is not a very good photography platform. I can’t wait to get onto dry land and give it a go.

But one thing that I suppose that I ought to mention is that it’s not a case that the quality of my work is deteriorating. Far from it. it’s that being around other people, many of whom are professional photographers, I’m realising that my work has been rubbish all along and I’ve never felt the urge to work on my technique and improve it.

This evening at the recap we had our performance, and I’ve taken a ukelele to bed with me. I’m determined to have a good crack at it over the next week.

But not tonight. I’m off to bed. It’s a busy day tomorrow as we are heading to Dundas Harbour and the abandoned RCMP post there. But the bad news is that Rachel the Archaeologist tells us that we have a representative of the Canadian Parks Archaeological Service on board the vessel so everything is being done “by the book’.

No informality with the rules and that’s going to cramp my style an awful lot.

And we didn’t step ashore today at all.

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