It's a sunset paddle Lisa Brougham will never forget.
The Bowen Islander was out on her paddle board Sunday evening, headed on her usual paddle out from Tunstall Bay, when she stopped to take a photo of the stunning sunset. But instead of focusing in on the golden clouds around Worlcombe Island, Brougham found herself filming a humpback whale that had come up alongside her.
"It was a surprise — exhilarating, humbling and got my heart rate up for sure!" Said Brougham in an email. "I found out after, all my neighbours were watching me from their decks in awe and worried about me — it got so close to me!"
The local gymnastics coach was also on a really tippy, skinny race paddle board — "So I was happy I stayed on my board and didn't drop my phone!" (Though she has lost a phone or two to the ocean in the past.)
After taking her video, Brougham decided to head back to land.
"The whale kept following me as I paddled back and also a school of dolphins went zooming right beside me, just to add to the excitement!"
As she returned to land, Brougham thinks there were a couple of whales that came right into Tunstall Bay.
Humpbacks elicit particular delight on Bowen Island as for many years, the baleen whales didn't visit Átl’ka7tsem / Howe Sound. Following restoration efforts in the sound, they returned in 2008. Ever since, islanders and sounders have tracked their regular return to these waters.