Today we took a boat tour at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, which is home to a very large population of pelagic seabirds. We had planned to take this trip next week in celebration of our 12th anniversary as a couple but today was such a beautiful day we decided not to let it slip by without doing something outside.
This trip was the obvious thing to do and I can tell you it was awesome, the sea was a bit rough at times but that’s all part of the fun I suppose.
The skipper’s first stop was a beauty of an iceberg in Witless Bay itself, we circled it for a minute or two while the staff explained where it had come from and I braced myself against the ships rails to take pictures of it. It was very hard to get steady shots because of the waves, but I managed to get away with some nice wide and tight shots. Here’s one of the wide shots where you can see the surroundings as well:
After this first berg we made a close pass by the islands; approaching Gull Island the sky was soon swarming with puffins, which had been merrily swimming in front of the cliffs but had to make way for us…
The iceberg was hard enough to photograph from the erratically swaying vessel but these flying puffins proved even more challenging. I only had my 105mm manual focus lens with me for the bird shots so unfortunately it was all up to me. Still, I managed to catch a few of them in flight:
The Atlantic puffins have a huge colony on the Witless Bay islands, we were told that they number in the hundreds of thousands here. They burrow deep into the island where they lay a single egg. You can see some of the burrows in the background of this shot.
The above shots are just small parts of the entire frame, I had to crop most of the shot out as the birds were flying about 20 metres off; on a 105mm lens that results in a very small bird. I’ve ordered a big tele lens so next time I’ll have closer bird shots, although that’s not the reason I’m getting the lens.
On the way back to Bay Bulls harbour we passed another iceberg, this one was huge and had a very smooth surface. Again we circled it for a few minutes and we both got a good look at it, it had lots of blue ice veins which offered some great photo compositions up close.
After the boat trip, we enjoyed dinner and a movie to finish this beautiful day in style.