The seal was swimming in the middle of the Strait of Georgia, the body of water that lies between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The Strait is about 25-30 kilometers wide, and the seal was right in the middle of the channel, a long way from land. It simply popped it's head above water and watched as the large ferry headed directly towards it. I was on the deck of the ship looking down. Just as it seemed we would bear down on it, the seal effortlessly ducked under the surface of the water and swam a few meters off to the side and then popped it's head out again, whiskers dripping wet, and looked up at the deck as the ferry sped past.
This happened also with a different seal in another part of the same crossing we were making between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay on the mainland.
While many people on the West Coast are used to these types of encounters with nature, this is still marvellously new to me. It's a thrill to find other forms of life coexisting with humans. It always serves as a reminder that we humans are but one player on this stage, only one aspect of a complex ecosystem.
Standing there on the deck of this gigantic steel machine, an intruder in the ocean world, we had a connection, that seal and I, that lasted just a few seconds. We looked at each other; but it was a moment that linked us as living beings - partners - on this planet we both call home.