The One that Got Away

In a break in the weather yesterday the other half & I took the chance to go and see whether there were dipper at the waterfall, our principal pastime when checking the level of water in the ford has got old (see also: looking to see if the cottage that sells eggs has any eggs). The evening before we’d had a treat: a dipper had shown up and spent a good ten or fifteen minutes diving into the water off rocks and bringing up larvae to eat. This time, however, the other half had brought his big bird-scaring camera so the dipper wasn’t there, and we just stood and watched the water crashing down the waterfall instead.

And then suddenly we saw a fish: there and gone before I could even register it, right in the middle of the waterfall’s flow. I thought I’d imagined it until we saw another, and, after we had waited for a while, another and another and another. Salmon leaping up waterfalls is something I’ve read about, but until you see it, it’s hard to describe just how surreal and fundamentally unlikely the whole thing is. The waterfall in question isn’t all that high, probably about 20 feet in total. But compared to even the biggest salmon, it’s enormous, and there’s a boiling maelstrom of water at the bottom and more rapids to negotiate at the top. As we could see was the fish appearing, still pumping frantically with its tail, to glint in the light before it disappeared into the churning white water again. I don’t even know if any of them made it to the top.

I’d post a photograph, but all you’d get would be a picture of a waterfall where a few seconds before there had been a fish but there wasn’t one anymore. Maybe I’ll go down there again with a tripod and set up a timelapse and see if we don’t get lucky. Meanwhile, you’ll just have to believe me. I tell you, it was this big …

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5 Responses to The One that Got Away

  1. cha0tic says:

    “The waterfall in question isn’t all that high, probably about 20 feet in total.”

    Well I couldn’t jump twenty feet straight up, even without a few hundred Gallons of Water pouring down on me at the same time. So I’m impressed.

    Try Video and grabbing a frame from the film.

  2. disgruntled says:

    Michael Phelps couldn’t have done it. Well maybe…

    Video is not a bad idea, actually. May give that a go, if it ever stops raining

  3. Psychosplodge says:

    and i thought watching them jump 6 foot up a weir was impressive…

  4. Dom says:

    You need a camera like mine. 8 frames per second for a silly number of frames means you’re pretty much guaranteed to get any kind of action shot 😀 Only downside it it’s a little expensive.

  5. […] much for their unerring homing instinct,’ I said as we stood at the falls, watching the salmon leaping. Most of the fish were doing the textbook thing of heading up the waterfall for their home […]

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