I was all mentally prepared for the boat trip this afternoon but weirdly despite there being no wind the Captain said the waves were too big so that's off the menu. Instead we went to photograph Blakiston's Owl, the largest living fish owl and on the endangered list with only about 120 left on Hokkaido.
Well, at 4.15pm we arrived at a ramshackle hut that doubles as a 'restaurant' (for locals), with plastic roll up windows, to secure our spot only to find several other loads of photogs had beaten us to it. Eventually we all found adequate, if somewhat snug, possies and began arranging tripods and setting the cameras to the right tech specs. We would be shooting under floodlights about 150-200m away so needed the highest ISO as possible, lens wide open and the speed only 1/80th of a second - apparently that was because the floodlights pulsed at that speed. The owner of the ramshackle hut put fish into a little pond in the river around 5ish before it got dark.
And so we waited… and we waited… and we waited. The little bugger obviously decided to dine elsewhere and we eventually gave up at 8pm. It was extremely cold. Although we were in a hut all the sides were open to allow unobstructed viewing access. When we arrived back at the hotel I could not face a 6-9 dish meal so I warmed up in the onsen and am having a snack in my room as I type.
And we got the "real" story about the cancelled trip this afternoon. Apparently the boats went into Russian territory this morning so the Captains en masse decided not to risk doing it again in the afternoon as it's very likely they'll do it again tomorrow.