An early morning and exceptionally yummy “continental breakfast on steroids” (as Madelin put it), was called for prior to our first full day out on the water today. Almost as soon as we got to the large meal table, Glenn was on hand to inform myself, David and Valda that we were scheduled to make our first trip up river to the “Glendale Cove” the reliable spot for Grizzly Bear viewing in the area. Ueli and Katja, on the other hand, were headed north from the lodge with their guide Brook, to a spot called Thompson Sound, to meet some character named “Trapper Rick”. I’m not 100% sure what that’s all about yet, but we’ll find out tomorrow as the scheduled destinations are swapped for the two parties.
While blue skies would usually be the desired conditions out on the water, I was actually pretty happy to note that it was somewhat overcast. “Happy?” I hear you ask? Well let’s put it this way, the less sun, the more even the light for photography, and the better the chance I was going to be able to protect myself from sunburn over the course of a full day on the water.
Once we were under full motor and heading eastwards towards Glendale Cove we noticed that we were definitely heading into improved weather. The way the light and clouds were playing out in front of us as we traveled was quite beautiful and we were even lucky enough to pass right through a full rainbow… “what does that mean…?” Haha!
While cruising along the Strait of Georgia, Glenn happened to notice out of the corner of his eye (it’s technically his job to do so, after all) a “blow” from a couple of transient Orca (Killer Whales). These were definitely on my “must-see” list for the trip so I was happy when he dramatically diverted course in a bid to track them down and get us a bit of a closer look.
The whole exercise wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be as the pair of traveling whales were proving to be quite elusive, but I did manage to capture one shot from a fair distance. While nothing special, you can still see enough to be able to tell what they are, so even if we don’t see any more this trip (really hoping to see a large pod in a couple of days time), then I can still tick the Orca box.
Rounding the last point into Glendale Cove, Glenn turned to David, Valda and I and told us that it was from this point on that we should be keeping a sharp eye out for grizzlies. He mentioned that the large nearby “Knight Inlet Lodge” would be sending out boat loads of people within the hour, so we’d be best to find some bears before the traffic arrived.
This had me paying attention quick smart, so I made sure that my camera was switched on with the right long lens attached and started surveying the shorelines around us. We didn’t have to wait long.
As if by appointment, the first small bay we cruised by I spotted a couple of dark furry shapes moving on the shoreline. Glenn cut the motor and we glided to within 20-30 meters of the beach where mother “Roll” and her cub “Peanut” (regulars to this beach so we were told) were foraging for shellfish. Every couple of meters, the grizzlies would turn large rocks in a bid to find some kind of tasty morsel beneath. It was quite amazing to see the ease with which even Peanut would turn some of the huge rocks that would have caused quite the challenge for the average man. Amazing!
We stuck with Roll and Peanut for a good 45 minutes to an hour only leaving once they made their way up and off the beach and the boats from “Knight Inlet Lodge” arrived. Obviously I was hoping for many more encounters over the course of the next few days, but this was a truly special moment for all of us in the boat.
Glenn had this cheeky grin on his face knowing that his job for the day was technically done as we had spent some really quality time with a couple of bears already, but he pressed on promising us more Grizzlies to come! That was AOK by me!
Traveling further up into Glendale Cove, the water became shallow enough to warrant us switching to a flat bottomed skiff the lodge had tied up on a floating dock that appeared to be shared by a number of tour operators in the area. We switched to the smaller boat and set off heading towards the sedge grass fields where Glenn expected to find more grizzlies.
Sure enough, as we approached the grassed area, we spotted another mother bear, this time with two adorable cubs. The two infants wrestled playfully as mum fed on the lush grass, always keeping an eye on her two little ones.
The abundance of wildlife in the cove beyond the grizzlies was just awesome. While sitting close to shore observing the three bears in the shots above, there was a Blue Heron stalking around in the shallow waters to our left. This astute fisherman managed to pluck a number of small fish from the water as we watched – also an impressive display.
We continued to cruise around the sedge grass wetland for another couple of hours before lunch spotting some deer, more blue heron and a lot more playful activity from the three grizzlies we had just found. Following are a number of images I took during these couple of memorable hours.
Back at the lodge in the evening, rain began to fall outside but we were more than happy diving into yet another amazing meal prepared by the magical maestro of the kitchen, Madelin. A three course feast consisting of salad, fresh salmon, steamed vegetables and cheesecake for desert was the perfect setting for a session of spirited conversation as David, Valda and I swapped stories of the days adventures with Ueli and Katja.
As mentioned at the top of this post, tomorrow we’re off to meet “Trapper Rick” who, if Ueli and Katja are to be believed, is a real character indeed. Looking forward to it!