Whale Watching tour from the lodge

Grizzly bears are the “stars” of the lodge but time is spent looking for marine “wildlife” in the water off the East Coast of Vancouver Island. We normally manage to find eagles, orca, sealions, seals, dolphins, and humpback whales. All this and still time for a stop in Telegraph Cove to use the facilities and maybe grab a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.

Photos by 

Bruce & Carole Cripps 11-11




Grizzly Bears Searching for Early Salmon

These two Grizzlies are investigating the shallow waters of the lower river, near the estuary.  Grizzly Bears have an exceptional sense of smell and when the first salmon begin to arrive they take notice.  The exact timing of the arrival of the Pink Salmon varies a bit year to year, but by August there are generally some fish heading up the river to spawn.

Calm Mornings on the Water

One of the benefits of our location is that we are protected from the open ocean and the big swells.  We do get afternoon winds in the summer, but more often than not the mornings are nice and calm.  Thanks Tom for this great picture of a peaceful morning on the water at Sailcone

Pacific White Sided Dolphins Following Boat

No matter where we are going at Sailcone’s Grizzly Bear Lodge, the guides are always keeping their eyes open for wildlife.  This could be a Black Bear on the way to view Grizzlies, an eagle family or in this case a group of Pacific White Sided Dolphins.  These dolphins are common in our area and it is not unusual to spot them in large groups.  They are incredibly intelligent and often come to us for a closer look.

Killer Whales Resting

killer whale young playingIt is mid morning on Johnstone Strait and we came upon a pod of what appeared to be orca resting. I am not sure that I would call this resting as most of the time seemed to have been spent playing. This pod of orca took more than an hour to move a hundred meters (yards). The adults would drift with the current while the young spy hopped, tail slapped and rolled on their backs. Fantastic viewing and I even saved on fuel.

Mother Grizzly With Four Cubs

Grizzly bears are slow reproducers and litters of one to three cubs are the norm.  In the last several years, however we have been lucky to witness three separate mothers with four cubs.  It is a true testament to the availability of food in the area.

Patience Pays Off

This photo is taken up at Rick’s on the Kakweiken River.  Sometimes the best approach to wildlife viewing is to find a good spot and wait quietly.  Often this pays off and by remaining quiet and fairly still the bears don’t feel threatened and tend to go about their business.  We keep out group sizes small at the lodge which we feel aids in lowering our impact on the animals.

Whale Tail

Thanks to Felix (felixrome.smugmug.com/) for this photo of a rolling Humpback Whale cruising in Johnstone Strait.  A different perspective indeed.

humpback tail

Black Bear Mother and Cub Feeding

In the Knight Inlet area it is rare to see Black Bears feeding on salmon in the river.  The reason for this is that the Grizzly Bears are the dominant bears and push the black bears out of these prime areas.  The Black Bears tend to be more spread out and when the tide is low we often spot them rolling rocks on the beach looking for shore crab.

Orca off coastal Vancouver Island

Some photos capture the majesty of the orca. This is a large male coming for a closer look. Often the best approach to viewing marine life in the area between Vancouver Island and the mainland coast is to sit quietly in the boat with engine turned off and allow visitors approach. Lunchtime on a whale watching tour involves drifting and waiting. Photos by 


Peter Palstring 5-6