This photo shows that orcas exhibit dramatic coloring, with glossy black upper surfaces and brilliant white bellies. Appearing lighter from below and darker from above this allows the Orca to blend into the ocean environment and camouflage itself from prey. Even the top ocean predator need to be able to appear invisible while hunting.
Whale watching trips from the lodge will often eat their picnic lunches on the water. Sitting quietly becomes a time for excellent viewing of the surrounding marine life. Humpback whales are very cautious is an area with boats traveling likely because they cannot be sure of their direction of travel or any sudden change that may occur. But we have found that by sitting quietly while other tour boats are returning to exchange their guests we are able to enjoy close up wildlife viewing.
The grizzly bear viewing platforms used by the lodge provide variety of viewing opportunities. The finger stand is located between the natural river and the entrance to the spawning channel. The grizzlies walk up and down the river using it as a path between various fishing spots. They also move to the other side of the stands, which is the holding s area for the salmon, before they move on to spawn in the man made spawning beds. These two grizzly siblings are on the river side of the viewing platform but are keeping a close eye on a mother and cubs that just passed behind the stands to fish in the holding pool. Sub-adults are always careful of mothers with cubs and will stay back while they are in the area.
The northern resident (fish eating) orca in our whale watching area number more than two hundred and fifty individuals. This community consists of 3 clans (A, G and R) and numerous pods within each clan. The individual pods seem to contain less than a dozen members but will often join together to travel in larger groups. The killer whales viewed behind our boat were part of a larger group that was in front. It is best to avoid being in the middle of the group of orca but it is not possible to control their action as pods split off to travel alone.
In early June on grizzly bear trips up Knight Inlet from the lodge the grizzlies and their cubs are found along the shore. The mothers bring their five and six month old cubs to the beach as they are in search of the protein made up of crab, clams, barnacles, amphipods and other tiny invertebrates they can find under beach rocks. The many types of berries are not ripe and the only other protein is sedge grass that grown in the river estuaries. The cubs do turn rocks and graze on the grass but they also like to climb and play. This cub spent a good twenty minutes attaching this small tree on the stump.
The classic photograph for an orca is breaching. All of the books on marine mammals have numerous pictures of killer whales and most of them are breaching. I would assume that the photographers have spent hundreds of hours on the water and countless pictures of splashed. Guest coming to Grizzly Bear Lodge expect that this will be the case when they go on a whale watching safari to the whale watching area in Johnstone Strait. The truth of the matter is that although we do see breaching orca on a reasonably regular basis it is not easy to get a photo especially a good photo. For some reason orca do not announce their intention to breach and do not repeated breaches so you can be prepared to get that clear focus.
Sometime on the evening of the arrival day guest will go on a local wildlife tour. It may be before or after diner depending on the tide. The object of the tour is to find black bears on the beach and that means there needs to be a low tide to have a beach for the bears. It tour is an hour or so depending on the wildlife viewing. It allows the guest to become familiar with the guides and boats and to gain some experience of photographing from a boat.
The grizzly bear viewing in October is from a platform on the Knight Inlet’s Glendale River. It is a large, raised; covered stand that overlooks the natural river as well as the entrance to the man made spawning channel. The view of this bear is on the riverside about seven meters (yards) below the railing of the platform. Grizzly bears frequently pass by the edge of the stands when moving from the river into the spawning channel entrance.
Great photo of a humpback whale into its dive but would not work for identification. The whale watching companies in the viewing area used by Grizzly Bear Lodge are constantly trying to determine which whales are in the area. Whale identification requires a clear photo of the underside of the tail to view the patterns of white and black as well as all the nicks and scars.