Pacific Whitesides Dolphins Play

Pacific Whiteside Dolphins

“(Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) The Pacific white sided dolphin is very beautiful. They have a coloring that ranges from light to dark gray. The underside of them though is white. They also have dark black rings that cover both eyes. The beak is very small and often seems out of proportion with the rest of the body. One characteristic that you will notice is that the dorsal fin has a hook on the end of it. They aren’t very large though compared to other types of dolphins. Full grown they will be about 8 feet long. They will weight approximately 300 pounds.” Taken form the website Dolphins-World
The technical write up is interesting but cannot compare to the excitement of a pod of two or three hundred dolphins playing with our boat. They are on all sides of the boat playing in the bow wave as well as sticking their nose within a meter (yard) of the prop.

Grizzly Bear Viewing on the River

Grizzly Bears

As mentioned in yesterday’s post we do use a skiff to view bears on the Glendale River and in the river estuary. This photo is an example of me holding the boat against one side of the river while a mother grizzly bear and her two two-year old cubs walked down the other side. Needless to say the guests obtained some good photos and memories. One guest commented that he was close to the edge of “His comfort zone”. As shown by this picture the bears have NO interest in our presence as long as we do not block their progress down river. The key is to stay back out of the way and allow them free passage.

Bald Eagle Birdbath

Bald Eagle Bathing

This is the first time I have ever seen an eagle taking a bath. Logically I know that birds need to bath to stay clean but it was still a surprise to see an eagle in the river. The photo is not as clear as it should be but in my defense I was wading in the river towing the lodge’s sixteen-foot skiff that we use on our estuary tours. Using the skiff in the river permits close viewing of the grizzly bears as well as other interesting sites.

Good Fishing area for a Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear Eeating Salmon

This is the classic pose for a grizzly bear. The photo was taken from the viewing stands on the Glendale River in Knight Inlet BC. The late summer grizzly viewing, after August 24th, requires a short van ride (fifteen minutes) from a floating dock in the river estuary to the man made spawning channel. The grizzlies of the Knight Inlet area, which is on the southern edge of the Great Bear Rainforest come to this river to feed on the fall, run of spawning salmon. The day tours from our lodge on Minstrel Island use these viewing stands and often view more than a dozen different grizzly bears in the immediate area of the stands as well as grizzlies on the drive to the stands. If one looks closely in the water around the bear there are many salmon on their way to the spawning channel and the main reason the bears stay in this part of the river.

Humpback Whales Also Play

Humpback Whales at play

Over the past five years humpback whales have become more common in the area Grizzly Bear Lodge visits on whale watching days. The area close to Johnstone Straits between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia has become the summer home of more than twenty-five whales. The area has an abundant supply of herring and the whales come to feed and stay within our viewing area for a few days before moving in and out of nearby inlets. The whales start appearing in late May and there are whales all summer some days on six or eight but most days more than a dozen whales are lunge feeding and lobtailing in our viewing area. By the size of the pectoral fin it is clear that this is one of the calves that frequent and play in our viewing area.

Grizzly Triplets on a June Tour

Grizzly Bear and cubs

Grizzly Bear Lodge opens in late May or early June depending on the bookings. The grizzlies do not depend on booking and start to appear along the shore of Knight Inlet by mid-May. On the grizzly bear watching day guest leave the lodge at 8:00 and have an hour and fifteen minute boat ride up the inlet to the Glendale River estuary. Any time in the last twenty minutes or so of the ride it is possible to see grizzlies on the shore and the first hour likely black bear. This photo of mother and triplets was taken in the river estuary and at this early age the cubs stay pretty close to mom.

Grizzly Mother and Cub

Mother Grizzy Bear

A mother grizzly and her cub visit the viewing stands used by the lodge after August 24th.  The grizzly bears come to the area in the fall because of the abundance of spawning salmon in the river. This abundance allows the bears to feed and gain sufficient weight (140 to 180 kg, 300 to 400 lbs) to last through hibernation. The spring viewing occurs in the river estuary of Knight Inlet’s Glendale Cove where the bears feed on the sedge grass and protein found along the shore. This mother and first-year cub spent the summer along the shore and have recently moved up the river to bulk up for the winter.

A Break at Trapper Rick’s

Trapper Rick's

The extra day at the lodge includes a visit a very scenic and very wild area on a pristine river. The day will give you an opportunity to do a little wilderness fishing if you are so inclined, a little hiking and always a chance to see a grizzly bear. The view from the deck of “Trapper Rick’s” cabin is stunning. After some time up river and a short hike to Rick’s cabin a break was to just sit, chat and relax.

Sealions in the mist

Stellar Sealions

Not all photos require a sunny sky to be interesting. The stellar sealions pass through the area, between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, to and from Alaska in the spring and fall. They gather on the rocky shore in the area of Telegraph Cove by the hundreds to sun themselves and rest after feeding in our area before continuing their trip.  This area of BC’s coast is so rich in food for these marine mammals that several dozen in the past three years have started to stay all summer and not make the journey north.

An Abundance of Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bears  Too Many?

As a guide I do not have much opportunity to take pictures especially in the spring. Grizzly viewing takes place in the Glendale River estuary about an hour and fifteen minute boat ride up Knight Inlet from our lodge. On arrival we change boats to use a sixteen-foot skiff which allows us to travel up the river and along the shore in shallow water.  The “up river” portion of the day means that the guides are in the water pulling the skiff in the knee deep water and to minimize the noise. Pulling the skiff often means that my camera is in the back of the boat while I am at the front but on occasion I do manage to take a picture but not always of ALL the bears at once.