Humpback Whales Feeding

Lunge feeding whale



Humpback whales over the past seven years have become a common sight in our viewing area. Rather than traveling to the Alaskan waters to feed they are spending their summers along the southern coast of British Columbia. The colder, coastal waters attract the humpbacks because in the summer months the area is rich in prey, including small schooling fish such as herring, capelin, and pilchard, as well as krill. The whale will lunge through a shoal of prey with mouth gaping open often exploding at the surface with both food and water. They may eat up to 1,400 kg (3,000 lbs) of food a day.

Late Afternoon at the Lodge

Grizzly Bear Lodge

Most of the day trips from the Lodge return by 4:30, which leaves a couple of hours of down time before dinner. Guests congregate on the front deck, walk the beach, hike the trails behind the lodge or read in the sunshine. The other and for most the more important activity is to check their days photos. It is also the time guests exchange e-mails so they can trade pictures if they are not able to do that on their laptops.



Grizzly on Whale Watching Tour

Grizzly on Tour

The grizzly bear population of Knight Inlet is healthy and growing. Over the past five years the number of sightings in the lower portion of the inlet near our lodge has increased. This past summer a grizzly visited our island for about a week before it moved on down the inlet. This photo was taken coming back from a whale watching day when we found a grizzly swimming between islands. It was working its way to Johnstone Strait, which separated the mainland from Vancouver Island that now has a small population of grizzlies. Historically there have never been grizzly bears on the Island but that changed six years ago when the first bear appeared near Kelsey Bay and more have arrived every year.



Black Bear Tours

Black Bear

The idea of a black bear tour is a little misleading as every tour could end up with a black bear sighting. However on your first evening at the lodge we spend an hour or more going for an evening tour to find black bear. The success of the trip depends mostly on the tide because if the tide is high there is no beach and therefore no bears. But this photo shows that some evenings are successful and the reason that part of the bear is cut off is I was trying to show the location of the bear to the boat by getting the bow search light in the picture (that white arc in the lower left corner).



Steller Sea Lions at Rest

Steller Sealions

Steller sea lions range throughout the Pacific Rim (from northern California to Northern Honshu in Japan, and to the Bering Strait). Steller sea lions are highly gregarious and they use traditional haul out sites (an area used for resting) on remote and exposed islands. These sites can be rock shelves, ledges, boulders, and gravel or sand beaches. Adult Steller sea lions eat a wide variety of fishes, including Pacific herring, pollock, salmon, cod, and rockfishes. They also eat octopus and some squids. Over the past five years more of these sea lions are spending their summers in our viewing area rather than traveling to more northern waters.



Grizzly Family Time

Grizzly bear family

Most grizzlies’ first year cubs prefer not to be in the water. When they first come to the beach in the spring and are required to swim along some to the steep bank beaches the mother are forced to abandoned them to force them into the water. After August 24th the viewing activity moves up the river after the salmon arrive. In this photo the cub made it to the rock near the fishing hole but choose a dry perch. As long as mom came by to check on a regular basis all was good.



Hungry Grizzly Bears

Young grizzlies feeding

Unlike the grizzly bear in the October 4th posting these bears are eating everything. There are two reason for their hunger: first the photo was taken in late August so the salmon have just arrived and second these juvenile bears are not the most experienced fisher so they eat everything they catch. Give these bear a few years and some experience and they will become more selective.



Grizzly Bear Lodge Sunrise

Grizzly Bear Lodge Sunrise

Prior to August 25th guest are called for breakfast at 7:00 am for an 8:00 departure and after the 24th at 6:30 for a 7:30 departure. This is only important because the sunrises are normally earlier than your wake-up call. For most guests this is not an issue as they are often up and enjoying the scenery from the front deck before we start marking coffee around 6:15. The day trips return to the lodge sometime between 3 and 5 p.m. so it is important that we have a good picnic lunch and our cook does a good lunch. In all my years (10) at the lodge we have yet to eat all the lunch and often it seems we hardy eat half.



Marine Mammal Tail 2 of 2

Humpback whale tail

Yesterday’s posting was an orca / killer whales while today’s is a humpback whale. Humpback whales are identified by the underside and trailing edge of their tail flukes; each one is different just like a fingerprint. The white on the underside of the tails will vary in amount and pattern and these photos are used by researchers to identify and track whales



Marine Mammal Tail 1 of 2

Killer whale tail

Seems to be three choices for this tail: a small humpback whale, a large dolphin or a killer whale. All three are common when on a whale watching trip from the lodge. The area’s humpback whale population has grown to the point that we often view up to a dozen whales a trip, the resident killer whales a frequently in the area feeding on salmon and large pods of pacific whitesided dolphins appear on a regular basis. Also there are Steller or northern sea lions, harbour seals, porpoise, bald eagles, a large variety of ducks and sea birds as well as the occasional black bear.