The largest of the dolphins and one of the world’s most powerful predators does like to play around boats as do the pacific white sides of yesterday’s post. It is not uncommon to have killer whales / orca come along side the boat if you happen to be stopped as a pod is fishing in the area. I am not sure if the salmon are schooling under the boat for safety but I know that I once had one large (10 plus kilo – 25 lbs) spring salmon try to hide under my boat when there were killer whales in the area. That is me leaning over the side of the boat taking the picture.
Whenever we are fortunate enough to come upon a large pod of pacific white sided dolphins I am not sure who has the most fun, my guests or the dolphins. The dolphins leap out of the water doing flips, ride the bow wave, follow along side the boat and nose up within a meter of the boat’s prop. While doing all this the guest get great shots of water, air and even some that contain dolphins. More than once I have had guest say that the dolphins make the day.
The viewing platform used on Knight Inlet’s Glendale River provide a slightly downward angle to the grizzly bears. In this case the grizzly was beneath the platform providing an excellent view of it’s claws. Over the years we have had return guests who had come at both times of the season and as of yet there is no agreement to which is best.
Watching a grizzly bear from our 5.5 meter (18 foot) flat bottom river skiff is different than from the viewing stands. On the Glendale River or along the shore of it’s bay you are at “eye-level” and often receive that direct eye to eye contact which is permissible at a distance. Close up it could be viewed as a threat so it is avoided. This is the viewing prior to August 25th when we move to the stands on the river. See tomorrows posts….
“The Steller Sea Lion Recovery Team recommended in 2000 that researchers begin branding and marking Steller sea lion pups throughout their range as a means to estimate vital population parameters in the future. Population parameters such as survival, age at first reproduction, and natality are important factors to understand population dynamics and gauge the health and stability of populations. Specific rookery sites were chosen to initiate these long term marking studies, both in the western and eastern stocks. For the eastern stock, three rookery sites were chosen in southeast Alaska (Forrester, Hazy and White Sisters) and 2 were chosen further south off southern Oregon and northern California (Rogue Reef and St. George Reef).” Patrick J. Gearin NOAA, AFSC, National marine Mammal Laboratory. Over the years we have seen sea lions with brands originating in both Alaska (Forrester) and California (Rouge Reef).
Steller sea lions inhabit our area all year however their number increase dramatically in the spring and fall when they are migrating between California and Alaska. A haul-out is a nice place to visit but the noise and smell can be overpowering so once all photos are taken we tend to move.
Not much to add on this photo except that again we were in the right place at the right time. In part due to the skill of the guide but as I often say “I would rather have luck than skill when photographing wildlife”.
This has been my computer’s “Desktop” background for years. Its is complements of an English guest who was fortunate to be “ready” when we were in the right place at the right time. Humpback whales breaching are much more frequent than a picture of a humpback breach.
Another great photo by Glen one of the camp guides and resident photographer. As guides we do have a little advantage over our guest in obtaining those unique photos. The advantage being the amount of time we have on the tours each summer but there is a down side in that we are running the boats so we also miss many opportunities.
It is amazing that this black bear had just swam between two small islands but with one dog like shake it appears dry. Five of six times a summer on whales watching trips we encounter black bears swimming between the many islands as we travel from the lodge to the area of Johnstone Strait. If you go to “Categories” and select “Wildlife Tour Itinerary” along the area to the right you will get some idea of the number of island we travel through and the routes of Grizzly Bear Lodge’s various trips.