Keeping an eye on the watchers

Grizzly Bears on the River

Our lodge is located on Minstrel Island not far from the mouth of Knight Inlet, which is the longest inlet off the East Coast of Vancouver Island in mainland BC.  We are a 45-minute float plane ride from Campbell River.  The spring and summer tours from the lodge find the grizzly bears foraging for food along the shores of Knight Inlet.  As your guide will often say “Bears are where you find them.” And this means that you start looking as soon as you leave the lodge.  This fine example of a grizzly was in the estuary of the Glendale River, which flows into Knight Inlet. Grizzlies in the estuary frequently pause their activities to survey their surroundings. The bears are always on alert even though they tend to ignore our presence they still know we are present.



Grizzly Bear Fishing Techniques

Salmon Escaped

The grizzly tours from our resort on Knight Inlet, in the fall, travel to a small river up the inlet where the salmon are spawning.  The abundance of salmon in the area attracts grizzly from a wide area along the BC coast it is estimated that between 40 and 50 grizzlies come to this area for the salmon.  The bears have a short time to fatten before hibernation so catching technique is important. Looking under the belly of this grizzly one can see that salmon do escape and even though this grizzly does not appear to have the best technique it proceed to catch and eat several salmon while we were in the viewing stands.



Herring Balls and Humpback Whales 2 of 2

HB lunge

Many herring balls form off Bold Head which is a land mass not far from Telegraph Cove a tourist destination on Vancouver Island north of Campbell River. The plan is to sit near a herring ball and wait until the gulls shoot into the air and be ready. The ideal photo is a humpback lunge feeding.


Herring Balls and Humpback Whales 1 of 2

Herring Ball

On your whale watching day most of the time is spent is the waters off the east shore of Vancouver Island.  This water is rich in wildlife and it is not uncommon to see seagulls congregating in one area, in fact, that is a good thing.  Whether you are sports fishing or looking for humpback whales you want to see flocks of gulls to have a “good” day. The herring in the waters along the shores of Vancouver Island are at the bottom of the food chain (just above plankton and krill).  You know you position in the food chain when your main defense is getting in a tight ball and revolving from inside to outside so you can breath. The many ducks and diving birds in the area force the herring into balls, which try to escape by moving up to the surface. This attracts gulls and attracts whale watchers.


Perspective 2 of 2

Grizzly Bears Beneath stands

The same two grizzly bears in yesterday’s post passed directly beneath the viewing stands. Again my camera does not show a true distance, as these two bears were less than 4 meters (12 feet) from the lens. I missed the photo when one of the bears stood on its hind legs and most of the guests complained that they had on the wrong lens.



Perspective 1 of 2

Taking pictures

As a guide I am always looking for different photos for the blog and this is one of them. A photo of a guest taking a photo of grizzly bears from the viewing stands. The lodge uses the stands on Knight Inlet’s Glendale River in the fall after August 24th. The grizzly bears come to the river because of the abundance of salmon that come to spawn in the  man made spawning channel. The bears often walk down the natural river by the stands and then move into a large pool where the salmon wait before moving into the spawning area. NO the bears are not that far away it just seems that because of my camera but who will really care after viewing tomorrow’s post.



Close Up Humpback Fluke

This is a very close up view of a Humpback Whale fluke (tail).  This particular whale is known as “Domino”.  You can identify the whale by the unique shape and colorations on the backside of the fluke.  Domino has been coming back to our area for several years and we look forward to seeing his return next spring.

Peek-A-Boo Grizzly Bear Waiting for Salmon

This particular Grizzly Bear was seen on our river trip and utilized the same spot for several weeks.  He was almost always there, although at times partially obscured by the large rocks at the bottom of the waterfall.  This spot was, however productive as the Grizzly would wait for salmon to leap the small falls and intercept them before they make it to the top and to the safety of the deeper water.  Patience is a virtue

Glassy Calm Whale Watching in Blackfish Sound

On the coast the weather can at times be unpredictable.  That being said in the summer and fall we are often very lucky with our weather and often do not get a lot of rain until October.  Our waters are protected from the open ocean, so although it can get a bit choppy at times we do not receive the big swells that trigger seasickness.  This is a beautiful evening in October (after the end of the season) watching a number of resident Orca move through Blackfish Sound, into Johnstone Strait.

Spider’s View Grizzly Bear Lodge

spider's view of Grizzly Bear Lodge.

Sometimes I just want something different to put in the blog and this is one of those posts. Walking down to place the picnic lunch and iced drink cooler in the boat this caught my eye. Is is just after 6:00 a.m. and not many guests are up and about so I have time to play with my camera.