The last 3 years we have been starting to view sea otters in our area more regularly. They are still often a distance away, but the sightings are increasing with some “rafts” of them developing in areas near the western portion of our whale watching trips. These animals were hunted heavily for their fur and were completely wiped out of British Columbia waters. Re-introduction occurred from Alaskan otters in the 1960’s. They have long been protected and their numbers have been steadily increasing along the exposed BC coast and are now moving back into inside waters. They are unique in that they don’t have the insulating blubber that other marine mammals use to keep warm. As a result they have dense (over 1 million hairs per square inch) fur and feed heavily. They are important in balancing the eco-system. They eat a lot of sea urchins, which eat a lot of kelp. Kelp is extremely important as it provides cover for juvenile fish and is where the herring spawn in the early spring. With the increase in these otters we are seeing a greater abundance and healthier kelp forests.
Eagles are a common sighting around the lodge and on our tours. They eat a variety of foods, but are often sighted. looking for schooling fish such as herring and will frequent the salmon rivers when the fish are running. They mate for life an it is not unusual to see a mating pair. They are hard to distinguish on their own, but when side by side the female is slightly larger and the white feathers on her head tend to come down a bit lower on the neck. With their 5-6′ wingspan they are always impressive when they come down to the water in search of food.
People often ask us if bears swim? It is fairly common to see both Black and Grizzly Bears swimming. Sometimes this may be a means of crossing a river, jumping from one island to another, or in this case going around a steep bluff. Due to our coast line and abundance of islands basically all of the larger mammals that we view do swim. Deer, wolves, and even cougars will swim from island to island in search of food, although many of these sightings are extremely rare. Bears are extremely buoyant so they have no problem paddling across relatively large distances, although they do tend to favour shorter crossings when possible.
ID’s of the local whales
We are fortunate to have dedicated colleges and societies in our area such as the Marine Education and Research Society. The Humpback Whales in our area are identified by both the underside of the fluke and the dorsal region. Unique pigmentation, shapes and markings allow these animals to be positively identified and catalogued. We know that the majority of the whales in our area migrate to Hawaii to mate and have their calves before returning to the colder, richer waters of British Columbia to feed. This is a familiar whale is named “Lucky”. The scaring you see is from escaping an Orca attack when she was younger. She has grown from when she was likely attacked as a calf, so the scrapes (rake marks) from the Orca teeth appear wider apart then they should, but this is just because she has grown. So wonderful to have so many of these amazing animals back in our waters.
Over the past seven years our whale watching area has become a feeding area for humpback whales. In the past we were lucky it see one whale on a viewing day while now if we do not see to eight or ten different whales we think it is a slow day. The feeding aspect means there is also lunge feeding, much diving with good tail shows as well as breaching that is very hard to catch on camera.
This is a great site to visit to get a “guest eye view” of a trip to our lodge.
Click on this link
Also: -if you search “You Tube” using the keyword SAILCONE you can view some videos from and about the lodge.
-and on Facebook at Grizzly Bear Lodge and Safari
To view a map of the lodge’s area and the location of each day’s itinerary”
Look to the left and scroll the sidebars to “Categories” and select “Wildlife Tour Itinerary” It is possible to navigate the map using the arrows in the upper left corner and to zoom using the + or – signs as well as changing to a satellite view in the upper right corner of the map.
It is possible to navigate the map using the arrows in the upper left corner and to zoom using the + or – signs as well as changing to a satellite view in the upper right corner of the map.
Early June, so less than six months old and we find two black bear cubs while on the trip up Knight Inlet to view grizzly bears. Although we go on a specialized black bear trip on your first evening in the lodge we frequently see black bears while on the grizzly bear and whales watching tours as well as the trip to Trapper Rick’s.
Bald eagles are only achieve their white headed between three and five years and prior to that they are able to sit in trees unnoticed. When soaring high an immature eagle is a little more noticeable. Still majestic with their wing span but something is missing.
One of my best and again luck dominates skill. I knew the orca was going to pass beneath the boat but did not know that its calf would be traveling in mother’s slip stream. The baby swims close to its mother and can be carried in the a type of hydrodynamic wake, which develops as the mother swims. This helps the baby swim with less energy and enables the mother and calf to keep up with the pod.