Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Bears of Knight Inlet

One of the highlights of our recent "Explore BC" tour was visiting the grizzly's of the Knight Inlet.
On the north tip of Vancouver Island lies Telegraph Cove, a tiny settlement with a population of about 20. In former days Telegraph Cove was home to a lumber mill and a salmon saltery, nowadays it is a tourist hub for all kinds of outdoor activities, particularly whale watching and grizzly bear tours.

Since space is limited and this is a highly sought after tour during the summer, we had signed up for our tour with Tide Rip Tours long before we started our journey.

Very early in the morning, considering that it was Sunday...;-) we were at the marina and got some last minute instructions. Then off we went in our speed boat heading towards Knights Inlet. The boat ride takes about 2 1/2 hours, but with breakfast served, interesting stories told by our knowledgeable guide, and extraordinary beautiful landscape around us, the time just flew by.

After arriving at the Knight Inlet area we switched from our speed boat to a skiff. With this specially built skiff we slowly chugged through the shallow inlets. Close to the spot were bears can be seen we turned off the motor, the guides gently lowered themselves into the water, which was rather shallow, and quietly pushed the boat further into the inlet.

Patiently we waited, anticipating bears jumping out of hiding at any minute....and waited...and waited...we saw a cute deer family and water planes bringing in guests to a remote lodge, but no bears. Ever so slowly, a hint of disappointment was tangible among us.

The tide was leaving and our time was short and when we had almost lost hope, they came!
Mama bear with two cubs, almost as tall as her.

Due to the tide we had to leave the inlet a bit and the bears were quite a ways way, munching on a tree,

but then the curious cubs came closer and closer.

And finally ran into the water to play!

Mama was always watching to make sure the cubs were safe.

Eventually they had enough of playing in the water,

A quick shake at the beach and off they went, disappearing into the forest as quickly as they had appeared.

What an experience!
After the boat ride back, where we passed the time by dozing in the sun on the back deck of our boat, we enjoyed an Orca Pale Ale at the Killer Whale Cafe..well deserved I think!

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