Saturday, September 24

Our Trip started off with a Bang. The Kaluta departed for the Grizzly trip and once in front of Cape Mudge Lighthouse we encountered 2 Humpback Whales. The whales were identified as Nick & Stripe. Our guests watched as they surfaced together and even shared their tail flukes a few times!

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When we arrived at the Bute Inlet we were taken to the 1st platform where our Grizzly viewing quickly began. We witnessed 3 third year cubs. The mother had driven them away and they were now on their own. We then watched 2 more juvenile grizzlies fishing along the river’s edge.

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At platform 5 we saw 3 bears in the distance all headed different directions. One was fishing in the Orford River on the opposite shore so our group walked along the road to get a good look. Surprise Surprise when Capt Chris checked the area behind us there was another grizzly who was nice and close. We were able to get a really good look. The bear wandered up the bank and laid down in the forest for a nap.

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The rain held off for most of our trip although it was forecast  to rain all day. What a beautiful day on the coast and in the Orford River system. We definitely won’t forget these  memories of wild grizzlies and whales.

 

Friday, September 23

Grizzly Expedition 

We had one rainy day ahead of us as we departed Campbell River and headed for the Bute Inlet, but it was worth every rain drop!

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It was an amazing day for bear watching as guests were soon to find out.

After meeting up with our Homalco guides, and a quick bus trip; the first bear of the day was spotted at Tower 2 to the delight of guests.

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After spending time watching and admiring the bear at Tower 2 we made our way to Tower 4 and 5. We were able to spot a Juvenile Grizzly bear at each of the towers with help from our Homalco guides.

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Also at Tower 4 we encountered a Mama bear (sow) and three 3rd year cubs. Very exciting for all involved.

With all that we had seen so far everyone was feeling pretty lucky as we moved on through the Orford River Valley to Tower 5, where again we were fortunate in spotting three more bears. Two of the bears were Juvenile, and the third was an adult. We watched with awe as they went about filling their bellies for the winter ahead.

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Salmon moved through the rivers as the end of the salmon run draws near. The guests had the chance to view several Eagles as they too take advantage of the readily available fish.

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As we made for home we said goodbye to our Homalco guides, and were even able to take a few snapshots of the group as a memory of the time we all shared.

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Finally a break in the weather a clear sunset over beautiful Discovery Passage. What a Great Day!

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September 22nd

Whale Watching Safari

Our Whale watching trip departed under a beautiful sunny sky this afternoon. We headed South towards Mittlenatch Island where we saw 2 Humpback Whales.  They seemed to be sleeping and occasionally did partial spyhops but otherwise were very slow moving. Further South to Grant Reefs we encountered 2 more Humpback Whales that looked like a mother and calf.

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They didn’t stick around long so we headed a little North to catch up with the T002C pod of Bigg’s Transient mammal- eating Killer Whales. Once we spotted them naturalist Johanna suspected they had just finished eating as there were lots of Seagulls circling. Also surrounding the Killer Whales were some common Murres.

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Back at the bird sanctuary of Mittlenatch Island we viewed lots of Pelagic and Double -Crested Cormorants, Harbour Seals , and Stellar Sea Lions. One of the Sea Lions was being territorial and was carefully watching the seals. On the South East corner of the Island the Stellar Sea Lions were making lots of noise growling and posturing. Some even belly flopped into the ocean! As we began our journey back the clouds started to come in from the West. What a wonderful day to see some wildlife activity!

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Grizzly Expedition

As we were making our way up to the Orford River Valley for some Grizzly Bear viewing we encountered an unidentified Humpback Whale near Brown’s Bay. Further up, at the entrance to Bute Inlet, we came across a pod of 6 Killer Whales! Guests enjoyed getting to watch some ocean activity before they made it to land. Once we were in the river systems we spotted 1 female bear fishing at tower #2.

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Moving on to tower #3 we were delighted to spot 4 bears, one of which lingered around while guests were able to snap some pictures! There was also 1 large male stepping into the woods to have a nap after feasting on salmon.

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After we continued to tower #5 we spotted a sow (mother grizzly bear) and her triplets. The sow was soon identified by naturalist Su as Red. All 4 of them were fishing, swimming, and the cubs were spotted play fighting. Guests also had a quick view of a male as he ambled out of sight.

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Finishing up at window 2 we watched 2 large male siblings fishing and eating in close proximity. Just as we were about to head out there was 1 bear spotted crossing the river. Guests had a fabulous time watching bears in their natural habitat yesterday and saw a total of 14! The sun was shining and the bears were out!

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Wednesday, September 21

Another gorgeous September morning met the Tenacious III as the group headed out in search of whales. Just outside of Quathiaski Cove the TOO2C’s, a group of 4 Bigg’s Transient mammal-eating Killer Whales were swimming against the tide. Leaving the whales, the group headed off to Mittlenatch Island to have lunch and watch the Steller Sea Lions bicker and play in the sun. Had a wonderful encounter with 2 Harbour Porpoises, while the engines were shut down the pair swam around the boat a few times, allowing the guests photos of the elusive mammals. A long Bigg’s Transient mammal-eating Killer Whale was spotted hunting near Mittlenatch Island.  A single Humpback Whale rounded off the day with some rolling, spy hopping, and bubble blowing!

Heading north through Discovery Passage the Kuluta stopped to see the TOO2C’s before heading off to the Orford River Valley. The majority of the Grizzly Bear sightings were at the spawning channel today,  wowing the guests with the couple of large males and single female! On the Lgard river a lone bear was fishing in the river, catching multiple large salmons. What an amazing Grizzly Bear day!

 

Wednesday, September 20

It was a gorgeous day on the water, sun was shining, birds singing, and 2 Humpback Whales at Separation Head on the way to the Orford River Valley! Nick and Stripe the Humpback Whales were spotted, delighting all the guests, the perfect way to start a tour. At Algard Creek 2 Juvenile Grizzly Bears were fishing at Old Tower #3. Heading off to Tower #2 a Sow (mother Grizzly Bear) and 2nd year cub were fishing in the river. After they wandered off a small juvenile Grizzly Bear was spotted at Tower #4. The  bear was fishing, eating, and even walked along the shoreline, providing the guests with beautiful photo opportunities! On the way out at Old Tower #3 there were 3 more Grizzly Bears fishing in Algard Creek. On the way home, another Grizzly crossed the road right in front of the bus! What a day!

Heading north up Discovery Passage the Tenacious III came across Nick and Stripe the Humpback Whales near Browns Bay. After spending some time with the whales the group continued on north past Chatham point and into Maynes Passage where they came across the TOOC’s, 4 Bigg’s Transient mammal-eating Killer Whales. The group was playing with something and were extremely active, lots of partial breaches and pectoral slapping. In Fredrick’s arm a group of Dall’s Porpoise were spotted, and began bow riding! The day was finished off with some intense rapids , Steller Sea Lions at Jimmy Judd Island, and a beautiful sunset down through Discovery Passage.

 

Sunday, September 18

Grizzly Safari

It was raining today but we had one amazing day in the Bute Inlet.

At Tower 2 we encountered a 6 year old female who was very active. She was fishing, eating, chasing salmon. We watched in awe for quite a while with lots of activity.

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As we came to old Tower 3 our guests were treated to 4 more bears fishing very close

Tower 5 where the Orford and the Algard Rivers meet we were again treated to more bears. There were 2 bears in the distance up the river. Another bear was at the log jam very close for our guests to get great photo opportunities.

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As we left and came to old Tower 3 again there were 2 more bears.

We said goodbye to our Holmalco guides and headed for home. On the way  you could see the fresh snow on the mountain tops.

Another amazing Day watching Grizzlies.

Whale Watching Safari

The Tenacious 3 departed Campbell River on flat seas and mostly sunny skies. We headed to Mittlenatch were we encountered lots of Black Oyster Catchers and other sea birds as well as Pacific Harbour Seals and Steller Sea Lions.

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We watched some Bald Eagles in the Yuculta Rapids on our way in Cordero. Once there we came upon 2 Humpback Whales. Nick & Stripe  as identified by on board naturalist Johanna were doing circles feeding and surfacing together.

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In the Arran Rapids we watched as Steller Sea Lions were playing in the current while gulls were feeding in the same area.

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We again saw Stripe & Nick headed north against the tide as we left.

As we approached Chatham Point we had 4 0r 5 Dalls Porpoise who decided to bow ride with us.

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We returned to town with happy guests and camera cards full.

 

Saturday, September 17

Whale Watching Safari

The rain was coming down as we departed Campbell River but before we arrived at Quathiaski Cove it began to clear.  At steep island we encountered Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks as well as a Bald Eagle. There were 2 more Bald eagles on Quadra Island as well.

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There was a strong flood tide coming in and we saw a California Sea Lion in the current catching fish.

Guests were treated to a show at Ripple Rock  as we traveled through Seymour Narrows offering a great view of the whirlpools.

On out way to Nodales we encountered a group of 30-40 Pacific White Sided Dolphins racing south. Up at Fredrick’s Arm we checked out the pictographs and saw a large group of Dall’s Porpoise. A few rode with us for a bit.

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Near Dent Island we came upon 2 Humpback Whales. They were identified as Nick & Stripe. Guests watched as these creatures came up between dives and fluked allowing us opportunity for some great photos.

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We ended the trip with a tour around Mittlenatch where we observed Pacific Harbour Seals and Steller Sea Lions as well as many types of sea birds. Headed back to town under a beautiful ski and a few rainbows.

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Grizzly Safari

The rain could not deter our eager guests. Everyone was keen to get underway and see the Bute Inlet Grizzlies.

At Tower 5 we watched a mom & cub. The mom was fishing right under the tower but the cub began calling her loudly and they both disappeared into the woods.

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At the next platform we watched 2 bears in and out of the forest near the log jam. We also encountered another mom with 3 cubs feeding and strolling along the river.

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On the way back to the boat we saw one more bear thanks to the great eyes of one of our guests. We stopped the bus and watched him fishing and running in the river.

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We returned home under beautiful evening sky with the clouds hugging the forest mountains. We witnessed 4-5 Steller Sea Lions just north of Seymour Narrows to top off and wonderful day.