Monday, October 4

Outstanding October continues!! As the Tenacious III passed Browns Bay on the way to the Orford River Valley this morning, they came across 3 different Humpback Whales! What an amazing sight! Through Okisollo Channel a group of 35 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were spotted resting. Up at the Orford today it was all about the bears, on the way to Tower #1 a lone Grizzly was walking along the road. At the window 2 bears were spotted fishing in the river. Over at Tower #4, 2 sows (mother Grizzly Bears) were spotted fishing with a cub each. Over at Tower #5 a female was feeding in front of the tower. 2 more Grizzly Bears were further up the river. On the way back, 2 more Grizzly Bears were fishing at the window. At Tower #2, last stop of the day, 7 different Grizzly Bears were all spread out fishing, including a sow (mother) with 3 cubs on the log jam! On the way home from the Orford, the Tenacious III came across another Humpback Whale, making it a total of 4 Humpback Whales and 19 Grizzly Bears, what an outstanding October day!!

Saturday, October 1st

Grizzly Expedition 

There is no better way to spring into the Fall season than a Grizzly Expedition. Aside from being the first day of October, this was also the first day of rain in several, but spirits remained high as we made our way to Bute Inlet.

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On the way we spotted a couple of Dall’s Porpoise off Cape Mudge. In addition we spotted a small family group of Bigg’s Transient mammal- eating Killer Whales known as the T002C’s. They were moving North quickly just off Cape Mudge.

After a beautiful boat ride through the rain and mist we arrived at our destination, and met up with our Homalco guides for the day.

We then made our way into the Orford River Valley and the territory of the Grizzly Bears.

At Tower 1 in the estuary we were lucky enough to spot four bears. A sow (mother) and her three cubs. Two of the three cubs were rolling around and tussling with each other in the water.  All four of the bears after some time moved toward the bay and did some fishing. The sow (mother) managed to catch a rather large salmon after some effort.

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In addition Tower 1 brought guests the opportunity to see many Eagles. In fact a group of 4 Bald Eagles were flying close together and in some cases chasing and talon grappling with each other. What a sight.

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Moving on to Tower 2 our group spotted two bears upstream. Another two were spotted midway. While one of the bears remained in view the entire time; the other moved out of sight and reemerged downriver. The bear appeared to stop and began to dig in a certain spot. Naturalist Johanna determined that this bear was possibly pausing to dig for eggs. Turning in the other direction far more downstream were two more Grizzly Bears in the distance.

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On the way to Old Tower 3 guests saw two blacktail deer making their way across the road. Once at the viewing platform we were able to see another sow (mother) with her third year cub feasting on a catch, with the sow (mother) allowing the cub to eat most. There was some growling between them that could be heard by all.

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At Tower 4 we came across another bear. This bear was right in front of the Tower so for everyone to stay as safe as possible, including the bear, we remained inside the bus and watched through the windows as the bear went on its way.

A total of 13 Grizzly Bears after today’s trip to Bute Inlet. Amazing!

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On the way home guests were able to glimpse some more amazing marine wildlife near Okisollo. Dall’s Porpoise were seen swimming about, and two Humpback Whales, Nick and Stripe, were spotted swimming along slowly surfacing.

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Spectacular September may have ended but be on the look out for Outstanding October!

 

Thursday, September 29

Spectacular September continues! At Tower #2 right away today was a single bear climbing over logs, then falling backwards into the water! It caught quite a few salmon before wandering off. Another Grizzly Bear was further upstream in the water munching on salmon while across the river was a juvenile Bald Eagle tearing apart a salmon. Walking along the main road on the way to Tower 4 were 3 Black Tailed deer! En Route to Tower 4 a mum and 3 year old cub were napping by the Lgard river. The Sow (mother Grizzly) was sleeping on a log. At Tower #5 a single bear was close to the Lgard river shoreline eating, while another grizzly was walking downstream. A third bear approached out of the bush and got chased off by the first two, then all 3 began play fighting. It is likely the three bears were litter mates or siblings, it appeared as though they were fighting over fish, the guests got to hear some wicked roars! Another bear was further down the Orford River surrounded by Bald Eagles. On the way back to Tower 4 another bear was wandering down the road. After a little bit three more Grizzlies appeared from downriver, at one point you could see 6 Grizzly Bears! What a day!

Wednesday, September 28

Another spectacular September afternoon! A single Dall’s porpoise was spotted by Clipper Point in the Bute Inlet on the way up to the Orford this afternoon. At Tower #2 a mature bear was spotted upstream from the tower eating, and then swam across the chilly waters of the Orford river upon finishing it’s snack. Off to Tower #5, another single bear was standing in the middle of the river eating. Another bear was moving down the Lgard River searching for a good fishing spot. On the drive back to Tower #2, a Roosevelt Elk was spotted by the Beaver dam’d area, and a single bear was in the creek near the bridge. Back at Tower #2, two bears were fishing in the river, catching multiple fish. Another bear was walking along the log jam with a fish, another bear was sitting on the lower log jam, and another bear was further down the Orford river! At the same time, another Grizzly was digging for eggs in the river banks! At one point there were 6 Grizzly Bears in view at the same time! What a phenomenal day! To top off the amazing day, on the way home 4 Bigg’s Transient mammal-eating Killer Whales were spotted between Quadra and Marina Island. What an ending to another spectacular September day!

 

 

Tuesday, September 27

Whale Watching Safari

Blue skies above as we set out on our morning whale watching adventure. We made our way toward Mittlenatch, and were able to spot two blows just south of the island. The water became pretty choppy so we had to turn more toward the island where we spotted loads of Stellar Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks.

There were groups of different bird species flying around and chattering back and forth. Black Oyster Catchers and Cormorants were among those seen.

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As the water picked up and became more choppy we moved toward the Mainland and headed North through Copeland Islands into Desolation Sound where we stopped for lunch.

After a quick break we moved toward Calm Channel and Stuart Island; there were many seals hauled out on the reef near Sonora Island. There were also more Stellar Sea Lions swimming nearby and some hauled out on Jimmy Judd.

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As we continued to move we found ourselves in Devil’s Hole and were lucky enough to also spot KC the Humpback Whale. He was travelling close to shore and guests were able to watch him fluking after some surfaces.

After spending some time with KC we moved back toward Nodales where we were fortunate to encounter some of the more elusive Dalls Porpoise. Some of the individuals we witnessed even spent some time with us riding the bow waves.

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Then in Discovery Passage heading for home we spotted over 1,000 Pacific white-sided Dolphins feeding. Many of these individuals also came to interact with the boat; to the awe and delight of guests aboard.

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Another amazing day!!

Grizzly Expedition 

Guests eagerly awaited as we approached Bute Inlet to begin our Grizzly Bear adventure.

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After greeting our Homalco guides we made tracks into the forest toward the viewing towers to see what we could see.

At Tower 2 we came across a sow (mother) and her two cubs. The bears were first spotted in the water, and then we watched as they slowly made their way into the forest.

Heading away from the tower we came across two bears along the path. The bears darted across the road and disappeared quickly into the bush.

Making our way to old Tower 3 we spotted a juvenile bear on the rocks.

At Tower 5 guests had the opportunity to witness a total of 5 bears. Two of the juveniles appeared to be siblings. At one point a large male bear made his way down the the river and upon his arrival many of the juvenile bears left the area.

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Guests had an amazing time seeing the bears in their natural environment.

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On the way home we were also excited to come upon Nick and Stripe, two Humpback Whales that are often seen in each others company. We watched the whales for some time and then continued on the journey home.

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Great day!!

Monday, September 26

Whale Watching Safari

With hopeful hearts we departed for our Monday whale watching adventure eager to see some of the beautiful wildlife Campbell River has to offer.

We were not to be disappointed.

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We first encountered KC, a Humpback Whale familiar and well-loved in the area. He was moving East close to shore near Ripple Point.

Reports of Killer Whales took us in a westward direction. Just past Ripple Point at Tyee Point we were fortunate enough to encounter Bigg’s Transient mammal-eating Killer Whales. Unfortunately we were unable to identify these particular whales but their were approximately six of them in the area.

We observed the Killer Whales spy hopping, tail slapping, and rolling in the water as they moved through the water. We were also able to lower our hydrophone into the water and listen to the various clicks, whistles, and calls that this group was making.

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After spending some time in the company of the Killer Whales we headed back East toward Ripple Point where we left KC a short time ago. We were lucky enough to once again meet up with him as he continued his path along shore.

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Heading up Nodales Channel we got a chance to see Dall’s Porpoise numbering in the twenties.

Moving along we also were able to witness 80+ Stellar Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks at Jimmy Judd.

Our final wildlife encounters for the day included a Harbour Seal and a Bald Eagle before we headed back to the Wharf.

What a beautiful day on the water!!

Grizzly Expedition 

Magical, Misty skies surrounded us as we departed for our Grizzly Expedition. There were clearing skies to the south.

As we approached Seymour Narrows we saw Stellar Sea Lions playing in the current and an eagle fishing in the waters below. We were also able to spot some Dall’s Porpoise slowly surfacing and swimming near where the boat was.

As we headed into Bute Inlet the water was “like a lake,” clear and almost glass like. While we encountered a small amount or rain just past Clipper Point.

After meeting up with our Homalco guides we climbed into the buses ready and hopeful for some Grizzly sightings.

At Tower 2 there was one bear fishing close to the tower and further downstream there was another bear spotted with a fresh-caught salmon on the opposite side of the Orford River. We were also able to spot many mature Bald Eagles.

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Also at Tower 2 guests were able to witness a unique wildlife viewing opportunity when a Pacific Harbour Seal was seen fishing for salmon in the Orford river. WOW!!

At Tower 3 guests were able to see two huge juvenile bears, as well as two or three bears further down in the distance.

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We made a quick stop between the Algard and Orford Rivers and saw a sow with two cubs (believed to be 2nd or 3rd years) eating along the bank. Two minutes later another bear was spotted across the river, and a lone Great Blue Heron.

At Tower 5 there was a cacophony of Glaucous-Winged, California, and Bonaparte Gulls feeding in the river. Two large bears were seen past the joining of the rivers. One of the bears was spotted in the water, while the other was on a log jam.

Near the end of the day one male bear was seen between Tower 4 and 5 feeding on a salmon. Guests were able to hear the noise he made as he ate his catch.

A total of 10 bears were seen for today’s trip.

On the way home we took the Southern Route where we were delighted to catch up with Humpback Whale Slits who was lunge feeding near Calm Channel.

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What a great trip!

Sunday, September 25

There was sun to the south this afternoon, so the Kuluta headed south around Quadra Island on the way to the Orford River Valley. Just inside Bute Inlet 2 Dall’s Porpoise were spotted quickly zipping through the calm blue-green seas. At Tower #2 two juvenile Grizzly Bears were fishing in the river. At one point, one of the juveniles was walking along a wet log and slipped off! Right as the group was about to leave 2 more juvenile Grizzly Bears came running up the river, splashing and playing and making quite a ruckus. The 2 juveniles that the group was originally watching got scared by the noise and ran off. At Tower #5 an unusual and exciting wildlife sighting, 2 large male Roosevelt Elk were locking horns! Just as the group was leaving another single very large Grizzly Bear was spotted fishing in the Orford River. On the drive back to the Kuluta another single Roosevelt Elk was spotted walking along one of the logging roads. What a day!

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