On Sunday, October 6th, 2013, I joined a group of fellow photographers from the Oceanside Photographers Club (http://oceansidephotographers.ca) to take an all day Grizzly Watching Tour with a Campbell River tour company (http://www.campbellrivergrizzlybeartours.com).
We boarded our boat at 9am sharp and headed out from Campbell River on a very foggy fall day. Our destination was Bute Inlet. It was a 2 hour ride and despite some patches of heavy fog we saw a lot of beautiful scenery on our trip in.
When we got to our destination, the Orford River, which is deep in Bute Inlet and is in the traditional territory of the Homalco First Nation, we were greeted by our two aboriginal guides. We were taken by bus to several viewing platforms along the river to photograph some of the 40 or so resident Grizzly bears that inhabit the valley. The bears gather there in the fall and travel up and down the banks of the river, eating the plentiful spawning Chum salmon as they prepare for another winter's hibernation. One of our guides told us that the Grizzlies need to eat a million calories each year to prepare for hibernation!
After photographing and watching at least 11 Grizzlies (including 3 sets of Mom's and cubs!!) and a massive Roosevelt Elk bull we went back to the dock in the afternoon where we had a late lunch. Then we boarded the boat again and headed back to Campbell River.
On the way back we had beautiful late afternoon light, amazing skies, and more great scenery. We also saw Humpback Whales, White Sided Dolphins (VERY hard to photograph), and Sea Lions!
I can't say enough about our guide Jan, who was so generous with her time that day. We were running late on the way back and yet she stopped several times to give us lots of time to photograph every interesting thing we saw.
I wouldn't hesitate to go on one of her tours again and probably will do this trip again next fall!
And lastly, a big thanks to Paul Edelbos of the Oceanside Photographers Club for organizing the trip!
These are my favorite images from an amazing day. I hope they convey some of the wondrous scenery and wildlife we saw.