The crew and Native guides helped make the day. The grizzlies did the rest. The day was sunny and warm as we headed across to Orford River in Bute Inlet. On the way, our guide, Mark, shared a great deal of knowledge with us about orcas and grizzlies. We spotted a pod of transient orcas and went over to have a closer look at them. Captain Joel informed us about the area and the waterways to give us context to our trip over.
On the way, we stopped in a small bay where the captain and guide whipped out a table and legs from under the deck, installed them at the stern of the boat and presented us with a simple picnic lunch. Ten minutes later they dismantled it and we were on our way again.
When we arrived at the place where our grizzly bear tour would begin, we were met by four young men from Homalco First Nations. They drove us to the 30 foot viewing platforms. After quite a while one grizzly wandered downstream, jumping around in the river catching fish, then carrying them one at a time onto the gravel sandbar to eat them. The river was surprisingly shallow with lots of salmon spawning. She stayed for quite a while until another grizzly came down. At this point the first grizzly deferentially wandered off into the woods and the second grizzly had the river to herself. She fished for a while and came quite close to the viewing platform. By this time, several of us were down on the ground beside the river in order to get better photographs. After a while, the first grizzly showed up again on the river at a respectful distance away from the other bear. All the while, our guide and the First Nations staff were educating us on what the bears were doing and how they were acting.
On the way back to Campbell River, we saw Stellar Sea Lions on the rocks and from a distance saw a pod of Dall’s porpoises.
The crew and staff went out of their way to give us a great time. Our tour went overtime. The boat had a head, was comfortable and nimble in the water. There were comfortable seats inside and about 10-12 outdoor seats up on the roof of the cabin. Highly recommended.
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