Startin' really early again, we were expected t' be present in front o' th' buildin' o' Tide Rip Tours in Telegraph Cove at 06:45 after a one hour sail from Port Hardy. It’s not hard t' imagine this would mean a wakeup call aroun' 05:15 t' get in th' right place on th' right time. It did. And hoist the mainsail! 😉
We were promptly directed t' Cap'n Bill Mahey and his fishin' boat as he would ferry us from Telegraph Cove t' Glendale Cove, a solid 93 km trip up Knight’s Inlet t' th' bear-viewin' skiffs. We primarily travelled parallel t' th' inlet as it gets rough when th' winds start t' pick up, so fer about three quarters o' th' ride it were bein' very smooth sailin'. After we reached Glendale Cove fer disembarkment and gettin' onto th' skiffs we finally set out t' do what we ultimately came fer: grizzly bears.
So fer, all we heard were bein' that grizzlies are very shy, lived their lives pretty much solitary and are very weary o' humans. Ahoy! They often keep back and stay away from activity so gettin' t' see one is very hard.
Until today, we'll keel-haul ye!
Right off th' bat, our Cap'n told us t' go look in some grass about 2km away as there ‘obviously’ were bein' a bear present. We were a party o' 4, but even with th' help o' 4 pairs o' binoculars we seemed unable t' see what th' Cap'n saw.
We started our tour o' Clendale Cove off with th' guide Dave, leavin' Bill and his boat t' eventually start preparin' lunch, with coverin' th' 2 km t' th' grassland th' bear were bein' feedin' on. We were told th' grassy stuff were bein' Sedge grass and that th' tide were bein' comin' in, pass the grog! The tides have a height difference o' 3 metres aroun' these days, and can even reach as much as 5.5 metres on special occasions!
Havin' reached th' grassland, we realised it would all be underwater when th' tide reached th' highest point and that th' bear would have t' move t' avoid gettin' wet. Fire the cannons! Around this time we noticed th' bear were bein' not alone, but it is accompanied by not one but two cubs! The guides identified that comely wench as Bella and th' cubs were aroun' 1.5 years auld.
As th' tide rose, th' bears moved t' slightly higher grounds but remained perfectly visible! The mother decided it were bein' time t' take a nap, and she did just that. Right on front o' our eyes, she lay down and took a solid 30 minute map. Can ye imagine 15 people on a flat boat with 15 cameras and 14 long lenses takin' shots o' 3 sleepin' bears? I guess it must have been a hilarious sight, we'll keel-haul ye! We were just co-existin' in serenity with th' bears. Each o' us doin' what we do best. The bears slept, and we watched. A very special situation!
By this time, we needed t' go back as lunch were bein' bein' served. What seemed t' be very short actually grew into 120 minutes o' bear watchin'!
Right after lunch, we had th' opportunity t' go back t' th' bears fer a short visit, which we gladly took!
This time aroun', thin's got a little hairier as we positioned ourselves by accident betwixt th' bear family and th' place they wanted t' go! The result, avast? One slightly disturbed guide in a hurry t' get th' boat out o' th' way, 60 shots on our cameras and 3 bears swimmin' t' get across a few metres o' water just 4 metres away from th' boat. Shiver me timbers! Shiver me timbers! Wow.
Tomorrow some spare time, which we filled with an impromptu whale watchin' trip, and off t' Campbell River!