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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Northern Vancouver Island Part 1: Grizzlies and Waterfalls

The first week of September has been marked off all year as a reset, recharge, and rejuvenate week spent on northern Vancouver Island. With various stresses having built up over the preceding months, it couldn't have come at a better time. As our departure date approached I decided to unplug for the trip as well - no e-mail, phone, or social media. We didn't have much planned other than lodging, and we left open to whatever adventures awaited us.

On a whim we decided to splurge on a tour to Bute Inlet to look for grizzly bears. The day dawned in classic Pacific Northwest style: with steady rain. Luckily the fog lifted as we headed out, and the scenery on the two hour boat ride to Orford Bay was beautiful.

As we arrived for the land-based portion of our tour we were welcomed to traditional Homalco lands by our First Nations hosts. We didn't even have to leave the dock to see our first two grizzly bears meandering around the estuary at low tide. We headed over to an observation tour to get a better look.

Over the next couple of hours we got to see a total of six grizzlies, the highlight of which was this one that hopped up on a log in close proximity (seen from the safety of our vehicle).

Equally amazing to seeing the bears was not only being in such a remote area, but hearing stories from our Homalco guides who are working to reconnect their youth to their traditional lands and culture. The rain continued to fall as we viewed bears, but luckily the sun broke through shortly before we left.

The stunning view from land at Orford Bay as the sun broke through
The highlight of the trip may have actually been the boat ride back to Vancouver Island on glassy seas with stunning scenery around every corner, even more awesome than in the morning with the late afternoon light. We sat on the top dock of the boat the whole way and soaked it all in.

We even got to stop and take a look at a three year-old humpback named Linea, who is the 2016 calf of BCY0027 Maude.

One more photo of the Cape Mudge Lighthouse as we headed back to port at sunset:

The next day we headed inland to Strathcona Provincial Park to check out several waterfalls. As would be the theme for the trip, it was another scenic drive.

The highlight of the day was climbing on the rocks around Myra Falls:

Next up, it was time to head further north, with plenty more wildlife to come....


Jill said...

Thanks for sharing! I love that part of the world. Haven't been back to Strathcona since the late 1980s when it felt pretty remote and we waltzed into the lodge with no reservations for several nights.

Vera said...

Somehow missed this post, but enjoyed hearing the details of the first part of your trip. What fun! On to the next post.....