A Beary Good Day

What a wonderful way to send off the month of August and it wouldn’t have been the same had we not experienced fog. Yes, ‘Fogust’ was truly with us as we set off from Alert Bay in limited visibility. It was refreshing to feel the thick, salty dampness on our cheeks and thoughts of ‘how could we possibly find any wildlife in these conditions’ drifted in and out of our minds.  

Other boats were out and the radio was lively with chatter as the skippers concocted a plan to go in different directions in hope of finding Orca.We drove on a calm and glassy sea, eventually making a stop in the area where Humpbacks had been feeding over the past few days.

During the morning tour we were gifted with foraging Humpbacks. When they surfaced the fog acted like an amplifier as the sound of their blows pierced the dense air. Common Murres also took center stage as their vocals dominated and filled the quiet ocean air. Stellar sea lions have started to spill over from their main rocky perches to additional ones, and a tour would not be complete unless we stopped by to observe and enjoy their organized chaos as they interact with eachother constantly while perched on exposed rocky ledges.

During the afternoon we were blessed with a tremendous surprise when an unexpected encounter occurred with a Grizzly bear. These mainland animals have started to make their way down from the mainland Inlets and, on the odd but special occasion we see one on our Vancouver Island adjacent Islands. This individual had a dark brown coat, and looked well fed, giving evidence of being a successful and mature hunter. This lone bear foraged on berries as boats and kayaks gathered and drifted to watch from a distance.

To add to our phenomenal adventure we also witnessed the largest gathering of Northern Resident Orca as numerous family groups traveled and foraged in Johnstone Strait and in the rip at Cracroft Point. Side by side they rose to the surface, their black dorsal fins slicing up and through the mirrored sea that had not a ripple. There was not a single breath of wind creating the most pristine of waterways. How grateful that this body of water is home to these magnificent cetaceans.

Hayley ShephardComment