We woke up before the sun this morning to head out on a Grizzly Bear watching tour. From Sonora, we hopped into a zodiac and were whisked away a good 45 minutes North East, over to the mainland.
The boat ride over was half of the experience in itself as we slipped between islands, passed over rushing currents and dodged whirlpools. We also learned a bit about the area’s history and got some tips on bear safety from our guide before heading in to Orford Bay to dock.
Once on land, we met up with Homalco Wildlife Tours who lead us to two of their five bear observation towers. After a heavy rainfall the night before, the creeks and rivers we crossed along the way were swollen beyond their regular banks. We watched the rushing water cascade over boulders and under bridges as we made our way to the first lookout.
At our first stop up on Tower 4, we saw a Grizzly make his way up and down the river as flocks of birds parted to give him some room to wander.
Afterward we made our way to Tower 5, which was on a spit directly where two rivers merge. From this vantage point we saw the most action including one bear catching a salmon while another tried unsuccessfully to swim on over and say hello.
Our morning on the tour was extremely fruitful and I had a hard time selecting which of my 173 photos I would be posting to Flickr. We headed into the lodge to grab some lunch while the clouds built up and let out a healthy hour-long downpour. The rain lasted until we suited up again and headed out for our Eco Tour, which I’ll cover in another post.
Growing up in BC we used to camp every summer and explore every inch of wilderness our Province offered up (from Bella Coola to Cranbrook). From the time I was old enough to zip up my sleeping bag in a tent I’ve been avoiding bears and it wasn’t until today that I’ve had such a close encounter with them in the wild. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity we had to view these creatures (in a safe environment accompanied by professionals) and I’ll never forget this experience.