Exploring the North Island: Bear Watching

Day 2 on Northern Vancouver Island was spent on the water yet again, this time not in search of whales, but grizzly bears!

Why search for bears from a boat? Well, since there are no grizzly bears on Vancouver Island itself, we had to cross over to the mainland first:

Trip-to-Glendale-Cove

Months ago we had booked a tour with Tide Rip Grizzly Adventures, a Telegraph Cove based company that starts every day with a 2 hour trip to Glendale Cove on the mainland where the grizzly bears are waiting.

Or at least, that’s the idea.

On the way over we saw lots of cool things. Whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, we stopped a few times but never too long because Glendale Cove was still far away.

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Halfway into Knight Inlet our tour guide Kyle spotted movement on the rocky banks that had been exposed by the low tide, it was a family of black bears:

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After a brief stop, we continued our trip up the inlet until we reached Glendale Cove, home of the grizzly bears:

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The first thing we did was change boats at the dock, before quietly making our way to the mouth of the river.

As it was low tide at that moment, captain John and tour guide Kyle stepped out of the boat and proceeded to drag us upstream, pointing out things from time to time:

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After about an hour, we had seen many salmon, eagles and gulls, even another tour boat, but still no bears. Were they just around the corner? Everyone was hopeful and completely silent.

Then, one of the bear watchers saw something move in the bushes. Muted excitement and frustration followed, as everyone was trying to figure out what she had seen. The guides were unable to confirm what was in the bushes, but then for a split second I saw it too, a grizzly bear was standing in a nearby stream, nearly perfectly hidden from view.

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After 10 minutes at this location, during which most of us managed to see the bear for literally 1 second, the boat moved on.

Unable to find more bears, in the end we were forced to turn around because the tide was getting too high.

We returned to the dock in Glendale Cove puzzled, and still hungry for bear sightings…

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Thankfully, captain John soon explained that this was not how it was supposed to go, it was a rare no-show. We would all get vouchers back at the base so we could return next year and try again.

On the long return trip to Telegraph Cove we did get a consolation prize though: killer whales had been sighted and after receiving this news our captain set out to find them, and find them we did:

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All in all, the 7-hour trip wasn’t all we had hoped it would be, but it was still a very beautiful and memorable day during our vacation on Vancouver Island.

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