PAULINE & IAN, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 2008.
Knight Inlet Lodge bear viewing stand
I am something of an Arctophile so when I saw the “Grizzly Bear Adventure” holiday in the Titan HiTours brochure my immediate thought was - this is the holiday for us. The trip was booked & we travelled in early October 2008. Thus began our venture to the beautiful, unspoiled tranquil region of Knight Inlet in Western Canada, & what has developed into my love affair with this area & it’s magnificent inhabitants - the Grizzlies.
After a fascinating drive from Victoria with interesting stops en route the overnight stay at Heron’s Landing was very comfortable. Arriving at the Vancouver Island Air Terminal the following morning I viewed our onward transport with some trepidation - the 14 seater Beaver floatplane appeared a trifle cramped but it was part of our adventure & we were soon captivated by the wonderful scenery on the 30 minute trip to Knight Inlet Lodge. From the moment we arrived it was evident that this is a sensitively run business where all of the staff are very friendly, helpful & knowledgeable, & the needs of all the guests are well catered for. After the in depth orientation talk we realised that our days were to be packed with a variety of activities which included several opportunities for bear watching of course.
And so began our regime - up early for a very satisfying breakfast at 6.30am (the only time I ever get up this early is when I’m on holiday), followed by jostling in the changing room as we dressed in the comfortable weather proof gear provided. The different activities throughout the day were interspersed with returns to the Lodge for energy giving snacks & lunch (& time to “make ourselves comfortable” of course!). The appertisers & evening meals were absolutely delicious, & after a quick visit to the shop to add more purchases to our “account” we enjoyed some very interesting talks & slideshows (another attribute of the very knowledgeable guides is that they are all excellent photographers). Then it was off to bed - tired, well fed & very happy, ready for sleep to prepare us for the following day’s adventures.
On our first outing to the Weir Stand I climbed the steps to the platform & looked down onto a mum & her cub (to be known from then on as Baby Bear) just a few metres away - my reaction? I cried!! I could not believe that I was actually there, seeing these wonderful creatures in their natural habitat - what a privilege. Out came my camera & off I went - click, click, click. Quite apart from the beautiful scenery both at the viewing stands & on the inlet cruises (we had wonderful weather during our stay) the bears & bald eagles provided excellent opportunities for the amateur photographer.
Apparently 2008 was not a good year for the salmon returning to their spawning ground - the rate of return was very low, but we watched fascinated at the bear’s antics - stalking & dashing through the water to pounce on & catch their prey. It was surprising the amount of noise the cubs made when their mothers were successful in their pursuit of fishing - especially the young twins.
We were lucky enough to see one adult enjoying himself (?)rubbing his back up & down on a tree, & were amused to see a cub trying to copy him some time later.
While on an afternoon inlet cruise we met up with Frank & saw his shrimp catch & watched while he carefully selected which crabs to keep for the table & which to return to the water, We enjoyed a walk through the woods to look for bear day beds, scratching trunks & paw tracks. We opted for more opportunities for bear watching, foregoing the rainforest walk & whale watching trip. We hope to do these on our return visit later this year.
Knight Inlet Lodge certainly offers a holiday of a lifetime. But it doesn’t have to be that, you can go back - it will be like visiting family. If you are reading this you may already have visited this piece of heaven on earth - if you haven’t we strongly recommend that you treat yourselves. You won’t regret it.
Knight Inlet Lodge