We booked our Grizzly tour with Aboriginal Journeys, a First Nation owned company. They bring you to Toba Inlet where it will be just your group and the guides. It was foggy, rainy, and quite beautiful. Our journey to mainland British Columbia and First Nation Lands was ethereal. The wild and rugged beauty of BC keeps us coming back, the rawness of nature and you’ll know who is in command – her majesty, Mother Earth.
Gary, our guide, explained how to sight the tides, dark water is riptide, and other things water related; he is also a commercial fisherman, we enjoyed hearing his stories on the water. He was going to cruise us thorough Desolation Sound but the water was rough that way so he took another route to Toba Inlet. Gary helped set up the grizzly bear viewing tours in the region. He helped establish the tours in Bute Inlet but doesn’t like how the bears have become somewhat domesticated, all the tours go there except for his, and he calls Bute, “Disney World.”
Gary believes in conservation and respect for nature. A bug was flying inside the boat and he tried to scoop it out an open window.
British Columbia has the highest ocean currents in the world and they get whirlpools. Lucky for us we had Gary to navigate the waters, he can probably do it in his sleep, he grew up on these waters and will take his grandkids on these same waters. I have a fear of water I talk about from time to time in my posts. I was very nervous sitting in a boat, in the rain, listening to Gary’s commercial fishing stories and all the times he almost died; a giant hook slammed him in the face when the line broke, he has a metal plate in his jaw. I knew I wouldn’t die, it’s my fear making me paranoid (have a mild anxiety disorder), and told myself over and over again, “Trust your guide, he knows what he’s doing, trust the universe that everything will be ok.” And everything was ok. I need mental pep talks from time to time especially when I’m around things that I’m not comfortable with (water in this case).
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a traditional Welcome by Klahoose First Nations, Kenny and Norm, our guides; this was an unexpected surprise.
This is an active commercial logging site. The tribe will be going on a hiatus for 2 years since they went over their quota logging,they want to be responsible and respectful to the environment. It was interesting learning about their business and culture. It’d be really cool if they opened a small inn there (we’d love to come back and stay if we had the option). Before we set out in search of grizzlies, we cleaned up in their floating logging hotel. See, add a guest hotel, please?
We were lucky we got to see three grizzlies. It was raining and when it rains the river swells. When the river swells, the grizzlies prefer to stay on land and wait for the water to recede, then they’ll go fishing again. The bear platforms were enclosed and sheltered from the rain but our furry friends wanted us to stand on the open bridge and watch them. We felt 100% safe the whole time, just listen to your guide and don’t do anything like run away (for wildlife precautions click here), that’s how the animals and humans get hurt (by not respecting nature and not knowing what to do). Our guides kept an eye on things all the time.
This is a small guy or big girl, we couldn’t tell. Male (boar) grizzlies can grow up to 600 kilos(1200-1400 pounds) and females (sow) can be 280 kilos (600 pounds). Females become sexually mature at 6 years old and they can have up to one to four cubs; it doesn’t mean all cubs have the same Dad. Alpha males will kill other males, often times they will kill cubs that don’t smell like them. A female grizzly will fight to death for her cubs, they even chase off males. Gary thinks female grizzlies are tougher than male.
Grizzlies come in assorted colors not just brown, they can be dark like almost black, blond, two tone, brown, there are many variations in color.
It’s so cool seeing the pads of our bear friend’s feet.
It was very relaxing standing, watching the grizzly fish. It did get a little gruesome when the bear ripped off the skin and the body started flopping around again; nature has a vicious cycle for some.
So much beauty, not a sound except the rain falling and the river rushing.
We have a real treat in the next post.