I have already shared of some of the wildlife images from my recent trip to Canada however the animals are so spectacular it is worth sharing somemore.
The majority of the encounters were during the stay at King Pacific Lodge in the Great Bear Rainforest on the north west Pacific coast. It is a great location for wildlife spotting, within a few hours of arriving I had seen several bald eagles, a family of otters and most excitingly a wolverine!
The following day a humpback whale and a fast moving pod of orcas were ticked off, all guests of the lodge were being treated to once in a lifetime experiences. Taking an open canoe trip to a nearby cove which is a favourite spot of black bears provided the only disappointment. The bears did not come down to the woods that day.
They also hang out in some of the other coves and inlets at low water although unfortunately not during my visit, I would have to wait until Whistler for a glimpse of a bear.
The lodge is also an amazing destination for salmon fishermen, as the sheer number and size of fish which are caught on rod and line daily is astounding. During my periods of whale watching the opportunity to try my hand was too tempting and I caught around 10 decent sized fish. In agreement with my guides however a strict catch and release policy was employed so there are not any pictures of me posing with these beautiful fish.
Thankfully this policy is encouraged by the guides so most of the fish caught even on all the boats are hopefully returned. There is also a limit on the number of Chinook salmon that boats and individuals can keep and the fish kept must be recorded on the fisherman’s licence. It is also possible to catch tasty halibut here and several were brought back for the dinner table.
Bald eagles are relatively common here, they can often be observed sitting high in a tree scanning their territory for a possible meal. They are searching for signs of distressed fish near the surface and sometimes snatch smaller fish which have been released by an angler, especially the rockfish which are often caught in error.
Animals are unpredictable, capturing good images of them in the wild is a challenge, they almost never stay still long enough, always seem to move at just the wrong moment and seldom provide the exact image the photographer is looking for. Wildlife photographers usually spend many weeks in location and display admirable patience waiting for hours to capture a saleable image.
As travellers we are seldom afforded this time and our glimpses of the wildlife are fleeting. This was driven home for me when on two seperate occasions I came across black bears on fast moving cable cars in Whistler. The first encounter was a mother and two cubs in a fully enclosed car, I’m not sure if the lack of focus is due to the fast cable car, scratched windows or my excitement!
The second time was a lone bear from an open chair but by the time he came within range of my lens he had already turned away providing me with a great shot off his ass. Slightly frustrating from a photographic viewpoint and my apologies for the uninspiring images but they were more exciting from a personal one.
Neither occasion afforded an opportunity to get close to the animals and all shots were taken from some distance. It was with some regret that I discovered there was a bear watching safari in 4×4 vehicles available twice each day. However unfortunately it was already too late for me to arrange to join one. Next time maybe.
Having the opportunity to witness some of the fantastic wildlife and wilderness of Canada was very special. It was not my first encounter with bears or bald eagles but the family of river otters was a first in the wild and the wolverine was a lifetime ambition achieved.
Every moment spent in these areas of wilderness in the company of the wildlife however big or small took my breath away. They never last long enough however always too fleeting but that is what makes them so special and exciting. They do not act in the way we require them to, they do not perform for our pleasure. Just spending a few minutes being able to watch them often remains with us forever.
Getting to close to a lone wolf in the enclosure at the base of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver was special too but although it it was within a few feet of me, it was also a little sad to see this beautiful animal in captivity.
Hopefully it will not be the last time I am privleged enough to spend sometime in this stunning habitat getting up close and personal with all of these magnificent creatures.