26 Sep Into (and out of) the Great Bear Rainforest: Part 2
I ended my 2019 photo tour season in mid-September with my final trip into the Great Bear Rainforest. The Great Bear Rainforest is special to me because it’s the first place I visited on the BC Coast, and is the trip that got me started down the path of leading photo tours.
I lead this second trip just after one week off from the previous trip, and I was headed in with some expectations based on my experience the week prior. The salmon run on most of the streams and rivers we visited was going very strong, especially compared to my previous year, which could have been partly attributed to the fact that I was there about one month earlier than I normally go.
During the trip we were treated to a variety of bears. Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, including moms with cubs and even the rare Spirit Bears. Our Spirit Bear sightings didn’t come easy, the first one we saw only showing up for a brief moment near the end of the day, and then wandering back into the forest. Our other sightings allowed us a little more time with the Spirit Bears, like this Spirit Bear that put itself through the “Spin Cycle” trying to dry off, after a failed fishing attempt. Despite going to the Great Bear Rainforest every year since 2014, I still find every Spirit Bear sighting rare treat, and I am as excited as the first time I saw one.
Another highlight of the trip was just the number of mother bears with cubs (both black bears and grizzly bears). There were a couple of instances where there were more than one mother with cubs around us at the same time. And it was incredible to see how trusting some of these mother bears were (of both species). Some brought their cubs out around us, and even allowing the cubs to be closer to us than they were to their mother, which shows an incredible amount of trust by the mothers.
But as always, the trip is not only about finding bears. My favorite thing about this trip is that you never know what you are going to see, especially when it comes to the “not bears” species. One of the most unique experiences I think we had is the opportunity to closely photograph a Great Blue Heron as it fished from kelp. Besides being able to closely watch and photograph the Great Blue Heron, I also appreciated that our expert guide, and group, was able to leave the Great Blue Heron as it continued to fish, so we did not impact on the fishing.
We also had a couple opportunities to photograph Bald Eagles, Humpback Whales, and Harbor Seals along our travels and while out in the zodiac.