The Rainforest Grizzlies of Khutzeymateen Brittish Columbia
Just returned from an amazing trip to the Rain-forest Grizzlies of Khutzeymateen. It was a quite intense experience due to the fact that on the last day before leaving to Prince Rupert BC I got a very bad cold. Getting up on the day to check in to the last Seaplane flight to Khutzeymateen National Park was a challenge but I managed to be spot on time arriving at the Seaplane harbor. I reduced heavily my luggage by leaving stuff behind in the Hotel in Vancouver and in Prince Rupert to travel as light as possible. After a short flight (about 25 minutes) we arrived at the entrance of the Khutzeymateen Inlet where already the boat and zodiac was waiting for us. We just dropped the luggage and jumped back into the Zodiac to look for Bears. This was the program of the following 3 days - Getting up early and jumping into the Zodiac searching for the bears and spending time with them. A small breakfast in the morning a Soup or Sandwich at lunch and really excellent food (fish or steak) for Dinner was the fuel to survive the days.
Rain-forest could not better describe the Location - An inlet surrounded by beautiful dense forest and rain day in day out! This is quite challenging in a Zodiac trying to get your Gear and yourself as dry as possible. But after the first view minutes or hours you simply accept this challenge and make the best out of it. Proper Rain Clothes was essential and it was great that we were able to use fishing rain clothes to add to the light rain clothes I was bringing over.
Following some shots of the bears I was able to take and much more still waiting on my hard-drive to be worked on ...
For me for sure another hight light was to be able to photograph a Mink in his habitat and this is not an easy exercise - moving boat + agile and fast moving Mink + just a few minutes of sighting not ideal but I enjoyed it very much and really love the habitat with the beautiful alga covered stones and branches.
The other common sighting was Bald Eagles - they was hanging out in the branches waiting for a catch or simply investigating these stupid humans in the Zodiac while raining.
We saw these Eagles hunting "fish" quit often but not really nearby to take a photo but on the last day we was in the surrounding when we saw an Eagle going down for a catch. When we got closer with the zodiac we saw the catch of the day was no fish it was a Mink fighting for his life. The next second we saw that this catch not only attracted us also a Bear nearby was running over to polish his lunch. The Eagle was quite relaxed until the bear was only a view steps away but than tried to escape in a rush and dropped the mink while doing so. So long story short .... The Bear saved the life of the Mink.
I will add some more pictures if I find time.
Your may ask yourself why did he mentioned the luggage in the opening section and here we go! On the day of departure from the Inlet to Prince Rupert the weather turn really mystic with fog and low hanging clouds - we left the boat early in the morning to get by zodiac to the place where the Seaplane is allowed to land (approx 40 min) and yes the rain was with us again. After 2,5 hours we got the notification (No Cellphone network or similar is available) that the Seaplane is not able to take off due to fog and they will try it at noon again. At noon the story happened again so finally no possibility to leave by Seaplane for the day! This was a serious problem for me as I had my connection flight back to Vancouver in the evening and the Flight back to Germany on the next morning. The solution was discovered at 2 pm - a speedboat taxi service of Prince Rupert! To make up some time we drove with the zodiac as far we could go without really getting into to high waves (about 1 hour or bit more) and changed boats in the middle of the sea. The speed boat was quite comfortable with a good cabin where we found time to relax and after 1,5 hour in the speedboat we got back into Cellphone coverage!
Here is why I like small Airports and Small Towns - You remember I left luggage in the Hotel in Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert Airport is on another island with a bus / boat shuttle service attached. I could convince the hotel to drop my luggage into the bus and our speed boat driver to drop me at the airport so I finally made it to catch my flight last minute! This would never be possible in a bigger city or airport!
Hope you enjoyed my article and never stop exploring yourself !