2019: A Season to Celebrate


A grizzly bear grazing on sedge grass
A grizzly in spring grazing on protein-rich sedge grass. Photo: N Shearar

 

Northern Great Bear:
Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary

This is one of those places on the British Columbia Coast where we hope we can raise the sails. With a good and constant wind, we make way out of the port of Prince Rupert to our remote Sanctuary for the next few days.

Transient (Biggs) killer whales on the hunt British Columbia's north coast is one of those places where Crew hope to raise the sails. With a good wind, we make way out of the port of Prince Rupert to a remote estuary called the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. Only just a few vessels are permitted to venture where we go which makes visiting this off the map place so special.

The outer Islands always provide superb opportunities to explore with colourful spring flowers, nesting kittiwakes and a massive Steller sea lion haul out monitored by a few dozing "beach masters". These males appear to be as big as Volkswagen vans!. Transient (Bigg's) orcas patrolled the waters for inquisitive, juvenile sea lions, who found cover in between our towed zodiacs, hoping they would be forgotten by those apex predators of the sea.

Late May / June is a unique time to visit. It is mating season for this important population of grizzlies. The large males tend to spend their time upriver, foraging away from human contact. Now they beeline it for the estuary to find the females, some still have cubs. Bear behaviorist, Dr. Barrie Gilbert, provided our guests with all the answers (and punchlines) for an area he knows so well.

The dynamic suddenly changes with the arrival of the large male grizzly, from foraging and quietly to "the pursuit" - and the females are not always willing participants. Captain Neil captured one such occasion.

grizzly bearsPhoto: N Shearar
grizzly bearsPhoto: N Shearar
Grizzly BearsPhoto: N Shearar
Crew noted "lots of bears" and "lots of mating" this year – a good indicator that we will be in for more incredible bear viewing in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary in 2020...  ;)

Northern Great Bear/ Khutzeymateen
expeditions take place in late May/ June. Check out the sample Itinerary for more information on this unique wildlife expedition. BOOK NOW!


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