Outer Shores Photo Tour 2014: Pacific Rim National Park

Outer Shores Photo Tour 2014: Pacific Rim National Park

Day 2 – Bears, Fish Traps and Tidepools

Day 2 of the photo tour began with participants delaying their own breakfasts in the hope that we might see a bears enjoying theirs. Not long after sunrise, we motored quietly in the zodiac back to the estuary. The tide was incredibly low, forcing us to beach the zodiac and slog through the mud on foot for quite a distance. Our trek was soon rewarded however, as we immediately spied a large healthy looking black bear deep in the estuary.

 

Relief for some, disappointment for others as the bear appears to be heading out of the estuary.
Relief for some, disappointment for others as the bear appears to be heading out of the estuary.

While we tried to be as quiet as possible (how quiet can one be walking through sucking mud?!) and spoke in low tones, we made no effort to hide ourselves. We stuck together in a group out in the open where the bear could clearly see, hear, and smell us. If we were going to view the bear it was going to be on its terms, not ours.

Initially the bear appeared that it was going to leave and forage in a different area, but after having a good long sniff of our scent it seemed to decide we were no threat and actually began ambling towards us up our side of the river.

 

Consternation for some, excitement for others as the bear walks down river towards us.
Consternation for some, excitement for others as the bear walks down river towards us.

 

Thankfully it crossed and gave us a great close up show of classic bear foraging: casually flipping rocks with one paw it would have taken 2 of us to lift and hoovering up small crustaceans and fish underneath. The group returned to the Passing Cloud caked in mud and exhilarated with the experience!

 

Cheers by all as the bear crosses the river but elects to forage directly in front of us.
Cheers by all as the bear crosses the river but elects to forage directly in front of us.
A classic west coast scene: black bear, crows, and a sea star.
A classic west coast scene: black bear, crows, and a sea star.
Doing what bears do best...
Doing what bears do best…
It was clear throughout our encounter our presence was no secret to the bear.
It was clear throughout our encounter our presence was no secret to the bear.
One final pose for the cameras. We felt very privileged to have been allowed to share in this bear's morning activities.
One final pose for the cameras. We felt very privileged to have been allowed to share in this bear’s morning activities.

After hosing off and a hearty breakfast, it was off to Dodd Island to view some ancient fish traps. These are stone structures built thousands of years ago by native peoples to trap salmon and other fish in pools with the falling tide where they could be easily harvested. Given the huge tides we were getting, I felt this would be a great opportunity to capture the process using time lapse techniques. As you can see from the before and after images of my camera on its rocky perch, there was quite a difference in tide height!

My camera (on rock at left) and high tide, Dodd Island.
My camera (on rock at left) and high tide, Dodd Island.

 

 

The low tide version. Camera retrieval was much easier than placement!
The low tide version. Camera retrieval was much easier than placement!

The time lapse video can be viewed here (a new browser window will open):

Dodd Island Fish Traps

After an afternoon nap and image review, we returned to the fish trap area, rescued my camera and did some tide pooling as the sun set. All in all a jam packed day!

Tide pool, Dodd Island.
Tide pool, Dodd Island.
The tide pools were jam packed with life!
The tide pools were jam packed with life!
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