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