August 19, 2013

Bear watching at Tofino

Ah, yes. Let's get up at five in the morning, in the dark and the cold, to see some bears. It seemed a good idea.

 Anyway, we took an excursion with one of the many tour operators offering all kinds of trips around Clayoquot Sound. We were the possibly the only Canadians aboard our boat, apart from the Captain. Most of the forty or so on board spoke German, Dutch or Italian. Even the Captain's first mate, speaking a form of English, hailed from the UK.

Initially it was difficult to see much of anything in the fog but it wasn't long until we saw the first of five black bears.

Bears like to come out early in the morning to turn over rocks along the shore to find a breakfast of shell fish. They don't seem to mind the boats but are extremely cautious of each other and like to keep their distance.

There is a population of about 120,000 black bears in Canada and 30 per cent of them have chosen BC as their permanent residence. Not all black bears are black. In BC one can see black bears that are actually blonde, brown and cinnamon. Sometimes a white black bear is spotted, and called a Kermode or Spirit Bear.

Adult males can measure up to 90 cm in shoulder height and approach of weight mass of 300 kg. Females are smaller with a maximum weight up to 140 kg.

A bonus for our tour of  the inlet, was seeing seals, then returning to shore to find a nice double espresso.

 All photos copyright 2013 by Jim Murray.

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