I turned 40 a few months ago. I spent a lot of year 39 thinking about turning 40 and wanted to mark the occasion with something memorable. Last November, I googled “bear watching” as I’ve loved (and been terrified) of bears since I was about five years old when there was a bear in our campground at Banff National Park.
I’ve watched documentaries about bears where you see people taken up close and personal with them and thought it would be amazing to do that, but never really thought it would be something I’d do. As I began doing more research, I found a charter company out of Vancouver called Ocean Adventures that do all sorts of interesting trips off the coast of Northern British Columbia, one called Inlets of the Grizzly which was right up my alley! Added to the attraction was the very small group size (there were four guests and three crew members) on a 54 foot ship. As I looked into it more, I was hooked. The only issue was whether or not I wanted to spend my limited travel budget on one trip.
When I went home for Christmas, my dad surprised my brother and I with cheques from my Great Aunt Edy’s estate (she passed away last spring). As soon as I opened the envelope, I knew what I was going to do with the money. At the beginning of January, the trip was booked, and the long wait until June began!
It ended up being an experience that was everything I’d hoped it would be. It was just fantastic in every way. Over the next little while, I’ll be sharing pictures and stories. My plan is to post a couple of times a week until my pictures and stories of the trip are exhausted!
So to begin…
The seaplane that would take us to a small aboriginal fishing village called Hartley Bay to meet the boat to begin our trip, left from Prince Rupert so we arrived two days ahead to have a day to explore the town. Prince Rupert is a small port city (population is about 15 000) that is 770 kilometres north of Vancouver. Flights land on Digby Island so to get to Prince Rupert, you get off the plane and onto a bus (luggage is loaded up in a van that follows the bus), which then gets on the ferry to Prince Rupert. The bus and cargo van stop at a local hotel and then you find your way from there. According to Google maps, the hotel was just 2km away so we decided to walk instead of taking a taxi since we’d been on and off planes for eight hours to get there. Carrying 40 pounds of luggage (the allowable limit for the seaplane portion of the trip) down main street was quite an adventure and I was a sweaty sight when checking into the hotel! (My normal suitcase is on wheels, but because of the weight limit, I was carrying a duffel bag).
Anyway, Prince Rupert is a really pretty town and because of far north it is, the sun didn’t set until about 10:30 so there was lots of time to enjoy wandering the town and the setting sun over the Hecate Strait.
After a brilliantly sunny day, the morning we were to leave from the Seal Cove Seaplane Base was very foggy so we were delayed a couple of hours, but it made for a great photo op! This was the first time I’ve been on such a small plane (a De Havilland Beaver). I was a bit anxious about it beforehand, but I’m sitting here in my living room, so I guess it got us there and back safely! It was very loud and a bit cramped, but the view was outstanding.
Ended up being a very scenic trip to Hartley Bay! My next post will include a few more shots from the seaplane.