Knight Inlet Lodge has a limited supply of 2015 calendars featuring the photography of Shea Wyatt for sale. At only $25.00 Canadian these beautiful calendars make the perfect gift for the grizzly bear fanatic that you know and love. They can be shipped worldwide so email us at email@example.com for details and mailing cost.
The end of September is upon us, bringing golden light and cool autumn air to Glendale Cove. After several days of much-needed rain, the sun has found the cove again, shining down on several grizzly families feeding and wandering around the estuary. Guides Jason and Eddy (who some of our guests tend to mix up due to their dashing good looks, facial hair and similar wardrobes purchased from Mountain Equipment Co-op) enjoy a sunny afternoon with guests, watching a beautiful blonde mother bear with three cubs of the year.
Since the bears are well immersed in hyperphagia (or a state of over-eating) at this time of year, with adult grizzlies trying to take in up to 20,000 calories per day, it’s all about salmon at the moment! In order to prepare for months of fasting while in their hibernation dens, the coastal grizzlies bears are eating almost from sun up to sun down. Lots of bears, like this female grizzly, have been sighted cruising the estuary even at a high tide of 18.7 feet, searching for salmon carcasses that have floated down the river from the spawning grounds higher up. Free food, if you don’t have to chase down a fish to eat it. The more energy coming in with the least amount of energy expended results in fat, happy bears by the end of October.
Guests and guides have also enjoyed watching lots of tussling and tumbling cubs over the last couple of weeks – lots of food to go around means there’s a little more time for play! Here, 2 out of a 4-cub family have a good wrestle while one of their siblings keeps watch.
A couple of our favourite sub-adult females, nicknamed Flora and Lillian, are looking quite curvaceous at the moment – I spotted these two about a week ago out in the estuary. We look forward to the spring (a few years from now) when Flora and Lillian will hopefully be returning to the cove with cubs of their own.
Researcher John Kitchin has come up with an imaginative way to highlight the difference between bear viewing (good) and trophy hunting grizzlies (very, very bad).
He is getting guests and staff at Knight Inlet Lodge to have their photo taken holding both the camera they used to “shoot” the bear and a picture of the bear they “shot”. The idea is to share that photo with as many people as possible via twitter using the hashtag #ishotagrizzlybear and #stopthehunt in the tweet. He is also encouraging everyone to share it on Facebook, Instagram and any other way they can come up with.
The best thing about this is while everyone “shot” their grizzly bear it is STILL ALIVE FOR THE NEXT PERSON TO ENJOY!!! Need we say more?
To see some of the photos you can go to the stop-the-hunt Facebook page or join Knight Inlet Lodges twitter feed knightinlet. we are hoping this idea will really take off and help to bring more attention to our goal of stopping the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia.
July just flew by and August seems to be following suit this year. Hard to believe it’s the middle of August already! Time and tide wait for no one, this we know, but I for one always want to hold on to summer for just a moment longer.
The bear viewing through July and into the first half of August this season has been fantastic – our guides and guests have enjoyed glimpsing moments from the secret lives of bears… sightings of bear cubs nursing, even a female with four cubs! and our favourite movie star Bella with her yearling cubs.
Some of the warm afternoons have been spent lazily by the grizzly inhabitants of the area, we even caught some of them sleeping on the job!
The pink salmon arrived early to Glendale Cove this year, first appearing in July. As of August 11th, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans over-flight salmon count was up to 82,000 adult salmon that have returned to the Glendale so far. Pretty incredible! We’re still seeing lots of “jumpers” or jumping salmon holding off the river mouth and out around the cove as well. Looks like it may be a year of well-fed grizzlies.
A couple of interesting sightings of the avian kind have also occurred in Glendale Cove. We were lucky enough to see a couple of Semipalmated Plovers out on the beach for a few days in the end of July – a species that doesn’t normally inhabit Glendale Cove.
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels also arrived this year in larger numbers than I have seen in the last five seasons. We had over ten individuals fluttering around the Cove, sometimes coming very close to the Estuary tour boats. Lodge Manager Brian Collen managed to snap a quick picture while out on the water.
Normally these Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels are pelagic – found much further offshore – in the North Pacific Ocean, spending up to 8 months of the year out at sea. Their nesting areas run along the west coast of North America, from northern California up to Alaska. The British Columbian coastal breeding areas seem to be much further north than Knight Inlet.
We were lucky enough to view the Storm-petrels feeding on several occasions (most likely trying to feed on small fish or zooplankton) by hovering, dancing their feet along the surface of the water, and dipping their heads under the surface. Definitely neat to watch!
Moira Le Patourel
The start of our 2014 grizzly bear viewing season is fast approaching. This means all of the preseason and behind the scenes work to get the lodge ready for guests is well under way. As you can imagine there is a considerable amount of planning and work to get a floating lodge the size of Knight Inlet Lodge up and running after it’s winter hibernation.
Glendale Cove looks quite different in April from what it will in a couple of months. Spring has not yet arrived in full force so most of our trees and plants are just starting to bud out with new growth. The snowline is still quite low on the mountains and the air has a cool nip to it. While we don’t have any grizzly bears in the estuary as of April 15th they will soon be reappearing to entertain us. Somehow it is their presence that makes it finally feel like spring has arrived and the start of the season is at hand.
At 10:00 on April the 18th, 2013, I felt the need to pinch myself. Hard. Here I was, sitting in the back seat of a Land Cruiser barreling down the road in the sunshine, taking in the surrounding countryside of the greater Mfuwe area. Passing by a group of giraffes – which later, I was informed, is collectively called a “tower” – I knew my dream had come true; I was in Zambia.
I had dreamed of coming on this trip for years – Knight Inlet Lodge, the company I work for in British Columbia, Canada offers a guide exchange to Zambia, Africa with Norman Carr Safaris. Lucky enough to bring a “plus 1”, I had my boyfriend, Eamon, with me. With my background in wildlife and adventure tourism guiding, and Eamon’s background in Fisheries and the BC marine environment, we were ready to have our eyes opened on this 18-day, once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Bwalya, a young man who turned out to be our main guide during out stay (and one of our favourites), drove us from Mfuwe airport to Norman Carr Safaris’ Kapani Lodge. Upon arrival, we were met by many friendly faces; David Wilson, Mario, Ian, Abraham, Enoch, Judy and Josaphat among them. Brunch, on the deck overlooking the lagoon, was a splendid affair of lasagna, lentil salad, beet salad, tomato and onion salad and fresh bread. Following brunch, as the daily routine dictated, was rest period from 12:30 to 3:30. I thought I would be too excited to sleep, what with the baboons preening each other and playing just on the other side of our screened windows, but I thought wrong.
After enjoying cake and a cool drink several sleepy hours later – where we learned to protect our afternoon cake from the ever-so-quick baboons – Eamon and I were off on our first game drive into South Luangwa National Park. With Bwalya as our guide and Ben as our spotlight-er, we enjoyed seeing an incredible array of plant life, in addition to the abundant wildlife species. The wildlife we saw included Hippos, Hyena, Elephants, Puku, Bushbuck, Impala, Genet, Chameleon, Burchell’s Zebra and many species of bird, including Long-tailed Starling, Grey Heron, Egret, Sacred Ibis, Yellow-billed Stork, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Ground Hornbill, Nightjar, the American Fish Eagle and the Bateleur.
Back to the Lodge for dinner – another splendid meal – and with that the day was finished.
Up at 05:30 for breakfast with Bwalya and off on our second safari by 06:00, we enjoyed viewing and learning about many more species that South Luangwa had to offer; Crocodiles, Kudu, Little Bee-eaters, Red-billed Oxpecker, Woodland Kingfisher (one of my favourites), Lilac-breasted Roller, Mongoose, Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Indigo Bird, Porcupine, Civet, Wahlberg’s Eagle and the Tsetse fly, amongst many others. Around every corner was another surprise (or five). We made sure to pay attention to all the details – although how could you not? – Bwalya had promised to write us an exam to test our knowledge at the end of our stay.
The next five days at Kapani Lodge all melded into an incredible experience of game drives and night drives spent mainly with Bwalya – an incredibly passionate guide who noticed every detail of our surroundings and wowed Eamon and I with seemingly endless knowledge. Highlights from those days and nights include our first sighting of a Leopard (a big male – hunting, no less, and using our vehicle for cover) and viewing Alice, a female Leopard, and her two cubs at a fairly close range, while on foot on a walking safari with Laurence as our guide and Mishuk, our armed scout. A few nights later, we were extremely lucky to see Alice and her cubs eating after killing an impala. Once full, Alice came out of the bush where she had stashed the carcass and lay down, a mere 12 feet from our vehicle – wow.
In addition to the wildlife viewing, Eamon and I were also lucky enough to visit most of the NCS bush camps during our stay, and we able to help with construction at Innocent’s camp, Nsolo, and Aubrey’s camp, Kakuli, for a few days each. At Nsolo and Kakuli, I learned many new skills, including the cutting, bundling and combing of grass, thatching walls, attaching building and roof supports, how to artfully balance a 25-litre water bucket on my head, preparing and mudding floors, etc. All very important things to know, in order to get the bush camps ready for the upcoming season!
While staying in the bush camps, we learned a lot about life in Zambia via the construction crewmen and women, from the hardships faced by most people from the villages in the area, to the culture and customs of Zambian people. The ladies in Aubrey’s camp were surprised to learn I was not married nor had children of my own at the ripe old age of 23. I think they found it hard to believe that this was normal, where I came from. I shared some incredible laughs and great times and enjoyed telling tales of life in Canada; attempting to describe what my home province of British Columbia felt like, smelled like, sounded like. I’m sure some of them thought I was full of it! I know that Eamon and I were of some amusement to everyone in the bush camps at mealtime, especially our first few days – there is an art to eating Nshima (staple of the Zambian diet) and scooping up beans, cabbage and kapenta (dried sardines) successfully. By day 6 of eating Nshima, I think I had it!
Eamon and I were sad to leave the bush camps but had an unforgettable experience. We would miss the night-time symphony of hippos calling just outside the door and the laugh of the hyenas, the far-off rumble of lions roaring and the almost constant chorus of frogs – all coming alive under the African sky, littered with stars. I would especially miss the population of indoor frogs – oh the friends you can make in a bush camp bathroom!
We spent our last few days back at the Kapani Lodge, with our time divided between game drives and night drives with Charles and Joshua, and visits to the local school and clinic. While visiting the clinic especially, I had my eyes opened. I realize that coming from Canada and the world of Western medicine, we are more than privileged to have access to the modern facilities, equipment and specialists that are available at home. Talking to the nurse and the lab technician at the Mfuwe clinic, they walked us through the facilities and explained the achievements of the clinic in the recent years, and also the difficulties faced on a daily basis in regards to equipment, personnel, funding and storage of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals (with intermittent power failures), among many other issues. The clinic in Mfuwe is lucky to receive aid from Norman Carr Safaris and other safari companies in the area, and to have an international roving doctor come stay and work in the community for several months at a time.
Eamon and I were lucky enough to share our last dinner at Kapani with Gid and Adrian Carr, David, Mario, Ian, Caity and all the new bush camp hosts and hostesses that had just arrived from all over the world. Even a bushbaby and a Grysbok made a surprise appearance during the event. After an evening of great conversation and again, another incredible meal, we regrettably headed to bed after saying our goodbyes.
Up early again on our final morning for a last game drive before heading to the airport, I finally saw my lions! A brief glimpse, but we were lucky enough to spot two lionesses with three cubs before they melted away into the South Luangwa undergrowth.