This Was the Highlight of Our Vancouver Island Grizzly Bear Tour

Of the 21 grizzly bears we spotted that day, this playful young cub left the biggest impression.

Grizzly bear cubPhoto: Tony Joyce

The Most Memorable Moment of Our Grizzly Bear Tour on Vancouver Island

In September 2016, after booking booking a grizzly-bear tour, my wife Michelle, sister-in-law Shannon, and I headed to Vancouver Island. While out exploring the island, we spotted seals, sea lions, mink, eagles and even some black bears catching fish.

On the morning of our bear tour, we met up at the docks, where we boarded a small boat to begin our journey north. The sun was shining and the view along the way was spectacular.

When we arrived at a remote area along the Orford River, our Homalco First Nations bear guides greeted us. They spoke about their land, the bears and about safety precautions and rules to follow while we were with the bears.

Our first bear sighting happened not long after we arrived; he was on the other side of the river digging under the rocks for salmon roe. Our guides took us to different parts of the river to find bears and over the course of the day we ended up seeing 21 grizzlies.

The bear in the photo below was a young grizzly; he was trying to play with his two sisters but they chased him off. He decided to make his own fun and began chasing fish. He wasn’t eating—he was playing with them, splashing around in the water before catching one. He picked up the fish and began spinning around in the water, hugging the salmon!

After having some fun with this fish, he ran out of the water, picked up the remains of some spawned salmon and began flinging them into the air.

This little bear was the highlight of my day. Every time I look back at the photos, they put a smile on my face and bring me right back to that moment.

I am counting the days until we return to see the grizzlies again.

Don’t miss these spectacular shots from Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary!

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