As I am sitting here putting together my scrapbook about Knight Inlet, I decided to do a review of our great trip there. It is long because I want all readers to experience our trip and know what to expect. My husband, daughter, a friend of my daughter’s and I went to Knight Inlet on a 5 night package starting on September 27 with our arrival in Campbell River. We spent our day going to the Museum at Campbell River and wandering around downtown. The museum is well worth going to. My daughter had read about a store specializing in local First Nation’s artisans. She is collecting masks from around the world and she wanted a bear mask from British Columbia. She purchased a beautiful mask from a new artist.
Next morning Harold arrived in his “bear” bus to take us to the seaplane dock. There is a cute chain saw carving outside the waiting area of a sea plane with an eagles head, very photo worthy. The trip was brief, the scenery was beautiful and we arrived at Knight Inlet Lodge to find a welcoming crew. Casey and Finnegan, the lodge dogs greeted us also. Dean gave us a talk about what to expect and what rules we were expected to follow. There were wonderful snacks, especially the Nanaimo Bars which I will speak of later.
We checked into our rooms (very rustic, but trust me, you will be there only to sleep) and then donned gear located in the Equipment Room and went on a short Estuary Tour with Megan as our guide. As soon as we reached the area close to the mouth of the river, we saw Bella and her two cubs. Bella is a bear who stays in the area all year, so just about everyone who goes to Knight Inlet will see her. We also saw bald eagles. This was the beginning of a wonderful trip!
We went back to the Lodge where we had a wonderful lunch. All the lunches served that week were great comfort food, first day, hamburgers and fries, second day, shepherds pie, third day, ham and cheese sandwiches on the boat on the Marine Tour, fourth day, chicken pot pie and macaroni and cheese. Accompanied by salad and great desserts. Plenty of food. Very important to me.
That afternoon we went on our first Bear Tour to the Weir Stand, Dean was our guide. We took the boat across the inlet and walked to the bus that would take us to the stands. Our guide encouraged us to holler out “Hey, bear! Hey, bear!. This noise would keep the bears away (hopefully) until we reached the bus. As we approached the first channel, we saw a mom and her two older cubs just poking their heads out of the water watching us. We saw them at that same spot every time we did a Bear Tour. And we saw lots of bears on this tour. Our next tour was the Inlet Tour with Bob. We saw lots of scenery and he told us about the history of the area. I was intrigued by the tsunami story. You will hear that one. We then went back to the Lodge and got ready for dinner.
Cocktails were served in the bar area in back of the dining hall. The local beer is great. They charge for the cocktails and the money raised goes toward purchasing a lottery ticket for a license to shoot a grizzly (which obviously does not get used if the Lodge wins one!) Great appetizers each night, especially the Dungeness crab and prawns. Wine comes with dinner. Red or white. Okay, but not great. The first dinner we had was carved grilled tenderloin and grilled halibut with all the fixings. Dessert was gingerbread cake. Every meal was great. There was always a choice of fish and meat for the people who do not do seafood. During the cocktail hour, one of the guides would come around and assign the tours for the next day. The people staying the shortest time would get priority on what they wanted to see. Since we were there for four nights, we saw everything.
Breakfast was early at 6:30, plenty of food. Outside there were harbor seals on the jetty. They would leave when the sun came up and return at night. That day we did back to back bear stands. The Finger Stand first and then the Weir Stand. Lots of bears! In the afternoon, we did the Tracking Tour and got to help Christina release coho salmon into the river. We then did a longer Estuary Tour with Megan. There was a neap tide that afternoon and we were able to go further up the river than Megan had ever gone. As we reached a sandbar on which there were at least a dozen bald eagles flying around and feeding, we had to turn around. And to our surprise, about 15 feet away was a mom and cub. I do not know who was more surprised! Mom was chuffing so we got out of there quickly (after taking pictures). When we reached open water we saw a black bear walking along the edge of the water. We followed it almost all the way back to the Lodge.
Third day was Marine Tour. Bob was our captain and guide. This was an all-day tour going up into Johnstone Strait. We stopped at a place called Lagoon Cove where we did rest rooms and talked to the woman who ran the place. We then headed out past some abandoned First Nation’s settlements, and some interesting petroglyphs which may have been created around the time the English arrived in the BC area. Bob was obviously a history buff because he knew a lot about the history of the area. He wanted to take us to a museum somewhere out there, but everyone wanted marine life so that is what we did.
Our first sighting was of a dall’s porpoise, then we saw two colonies of stellar sea lions. Later we saw nine whales, then we came to a large school of white-sided dolphins who were swimming around the boat. Bob said “Watch this!” And he raced the boat across the water. The dolphins followed us, jumping out of the water. It was incredible!! Our last sightings (and one which Bob did not think we would see) were six orcas.
Next day we did double bear stands in the morning and in the afternoon I did the rainforest walk and everyone else in my party went on another estuary tour and a final bear stand. The walk is not for the meek. Alex our guide was terrific and told us many stories about settlers in this area. The walk was up and down on uneven ground, he told us at least the equivalent of five stories in all. There had been a tremendous storm earlier in the week and a lot of the established walkways had been washed away. We walked from the dock to the Kuliwati River. We saw a mink on a rock. That night after dinner my daughter and friend stalked the river otters who live under the lodge and got some great pictures.
You do not have time to get bored at Knight Inlet. You are kept busy from 6:30 a.m. until you fall into bed. After dinner there was always a talk going on. We all slept wonderfully.
Next morning there was time for a brief tour, estuary, kayak, etc. As you leave on the seaplane, if you sit on the right side, watch out the window after the plane turns. You can get an excellent view of the spawning channels from the air.
This trip was everything we expected and more. The Lodge provides all the protective gear, the boots, hats, coats, life preservers/coats. The food is first class, the guides are knowledgeable and friendly, the staff is great! What ever length of time you are able to go for, do it.
And the Nanaimo Bars. A dessert apparently that was a winner of a baking contest in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island which has become the unofficial cookie of British Columbia. A confection to die for (beware of the calories!). I got the recipe off the internet and made them for a potluck party I went to over the holidays. People were looking for more. Make sure you try one.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Knight Inlet Lodge is Canada's premier grizzly bear viewing destination. With over 15 years of experience and a world wide reputation for excellence we are the place to see grizzly bears in British Columbia. Our remote floating lodge has 16 guests rooms and offers a full range of activities for our guests including hiking,kayaking, marine wildlife tours, tracking and whale watching. Open from mid May until mid October with pacakges starting on any day of the week. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Knight Inlet Hotel Glendale Cove
- Knight Inlet Resort All Inclusive
- Knight Inlet Lodge Canada/British Columbia