🙂 Wild. Remote. Perfection.
🙁 The lodge sadly burnt down in September 2012. This place could not be faulted – Simply Incredible.
The lodge was originally a floating logging camp built up in the Queen Charlotte Islands to log spruce during the Second World War. The lodge was then acquired and became a fishing destination and then a wildlife lodge with the owners described as ardent champions of grizzly bear and salmon stewardship and conservation in Knight Inlet and the Broughton Archipelago. A new floating lodge has since been transported to the location in March 2013.
After spending the night on Vancouver Island we were up at 07h00 and enjoyed blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Heron’ Landing owners have the monopoly for Knight Inlet – very friendly people. We followed Grizzly Tours to the airport and boarded our small seaplane. At first it was highly exciting but very soon it became apparent that the pilot was worried as he had sweat streaming down his face and the plane kept dropping 15m in strong cross winds – my video camera thought it had been dropped! Paul was sweating, Charlotte and I held hands and I giggled which really annoyed Trent as he was terrified. The other passengers were vomiting into bags. The flight should have taken twenty minutes but took 40mins! When we disembarked the pilot told the lady greeting us that he thought he had lost the plane twice and could scarcely believe that we had not crashed….
We were assigned Rooms 7 & 8 which had lovely views of the inlet. We were immediately escorted to fit our red boiler suits and given an orientation briefing. We boarded a boat with another family from the UK and headed to the estuary which was literally a few minutes from the lodge. We were immediately rewarded with a sighting of a blonde bear, an older male grizzly and in the distance another grizzly! We were SO excited! Our guide on the boat was called Jasmine and unfortunately she did not appear to have a clue about anything despite this being her second season – unable to answer any questions asked by our group and seemed bored and disinterested … The two other boats stayed out much longer than we did and they got right up close to the bears which she did not even attempt to do… Ho, hum. It was still a very thrilling experience to see the bears! When we disembarked the whole group were united and aghast at how utterly crap she was and we all hoped that we would not have her again,
When we got back they served delicious carrot cake – yum – as well as Nainamo bay chocolate cake topped with cream – double yum! After lunch we boarded another boat and headed down into the Knight Inlet for a scenic tour. Because of the rain there were many gorgeous rainbows and the waterfalls were in full flow. It was really stunning with mist hovering in the valleys above the turquoise water… Thank goodness we had Darryl guiding us – complete contrast to the previous FW. Informative, funny, interesting and interested … just as a guide should be. We were so happy. We got very wet when he made us drink from the ‘spirit’ water which is considered to be the elixir of life for eternal youth. Spotted some seals just chilling.
Headed back swam and went in the hot tub, wrote diary and sipped a gin and tonic and chatted to a lovely Aussie couple who had been on sea plane called Tony & Billy. Caitlyn obsessed with swallow chicks!
We then had a shower and were served the most AMAZNG appetisers we have ever tasted – the freshest and most delicious crab! DIVINE. We ate SO much! We then thoroughly enjoyed the presentation by Jamie on Antarctica – inspired us to visit there! We sat and chatted on our balcony with seals splashing and squawking at each other next to us…. Pure bliss. Asleep by 22h00.
We at breakfast at 07h00 and then joined a boat with AJ – there were only the six of us as we had signed up to go in search of the Orcas in the Johnstone Straight. It was to be a long boat journey and we were having a little nap… then we spotted what looked waves and realised that it was in fact a pod of Pacific White Sided Dolphins – they were playing in the wake of the boat and swimming behind us- fantastic! There were bout 20 dolphins with babies and they were having so much fun!
We continued and entered the Johnstone Straight with eager anticipation… and we immediately spotted the orcas! There were about 12 females and one enormous male – a great pod – hoorah! They were asleep and AJ told us that they switch off one side of their brain and move as one rhythmically rising to breath / spout and then submerging again.We spent two hours with them just watching and hoping that they would wake up – so amazing. Mesmerising.
They then headed into Michael Biggs conservation zone so we couldn’t stay with them so we disembarked for lunch on a scenic little island where we ate sandwiches, cake and fruit and soft drinks. Then we went crabbing which everyone loved. Lots of crabs had just shed the exoskeletons. Hopped back on board and then stopped off at Telegraph Cove where there is an interesting Museum and conservation exhibit. Huge skeleton of a blue fin whale which had caught in the propellor of a cruise liner. Informative and friendly staff. We collected a load of freshly caught prawns for our snacks back at camp that evening.
It started pouring with rain but we headed back to Johnstone Straight to see whether the Orcas had woken up. They had! They were breaching and tail slapping and eye hopping. We were so absorbed in watching them that we actually forgot to take photos!! Some people on kayaks literally passed so close to them that they could have reached out and touched them. AJ dropped a microphone in the water and we could hear them communicating and singing and clicking to each other – goosebumps. The whales then headed back into the protected reserve and it was time for us to leave – one of the most magical times of our lives – incredible.
It was a cold and wet journey back to camp where we had a a quick shower. Dinner and a glass of wine before an interesting talk on dog sledding. We went fishing and a black bear passed right behind us! We were chatting at 21h00 in our room and a grumpy man told us to be quiet! Well, to spite him the sea otters payed noisily around us all night – Paul thought i was grizzlies making all the noise!
Another exciting day ahead of us! Up at 06h00 and headed off after breakfast to the Weir Standing Platforms – FANTASTIC! Firstly, the surroundings are magnificent – absolutely stunning with the morning mist rising on the water. We climbed up into the safety of the platform.
We saw 11 bears in total. First off a Mama Bear and cub fishing right beneath us. In the distance we could see another Mama and her two cubs. There were two large males swimming and fishing separately. One of the males swam up to the female and her two cubs – she looked agitated but fortunately he just walked past her. Then she left with her cubs and the two males came over to where they had been and were sniffing around. She returned and they moved off.
We then moved to another stand – a big bear started to swim and dive beneath us – she swam for 15m – AJ said he’d never seen that before. She did this several times and then joined her cubs who were sitting next to another Mama and her cub. Another male turned up.
The Mama with one cub caught a fish and shared it with her cubs – we did not take many photos as we were so enthralled!
There were literally thousands of salmon! Some with injuries exposing their pink flesh. AJ said this could potentially have been from seals.
After 2.5 hours on the stands we reluctantly left. AJ took us on a ‘tracking’ trip. He showed us the bear ‘day dens’ and their ‘rub trees’. We saw and sniffed different scat: salmon scat is grey and stinks! Berry poo is red and is almost entirely composed of berries and does not smell as bad. Sedge looks just like horse poo! Saw HUGE bear tracks under the old log bridge.Also saw sika deer and bald eagles. AMAZING.
Had lunch at the lodge and chatted to a lovely couple from England and the wife was Swedish. After lunch we went on a rainforest hike with darryl. As we were approaching to moor the boat we saw a black bear at the exact spot that we wanted to stop at. Fortunately it ran off. We hopped off the boat and at darryl’s instruction were singing and shouting ‘hey Bear’ to frighten it! As we approached the salmon spawn in the forest we saw another black bear! he was so busy concentrating on the salmon heading up stream that he had not even noticed us! he looked us in the eye for a few seconds and then turned around and lumbered off. We headed to the waterfall and ate cookies and oranges. Very interesting walk with Darryl who showed us al sorts of fungus, berries and other flora – just lovely.
By the time we got back to camp we were absolutely drenched so we had lovely hot showers! The girls wanted to do some fishing.
Headed over for our appetizers and enjoyed a glass of wine. AJ did a really interesting talk on salmon and their lifecycles. We had a good laugh at the size of AJ hands and feet – size 14! Paul wondered over to a BBC crew who were there to film the salmon run for the TV series Nature’s Great Events. He got chatting to the cameraman, Justin and asked him if he knew our friend Yvonne…he confirmed that he did and asked whether Paul was perhaps married to her South African friend, Tracy!! LOL> Small world. So Paul introduced us and we had a lovely evening chatting about various filming assignments – very interesting. (He subsequently came over for a Sunday roast with us and Yvonne when he was in the UK wrapping up the filming production). Chatted to anther family from Leeds – he is a professional rugby player. Caitlyn completely obsessed with swallow chicks.
We wrote our diary and chatted before going to sleep.
We skipped breakfast the next morning as too hungover. Exchanged photos with AJ. The seaplane journey back was completely smooth and only took 20mins vs the 45min of terror on the way in. We were sad to leave but were taking incredible memories of a magnificent stay.
Go Back to: Vancouver
Go to: Big Bar Dude Ranch