Bears British Columbia

Prideaux Haven, Desolation Sound Marine Park

Saturday, October 01, 2011S.V. CAMBRIA

A black bear peaking out to take a look at us.

The first of October started off damp and dreary with thoughts of returning south to finish the season.  It was cold, dark and wet with rain – a triple threat to my sanity.  But shortly after I took Sally to shore, the sky began to break and the sun came out.  It was still chilly, but with the sun's help, warm enough to go out in kayaks for a while and get a bit of fresh air. 

We started our journey along the peninsula that forms the southern edge of Prideaux Haven and the northern shore of Melanie Cove (Melanie Point) but didn't hear anything – bears, we've learned, are not subtle (though they can be at a moment's notice).  We were on our way back into the lagoon where we saw him yesterday when I turned my head towards Cobblestone Island and saw him coming out to the shore out of thecorner of my eye – he had swum across the channel in search of food. 

We followed him around for a while but were disturbed by a skiff full of people scouring the shoreline for an angel statue they said is supposed to be here.  I can't say that we've ever seen (or heard about) anything like that,but to each their own.  We asked them to be quiet because the bear wasn't very happy when he saw us today and had retreated to the bushes to feed on blueberries; but apparently the word isn't in their vocabulary or that of the people standing on the bow of their mainboat, a 40 odd-foot Grand Banks that had been lurking about the area all morning (even going aground a time or two because they got too close to the reefs).  The added noise caused the bear to go deeper into the bush and we thought he left, so we went down the channel and into the Cobblestone Island lagoon in hopes that he'd show up there.  He didn't.  So we paddled out to Laura Cove and down the outside of Cobblestone ... still no sign.  It wasn't until we got back to the place where we originally saw him that we found him again – he hadn't left at all, just gone stealth. 

I followed him around to the northern shore taking pictures along the way (most of them out of focus) as he moved, looking up at me from time to time just to let me know that I'm only there because he's allowing me to be.  Meanwhile,the people on the Grand Banks are making a racket behind me while they explored an island singing "Jesus Loves Me."  Apparently, the bear has no affinity for music because he kept munching along not bothered by the offensive noise, stopping to makea snack out of some muscles on a fallen tree branch.  The times he's moving are some of the most incredible and frightening moments as he can come within ten feet of us, sometimes closer.  It's difficult to judge.  Your heart races.  Goosebumps appear.  And your hands shake from the extra adrenaline.  There's nothing you can do to control it – it's Mother Nature's high. 

The bear slipped back into the woods, so we went home to warm up ... just another amazing day in Prideaux Haven!  But now that the bear has moved from the mainland to an island, I'm more nervous about taking Sally to shore.  Up until a couple of days ago, I thought I would be able to scare a black bear from the area if we happened upon one, but after seeing the image of the lifeless animal hanging from its jowls the other day, it's clear I've been too nonchalant when taking Sally to shore.

On a side note, Environment Canada is forecasting southeasterlies in the Strait of Georgia north of Nanaimo which should change to northwesterlies on Wednesday.  We'll spend another day here before going back to Grace Harbour on Monday to set ourselves up to move south on Wednesday, both believing we're a little too far north for this time of year.

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