Xowox, the North Wind, was angry. It had been raining for an entire week and he was finally fed up. With all his might he swooped down from the North and swept the the clouds away, bringing with him cold air and rough seas. The Homalco First Nation people do not speak of him for if they do he will bring with him all of the afore mentioned troubles. Homalco loosely translates to "People Of The Swift Waters".
It was a clear morning as I left Parksville and headed north toward Campbell River on my way to my last guided adventure of the season. It was still dark and the constellation of Orion was setting in the western sky while dawn's first light could be seen in the east. I had been booked and rebooked several times but this finally was it. My only concern was that the high north winds from the previous evening had created high seas too rough to be handled by the our vessel and the trip would be cancelled at the last minute.
After stopping for a hearty breakfast in Campbell River I headed down to the docks and found out that the trip was on. We left on time and navigated the sometimes choppy waters on our way to the Bute Inlet. Upon entering Bute Inlet the seas were the roughest on this trip but i had seen much worse on other occasions and so we entered the Orford River estuary. We were not disappointed. Two grizzlies were hanging out there in search of food, keeping a respectable distance from each other. We anchored in the estuary and had lunch on the boat before heading to the dock.
At the dock we climbed onto one of the busses and, after a short stop at the Interpretive Centre, headed to a series of observation platforms from where grizzlies could be observed. There were Chum salmon in the river but the bears were not fishing for them. They all seemed to be heading up the river and there were many great photo opportunities. Upon return to the Interpretive centre we spotted a grizzly, which was on its way inside the camp. Once it spotted the bus it disappeared into the trees, waiting to reappear once the coast was clear.
After a short short stop at the Interpretive Centre we returned to the dock in just time to witness what happens when people are careless. Someone had left a cooler with food out on the rear deck of our boat and one of the the grizzlies had claimed it as his prize. he had ripped the lid off its hinges and was in the process to devour some fruits and granola bars, which had been the content of the cooler. The bear was chased away but remained in the vicinity to reclaim its prize should the opportunity arise.
By now the wind had turned and came now from a more westerly direction. The waves had died down somewhat and our return trip was fairly smooth sailing and uneventful. We stopped along the way to look at some sea lions and harbour seals before finally returning to Campbell River.
As I drove down the highway back to my home in Parksville light slowly gave way to darkness and the constellation of the Big Dipper was rising in the eastern sky.
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