Spectacular Spring Eco Tours

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sonora guest Angela Ford agreed to share her experiences on an ecotour in late May. Angela and her husband, Jason, are yearly visitors to the resort.

It was a glorious day at Sonora as we climbed into the Eagle Master boat along with eight other guests.

Our guide was Aaron Nagler, who piloted the boat out past the sleepy seals lying on the warm rocks. We guessed that there were 50 of them, but Aaron stopped a moment to count. There were 138 sunbathing on the little island, with others splashing in the water. I just love the seals, with their dark eyes and curious faces.  

Our first stop was an active eagle’s nest. With our trusty binoculars, we could see one eagle fussing about the nest, perhaps tending to chicks. The other parent stood watch on a nearby tree, looking down at us as we floated below. That day we didn’t see the fuzzy heads of the chicks, so we continued on our way.

Our next destination was Bute Inlet on the British Columbia mainland. As a city dweller, I find Bute Inlet amazing—miles and miles of untouched shoreline, no houses, no development, just nature at its wildest.
As we meandered along the coastline, Aaron spotted an eagle swooping down into the water and carrying something up to an overhanging branch. It was a fish, and we watched transfixed as the eagle tore it piece by piece and ate it. The eagle knew we were there—he would look up and watch as we floated beneath him—but he was hungry too, and nothing would pull him away from his catch.

Around another bend, we struck gold. There on the shoreline was a spectacular black bear, digging under rocks for a low-tide snack.

Aaron piloted the boat quietly and carefully until we were about 20 feet away. With the sound of the water lapping against the side of the boat, we watched the bear dig, then look at us and stretch out in the sun. This magnificent animal appeared to be a young adult male, and we must have watched him for 15 minutes before quietly leaving him to his meal.

 It was exhilarating to see these animals so close, and it was a happy group that headed back to the resort. But the best was yet to come.

As we approached the mouth of Bute Inlet, we could see splashes as far as the eye could see. We had happened on a large school of dolphins, feeding and playing in the current.

Aaron carefully maneuvered the boat, and as we made our way, a dozen dolphins decided to play with us. They surfed the wake of the boat, some of them nestling by the bow for a fun ride. When we stopped, the dolphins darted around the boat, underneath and surfacing nearby. All around us, dozens more dolphins surfaced in groups of two and three. There must have been 100 of them, and it was a truly spectacular sight.

Here is a short video of the dolphins swimming in the wake. Two or three were on this side with another six or seven on the other side of the boat.

My husband and I are regular visitors to the resort, and this was the best ecotour yet. Each time we go out on the water, we are awestruck by the incredible natural beauty of the BC coastline. Spectacular.