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Located 80 kilometres, or 50 air miles, north of Campbell River, British Columbia, is a wild and remote area of the Pacific Northwest known as Knight Inlet.
As the longest fjord on the BC coast, Knight Inlet offers visitors spectacular scenery set against a backdrop of dramatic mountain peaks plunging into the Pacific Ocean. Variegated hues of blues and greens seamlessly blend forest, ocean and sky. It can be a place of immense silence in the calm of the temperate rainforest and of immense power in the face of the many thundering glacier-fed waterfalls.
Situated 60 kilometres from the mouth of the inlet is Knight Inlet Lodge. Our floating lodge is tucked into Glendale Cove, which offers one of the few protected anchorages in the inlet, and it is here that you will begin each day’s adventure.
The lodge is an assortment of five modern cement floats containing 18 guest rooms, dining room, lounge, interpretive centre and support buildings. All rooms have two queen beds with private washroom and shower, except our family rooms which have one queen and two twin beds. The dining room has ample seating for 50 plus, a separate common area with comfortable seating and gas fireplaces where guests can mingle before and after a meal. At full capacity the lodge will hold 36 guests but during the summer the average capacity is between 32–38 including children.
Glendale Cove is home to one of the largest concentrations of grizzly (brown) bears in British Columbia. It is not uncommon for there to be up to 50 bears within ten kilometres of the lodge in the peak autumn season, when the salmon are returning to the river. Although they are abundant in the autumn, it is not the only season that grizzly bears can be found in Glendale Cove.
Starting in late April the bears return to the estuary from winter dens and start the year feeding on the sedges, succulents, grasses and barnacles that abound in our estuary. This luxuriant spring growth provides the basic nutritional needs for the bears, which draws them from the mountains down to the estuary. This is the time to see, at close proximity, the tiny cubs emerge with their ever-cautious mothers.
In the summer, the berry crop is very heavy and this helps keeps the bears in the general area. We do not get the high numbers of the spring and late summer/fall season viewing, but we usually see some bears every day.
We view the bears differently in different seasons. In the spring, we set out in boats so that we can get close to the shore (about 50 metres from it) and give our guests a good view of the bears feeding. We still remain far enough away so as to not disturb them.
Our early summer programme continues on the water as well, but if the opportunity arises there may be a chance to use our tree stands. By late August we move to our platforms at the spawning channel, although we continue to use the tree and river stands. In all of our viewing programmes our guest safety is of utmost importance. We strive to see the bears in their natural environment without having a negative impact on them.
As well as bear viewing, we also offer a number of other tours. Our marine wildlife tour is offered in all of the seasons that we operate but it changes greatly as the seasons change. In the spring, we travel throughout the inlet, viewing the seals, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins and the occasional minke whale that may travel though our waters.
From July onwards, our tours have the added attraction of the orca (killer) whale and when we journey to the world famous Johnstone Strait, we are almost assured of spending some great viewing time with these magnificent marine mammals. Not only do we view the whales, but our tour includes all of the spring marine viewing as well, so the programme lasts for up to ten hours.
In September, we add the humpback whale to our list of marine mammals as they start to arrive from Alaska on their way to Hawaii. The viewing of these gentle giants is infrequent, but when it does happen, it is spectacular.
In addition, we offer estuary tours, excursions to the upper reaches of Knight Inlet, and day trips to the Thompson and Bond Sounds. We offer great photographic opportunities on all of our tours, whether viewing birds, bears, other wildlife or scenics. We also offer day-hiking tours and guided kayaking tours in the estuary. These tours are great for the novice as we have doubles and singles and excellent guides to take you through the brief lesson and then get you on the water. In past years this has been one of our most popular ways to view wildlife.
There are no telephones or televisions at the lodge and there is no internet access.