I was riding my bike downtown when a friend yelled out from his truck that a Orca pod had just gone through the harbour and more importantly was heading inside!

When they go on the inside inlets they are much easier to get shots of. On the outside after they sound, one never knows where they are going to surface but on the inside the passages are much more narrow and act like a cattle chute.

I hurried to get out in my boat! (which still took me over a hour) I had trouble finding them as no boats were tailing them by the time I arrived. I didn’t know If they had gone north into Fortune Channel or continued eastward down Tofino Inlet? I searched for about 3 hours but finally found them way down Tofino inlet past Barryman point. There were four of them! I immediately recognized them as the pod I had seen two weeks earlier! Almost right off the bat I saw three total breaches! I was lucky to get them! While I was consumed with getting the shots I didn’t notice that another pod of 5 had joined them. I was surrounded by them! They all seemed to be very happy! One of them came up behind me and vocalized! I’ve never heard a Orca speak before and was startled! I continued to hear many differently vocalizations! I wondered if they were upset with me being around them but soon realized that If they were they would not be hanging around and they would be avoiding me. They jumped out of the water,slapped their tails,rolled and talked loudly to each other!

I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing! I was with them over 2 hours and took 571 shots. I also took some video. I won’t be getting many more opportunities like this again!

I stayed with them right to sunset. I didn’t want to waste a single moment! I was over a hour away from town. I said goodnight and thanked them  as I accelerated. I could see off to my right one of them tail slapping more than three times in a row. I considered that to be them waving goodbye and goodnight!

On my way back I passed through Tsapee Narrows where the Daredevil lives. It was getting dark but not dark enough for me to be able to see the Daredevil flying towards me! He flaired right above me and a large feather immediately fell! I turned around and picked it up and thanked him!

The feather gift was the cherry to top off a excellent Orca shoot!



Last Friday I was on my way out to camp for a few days when a friend told me about a bear I’ve known for years. “Big Red” is the largest male bear out there. Nobody messed with “Big Red”!

I looked back into my archives to see how long I’ve known him? About 8 years as it turns out. I called him “Big Red” because of his rear end being reddish in colour. When bears get mange their hair falls out and when the new hair grows back in for some reason its a reddish colour.

“Big Red” was unusual,he would stop and stare at you like a human It was unnerving to be honest! I first met him years ago up in Fortune Channel. Most of the bears are there because of the crabs. After a year of being there he decided to move to quieter regions. It must of been all the bear watching boats? At any rate he moved to Rankin Cove where it was much quieter. Rankin is several miles east of Fortune Channel down Tofino inlet. He lived there year after year minding his own business.

Rankin cove is a old abandoned logging camp. There are 1/2 dozen trucks rusting there. Two of them actually work. (there are no roads to this spot,you need a barge to get a truck there) The West Coast Forest Society owns one. They use it to travel down the logging roads to plant trees. They brought two dogs with them one day. They said they wanted protection from bears. Anyone who knows anything about the bush knows you never ever take a dog into the bush (unless its very well trained and you can keep it quiet).

Big Red got spooked by these dogs. All dogs come from wolves originally. Bears and wolves are like cats and dogs,they hate each other. (A small pack of wolves killed a young bear two years ago at the top of the dock stairs in Rankin cove!) Big Red was terrified by these dogs! Once they left Big Red decided to put a sign up! Bears will debark trees.These trees are meant as a territorial declaration and a warning to all other animals! This is a short video showing Big Red’s handy work.

My friend told me Big Red had been shot! It appears a red neck from Port Alberni drove all the way up to Barryman point with his boat in tow to shoot a bear. They went across Tofino inlet to Rankin cove where they found Big Red foraging along the shore. They unceremoniously shot him dead right there! Than to add insult,they cut his head off and put it on the boats bow as a trophy! I cried when I heard this. I couldn’t believe that such a beautiful creature could be murdered like that and all for ego!

I’d hardly call this hunting btw! All hunting out in the wilds is done face to face! Humans are the only ones that hide and kill from a distance. Hardly hunting if you ask me.


I’m going to miss my friend……