The wildlife we encountered on our trip was amazing. From our first minutes at Sandspit spotting eagles to our last camp with a bear waiting for us on the beach, we were never disappointed. I had a wishlist of animals to see when I planned my vacation: a bald eagle, sea stars, and a whale. I saw the eagle and the whale in the first 24 hours, but when I found out there were also bears I decided I wanted to add a bear to my wishlist.

A rookery of sea lions from day 1.

Animals we saw on trip

  • Bald Eagles and eaglets
  • Sea lions
  • Sooty Shearwaters
  • Humpback whale
  • Pigeon guillemot
  • Deer
  • Puffins
  • Woodpecker
  • Seals
  • Hummingbird
  • Orca
  • Oyster catcher
  • Red squirrel
  • Murrelet
  • Loon
  • Harbor seals
  • Bear

We found the wildlife here to be less timid around people than at home. Several times I was walking and looked up and a deer would be standing in front of me with no desire to move out of my way. The eagles seem to enjoy watching us paddle by as they sit on tree branches and peer down. The bear did decide that the kayaks were getting pretty close to the shore he was on and decided to retreat into the woods, but I like bears that do not want to be near me because I do not want to be near them. Despite being so close to deer, I never had my camera with me when I ran into them. I finally photographed one on shore when we were paddling in so it is not the best shot I could have taken. Every photo on this page was shot from either the kayak or the Zodiac ride.

Bear Bear Bear tracks Deer Eagle

I think the biggest surprise for me was discovering there were puffins at the islands. When I saw the pigeon guillemots on our Zodiac ride in, I asked the driver if they also had puffins. She said they did but "further in the south". To my surprise, "further in the south" meant down on a rock by the poles we would visit at Ninstints. The puffins were spectacular to watch as they flew in crazy zigs and zags overhead and in front of our boats. I tried to photograph them on the rock from the boat with my zoom lens but with rough water it was hard to capture a great photo. I felt like it should have been a great photographic opportunity since we were much closer to these puffins than we had been in Iceland at Ingolfshofthi Bird Cliff but the rough water prevented the desired photos.

Loon Oyster Catcher Oyster Catcher Puffin

One of the highlights of my trip from a photography standpoint was finally capturing a good photo of an oyster catcher's ring around its eye. It took several days of photographs but on our rest day we finally were able to go so slowly by a low rock with the oyster catchers on it and the water was calm enough to provide the perfect opportunity to see one close up. Aside from the traditional photography, I experimented with placing the GoPro into the water and also used my iPhone in its cheap waterproof sleeve to try to capture some interesting shots. The best results were my Fried Egg Jellyfish and sea stars at Burnaby Narrows. The Fried Egg jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica) has a weak sting so I was not too worried about getting close to take a photo.

Fried Egg Jellyfish Fried Egg Jellyfish Pigeon guillemot Pigeon guillemot

One of the nicest things about being in the water in a kayak for a week is that you get to paddle by a lot of seals and sea lions. The sea lions like to play in the water while watching us at camp, but several times we would see them watching us in the water. When we all watched the bear on the shore from our kayaks I noticed that a sea lion was watching us quite closely. The harbor seals were located in a colony at the Copper Islands. They would peek out at us from the water and watch us slowly pass by. They were a lot of fun to watch and I wished we could have returned by that way to see them again.

Seal Seals Seals Sea lion Sea lion Rookery Sea lions and pups