Kermode Bear on the Beach

Location: Wreck of the Transpac, Butedale, central coast of British Columbia

Comments: We missed a Kermode bear on the beach at Butedale by 5 minutes this morning. Darn! Lou, the caretaker of the abandoned ghost town and cannery at Butedale came up on the VHF radio as we were approaching to let me know that there had been a Kermode bear on the beach all morning. Yippee! The densest population of  Kermode bears – which are a black bear that is white, not albino but white fur with a black nose and paws – is found on Princess Royal Island which is where Butedale is located. All hands rushed to the foredeck in great excitement and… the bear disappeared into the bush just as we approached. Sighhh. It’s funny that we are quite rightly concerned  about the danger of encountering bears in the bush and yet these animals are so easily spooked.

On arriving at Butedale, we were surprised to see a fleet of BC Forest Service boats anchored out in the bay. Turns out that they are concerned that the pilings and structure of the cannery buildings that were abandoned 30 years ago might be on government land instead of privately owned land. I will  reserve comment on this expenditure of government resources although I understand from Lou that they had a very nice hike up to the lake and so on.

Our morning dive on the wreck of the Transpac was outstanding as usual with visibility estimated at 80 feet or more. The Transpac is without a doubt the most amazing wreck I have ever seen – standing upright as it does with the transom of the 180 foot fish boat plunked down on a ledge at 285 feet with the bow at 110 feet and the wreck aligned almost perfectly upright on the sheer wall. Did a dock dive in the afternoon and those divers who stayed under the pilings had a fabulous dive with giant pacific octopus sightings as well as 20 plus ratfish (aka chimera). We’re off to Shushartie Bay (Dillon Rock) and Browning Wall tonight and then in to Vancouver to finish off this very fine trip.

–Captain Mike


Weather: High scattered clouds, 10 knot winds from the south, smooth seas, air temperatures in the 70°’s.

Water: Visibility 80 feet plus on the Transpac. Water temperature 48°F.