These two days have been ‘something out of the box’. When the travel agent left it up to me to do the itinerary for our camper van trip, I wanted to go to locations that we hadn’t heard of before. We knew nothing of Blue River and only had a suggestion from someone way back of the name Clearwater.
Blue Water River Safari, “One Amazing Hour” tagline got us in and so we decided to visit in the early morning to get the crisper pictures of the outdoors. The operator told us that if we didn’t see bear, we would have half the fare refunded- that’s a good deal – so we took it.
The Safari is in little ‘tinnies’ with about 10-12 passengers and a rather good speed. Our guide was Raul. This is his third summer season with the company and he is from Spain. So our relationship was instant friends. After the normal chitchat to break the ice, we speed around this beautiful lake keeping close to the shore so as not to disrupt the brilliant reflections we were able to capture. As the whole event is to look for bear, each of the passengers had their eyes ‘glued’ to the bushy shoreline for movement and also up in the high trees for eagle nests. Soon after leaving the dock, we saw the first eagle on its eyrie (nest) high up in a tree.
Then Raul spotted a bear on the shoreline, fossicking for berries and other edible plants and ants. We stopped by for a good 20 minutes and then noticed a second bear just close by. It is matting season and if a female is seen, there is sure to be a male following waiting for the time for doing his job. Once done, the female bear shows hate to her partner and he has to get out of the way – we are told.
The feeling of speeding across a glassy lake with magnificent mountains as a backdrop, just took us away on another journey. We went up a creek and found a small water flow into the lake. It didn’t take long for this “One Amazing Hour” to pass, but because Raul had found some bears, he kept looking for more and we were treated to an extension of 30 minutes, searching for more bear and eagles; without success.
On our return to the dock, just Lyn and I were treated to a 4WD tour up into the high mountains to look out over the lake we had just traversed. The guide was the sister to the main operator of the River Safari so we had good information provided about the plants in the area and what bears and other wild animals survive on. Of course, the search for bear went on too. It was interesting that they allow the harvest of trees. The trees prevent the growth of vegetation for the wildlife to survive on and so after the tall trees are felled, and two trees are planted to replace the one cut, the young vegetation becomes food for the animals; a purpose built way of providing both timber for paper and food for the natural wildlife.
On our return, we had a delicious meal in the floating restaurant. I met up with the owner of the business and he sat with us and explained the building of his business especially the furniture, which he made himself. The dinning room can cater for over 100 tourists at a time. The tables were one whole piece of cedar seating 30-40 diners. He had carved the chairs with a chainsaw – all 100 of them. And he is 70 years of age, and not wanting to stop, while his wife lives 150km away.
This was definitely a high point of our touring and will be on our ‘suggestion list’ for other clients to enjoy.
The second day will be posted tomorrow – maybe!