Where Eagles Dare

The year 1994 was a banner one for Brackendale, B. C. and its seasonal guests – the bald eagles. The occasion: the single day that volunteer spotters tallied a record 3,766 of the majestic raptors found only in North America, giving Canada’s tiny town the title “bald eagle capital of the world.”    

Why Brackendale, one might ask? The answer is as simple as supper. The spawning of chum salmon, thousands of them, in the area’s Squamish River – it’s eagles’ food of choice.

This floating buffet phenomenon creates a one-of-a-kind Galapagos-style adventure every mid-November through mid-February. Attracting as many onlookers as it does its soaring “stars,” the daily dilemma for visiting wildlifers becomes the best plan to see the most eagles.

The up-close and personal answer is called an Eagle Safari. Seen from the freedom of a down river float in an expedition-style rubber raft, it’s operated by Canadian Outback Adventures. 

With a licensed river guide at the helm, this escapade in nature occurs daily at 9:30 a.m. throughout the season, snow, rain or shine, and is only an hour from Vancouver. But weather is never a problem. Participants are bundled for the elements – in the warmth of an insulated and waterproof Mustang Survival Suit. Is it worth the bother, you might wonder?   

The payoff is big. You’ll spot bald eagles everywhere . . . perched from towering tree limbs, skimming the water for salmon and gliding the mountain-backdrop skies. Flying at speeds up to 30 mph and showcasing six-to-eight foot wing spans, to say they’re magnificent would be redundant.

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Cynthia Dial

Cynthia Dial is an admitted travel writing addict, and shares that she pinches herself each time she steps onto the promenade deck of a cruise ship, boards a train or settles into a plane seat to go to work. She's taken a city tour of Melbourne, Australia, from the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, hiked the Austrian Alps and learned to surf in Waikiki -- all for a good story. A special corres...(Read More)

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