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Wildlife watching and cultural tours from a coastal lodge on Vancouver Island


Explore pristine waters and wilderness areas to see Orcas ("killer whales") and grizzlies off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. This self-guided tour is designed to provide you with authentic wildlife and cultural experiences while staying on a remote island in the Northern Gulf Islands. You'll be treated with a high level of service at the four room inn and will also be afforded time to explore the colourful village that is Alert Bay. 

The setting for this eco-adventure off Vancouver Island is the remote coastal wilderness that encompasses Johnstone Strait, a deep and narrow glacier-carved passage between the east coast of the Island and the BC mainland. This area sports sheltered waters and plentiful land and marine life, including the largest population of orcas in western North America. At the end of the Strait lies Knight Inlet, home to a thriving population of grizzly bears.  During the course of your three full days on Cormorant Island, one day will be occupied by whale watching and another day will focus on grizzly bear viewing. We've set aside a third day to explore the Village of Alert Bay (pop. 1,200), one of the few remaining authentic coastal communities on the west coast of British Columbia. 

Overlooking Johnstone Strait, the log lodge offers panoramic views of sunsets, mountains, local marine traffic and sometimes pods of orcas. From the lodge, Alert Bay Village is two kilometers along the ocean-front road. On the way, you'll pass the 'Namgis Burial Grounds. From the Village the 'Mista Cultural Centre, Big Tree Trail and Ecological Gardens are short walks away.

STARTING AT
$2290.00 CAD
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TRIP DETAILS
DESTINATION
EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING
ACCOMMODATIONS
MEALS & DINING
DATES & PRICING
ITINERARY
TRIP TYPE
Wildlife Watching
SEASON

June to September

DIFFICULTY
Easy
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
12
GUIDE INFORMATION

This is a self-guided tour with lots of free time to explore on your own. But the package does include one guided full day tour to view grizzly bears and a guided half day tour to view whales.

RESTRICTIONS

This is a sightseeing tour. Restrictions on our wildlife excursions include those 8 years of age or younger

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Requirements: Some meals, ferry passage from Port McNeill to Alert Bay.

TRANSPORTATION

This tour begins in Vancouver and ends in Victoria, BC. Included is a commercial flight from Vancouver to Port Hardy, taxi to Port McNeill and then by a small coastal ferry to Alert Bay, bus transportation from Port McNeill to Victoria on Day 5.

The return ferry passage to Alert Bay from Port McNeill is not included. The cost is $9.00.

Taxi to the  U’Mista Cultural Centre, about 2.5 kilometers from the lodge, is also not included in the price.

WEATHER

Average temperature on the coast in the summer is between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.  Days are usually warm and sunny but be prepared for rain on any given day.

REGION
Vancouver Island & Southern BC Coast
PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

Full day guided grizzly bear tour; half day wildlife and orca/whale watching marine tour; admission to U’Mista Cultural Centre.

SUGGESTED CLOTHING

Warm coat, rain gear, sneakers, hiking boots, long pants, sweater, shorts, t-shirts, hat, bathing suit, gloves.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Camera, daypack, water bottle, sunscreen, binoculars.

ACCOMMODATIONS

4 nights waterview accommodation at a bed & breakfast style lodge in Alert Bay.

MEALS & DINING

MEALS & DINING

Three breakfasts, one lunch and two dinners are included in the package price. Additional meals can be purchased at local restaurants.

5 day tour, available June 21, 2018 - September 21, 2018
$2290.00 / per person - CAD
Based on double occupancy. Single supplement is $485.
PAYMENT INFORMATION
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.

A $500.00 deposit is required to hold your reservation.

Balance of payment is due 60 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
Upon receiving written notice of the cancellation, the following schedule will apply: 61 days or more prior to tour departure: full refund, less a $100 processing fee. 60–0 days prior to departure: no refund will be given. If you must cancel, we will be as understanding as possible and will make every effort to be flexible.

5 day tour, available June 21, 2018 - September 21, 2018

Day 1

Alert Bay, B.C. After making your way to Vancouver International Airport, head to the South Terminal and check in at Pacific Coastal Air for your flight.  Your 70 minute flight crosses Vancouver Island’s Inside Passage and lands at Port Hardy, near the Island’s north tip. At Port Hardy Airport, a taxi will be waiting to escort you to Port McNeill.  Here you’ll board a coastal ferry for a 35 minute voyage to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island.  Once in Alert Bay, you can catch a taxi (about $5) at the ferry terminal for a 2 kilometer drive down the ocean road to Alert Bay Lodge. You can also call the lodge from the ferry and the manager will try to get away to pick you up.  Please advise the manager what time you would like to take dinner at the lodge.

Accommodation: Four Room Ocean View Inn

Meals: Dinner

 

Day 2

Alert Bay, B.C. Today is yours at leisure to explore the village of Alert Bay. After breakfast, the lodge manager will provide you with a map highlighting popular attractions on the 5 km long Cormorant Island and tickets to U’Mista Cultural Centre. The village can easily be reached by foot from the lodge. You may choose to visit the Alert Bay Tourism Information Centre, shops and galleries featuring native art. Experience the wonder of the U’Mista Cultural Centre with its examples of historic and contemporary artwork, including a First Nations reclaimed potlatch collection. Should time allow, marvel at First Nations dancing at the Big House, or tour the Ecological Gardens and Big Tree Trail - a series of easy walking trails located at the top of the island approximately 2 km from the Village.
 
Accommodation: Four Room Ocean View Inn

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Alert Bay, B.C. Today after breakfast depart Alert Bay for an exciting eight-hour excursion to Telegraph Cove including a 3.5-hour whale watching tour of the inlets, islands and waterways in Johnston Strait and the Broughton Archipelago. After a taxi ride to the ferry terminal and a short ferry ride to Port McNeill, spend a short time touring Telegraph Cove, its small shops and the fascinating Whale Interpretative Centre that highlights the biology, habitat needs and threats to orcas and other local marine mammals (admission by donation).  Lunch can be taken at Telegraph Cove. In the early afternoon, you embark on your whale watching tour. As the on-board naturalist narrates, your skipper leads the search for orcas, humpback and minke whales as well as other marine life such as Dahl porpoises, harbour porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins and sea lions. Bald eagles and many species of birds are plentiful in the region and black bears, deer and cougars may be spotted along the shore.  After your whale watching tour the last leg of the excursion whisks you from Telegraph Cove by high speed boat to cross Johnstone Strait. You arrive in Alert Bay by late afternoon..
 
Accommodation: Four Room Ocean View Inn

Meals: Breakfast

Day 4

Alert Bay, BC. We depart at 6:45 am from Alert Bay for a full day on the water to seek out grizzly bears in their natural habitat. Our destination is Knight Inlet, a two hour ride by covered boat into Johnstone Strait. Becoming famous for its population of Grizzly bears, Knight Inlet a long and deep glacier-carved fjord surrounded by snow-capped mountains and steep-sided, forested cliffs.
Here we drift, paddle and motor quietly around an estuary, looking to spot grizzly bears as they feed on the sedges and grasses at high tide. Low tide brings more bears out, and we may see them turn over large boulders in their search for crabs, isopods and beach barnacles. On some tides we transfer to our flat bottomed skiff to get into the shallows. Please bring your binoculars and camera! Lunch is included.

Accommodation: Four Room Ocean View Inn

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5

Alert Bay, BC. An early start this morning to catch the 6:35 am ferry to Port McNeill. A taxi will be waiting to escort you to a restaurant in Port McNeill where you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast.  After breakfast you can leave your luggage at the restaurant and stretch your legs along the waterfront path. Your bus will arrive by 9:15 am.

Bus wil stop in Campbell River for lunch and a chance to stretch your legs. Bus arrives into Victoria at approximately 5:00 pm

Accommodation: N/A

Meals: Breakfast