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Sailing cruise into British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest to view bears, whales and wolves


Explore the north coast of BC in a 70' schooner and observe and photograph grizzly bears, black bears, and the iconic Spirit Bear with local First Nations guides on this cruise into the Great Bear Rainforest.

The Great Bear Rainforest extends from northern Vancouver Island to the BC-Alaska border and represents one of the largest remaining intact coastal temperate forests in the world. This 9-day expedition is dedicated to observing, photographing, and learning about the abundant top predators of the Great Bear Rainforest, including grizzly bears, black bears, the iconic “Spirit” bear, and coastal wolves. You will visit bear viewing stands operated by local First Nations where you will have excellent opportunities to observe both Spirit bears and black bears fishing for salmon.

You will explore coastal estuaries and salmon spawning streams and rivers, on foot, in sea kayaks or inflatable skiff, and learn about how healthy populations of bears and wolves are critical for maintaining the “salmon forests” of the Great Bear Rainforest. Guests will also get a crash course in marine biology as you encounter the many whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions and sea otters that thrive in these coastal seas.

You visit the Great Bear Rainforest in the Fall (mid August through September) because this is when the salmon start entering the estuaries and rivers. 

Highlights of this tour include exploring ancient rainforests as Pacific salmon return to the estuaries and rivers, offering a feast to bears, wolves, seals, sea lions, eagles, and ravens, stepping inside the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Big House in Klemtu and become immersed in an ancient culture and sailing through the Great Bear Sea alongside whales, dolphins, porpoises and other marine mammals.

STARTING AT
$5250.00 CAD
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TRIP DETAILS
DESTINATION
EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING
ACCOMMODATIONS
MEALS & DINING
DATES & PRICING
ITINERARY
TRIP TYPE
Sailing Tours
SEASON

August to September

DIFFICULTY
Easy / Moderate
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
6
GUIDE INFORMATION

Your crew is a team of enthusiastic, fun and exceptional individuals who work both onboard and behind the scenes to provide the best possible experiences and care for the guests. As professional guides, mariners, marine ecologists and fisheries biologists, marine mammal experts, archaeologists and anthropologists, photographers, and avid naturalists, your crew will give you behind-the-scenes insights into the natural wonders and cultural intrigue of the BC Coast and take great care of you along the way.

 

RESTRICTIONS
Not Applicable
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Philosphy & Environmental Practices

These small-ship expeditions provide extraordinary and intimate opportunities for being immersed in the ancient cultures and stunning wildlife of Canada’s Pacific Coast. Your hosts have a mission of contributing to the conservation and well-being of the ecosystems, cultures and communities of coastal British Columbia. They believe that helping guests experience first-hand and understand some of the most spectacular wildlife and ecosystems on the planet is key to their protection and preservation.

At the heart of this business is a desire to reduce the footprint on the planet. As such, your hosts integrate responsible ecotourism practices into the daily activities. They source and serve foods that are locally and sustainably grown, produced, raised or caught. They design itineraries that allow you to spend more time sailing in order to reduce the fuel consumption. The onboard recycling and composting programs help to divert waste from landfills. The promotional materials and transactions are mainly done over the Internet, and when necessary they use 100% recycled post consumer paper, saving trees, water, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy.

In each of the communities and cultures they visit, they partner with local people. They have protocol agreements with First Nations whose territories you visit, and hire local guides and businesses. They partner with parks, conservation areas and governments and obtain permits for all limited-use areas they visit.

TRANSPORTATION

Tours begin in the coastal town of Bella Bella and in the town of Kitimat, BC. Bella Bella is accessible by air from Vancouver.

WEATHER

Weather along the coast of BC in August and September is usually warm and dry but be prepared for possible rainy, windy and foggy days.

REGION
Northern BC Coast
PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

Use of all onboard gear and resources, rubber boots, user fees.

SUGGESTED CLOTHING

Clothing to suit a variety of coastal weather. Warm jacket, rain gear, hat, gloves, hiking boots, fleece or wool sweaters. A full packing list will be provided upon booking.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Camera, daypack, binoculars, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle. A full packing list will be provided upon booking.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Accommodations are aboard a 70' schooner designed by William James Roué, famous for designing the legendary schooner Bluenose. Built in Victoria, BC, in 1974, this vessel has a rich history on the BC coast, renowned for her elegant design, exceptional accommodation, robust construction, and remarkable sailing abilities.

The ship is a Transport Canada certified passenger vessel and meets the highest standards of safety and construction. She is fully equipped with modern safety and navigation equipment including radar, GPS, VHF radios, EPIRB, and digital chart plotter and satellite telephone. Among her many features are four private staterooms, gorgeous main salon, traditional wheelhouse, generous deck space, and exceptional sailing abilities.

The main salon is her centerpiece below deck.Two large settees provide spacious seating for reading or socializing around her luxurious dining table. The surrounding shelves are the home to the extensive cultural and natural history, marine science, and maritime libraries. Finally, a cast iron oil-burning heater radiates an embracing warmth throughout the entire vessel.

Guest accommodation is in four private staterooms. The three forward staterooms each have two spacious single berths complete with fluffy duvets and wool blankets, a private vanity with sink, mirror, and hot and cold running water, a skylight or deck prism, brass reading lamps, and drawers and a hanging locker for personal effects. The aft stateroom is accessed from the wheelhouse, and boasts a large skylight, two double berths, private vanity with hot and cold water, and a small head (marine toilet). The spacious head and shower is accessed from the main salon.

 

MEALS & DINING

MEALS & DINING

All meals aboard the ship are included. The food philosophy holds that the cultivation, distribution, preparation and appreciation of the food you eat are critical to your individual and cultural well-being. Whenever possible, your hosts source and serve foods that are sustainably, locally, and organically grown, produced, raised, or caught in BC.

They provide a diversity of foods prepared by culinary experts, ranging from homemade granola, to fresh greens, to sustainably caught wild salmon and halibut, while accommodating guests’ dietary preferences and restrictions. The chefs and crew take great pride in preparing and serving guests delicious meals that are healthy, plentiful, and beautiful, and immersed in the ecosystems and cultural traditions of coastal BC.

 

9 day tour, available mid August - early October
$6195.00 / per person - CAD
August 26-September 3, September 4-12, September 13-21, September 19-27, September 22-30, October 1-9 (photography tour), 2018. Prices based on double occupancy.
8 day tour, available early May - late May
$5250.00 / per person - CAD
Sea Otters, Whales and Spring Bears. May 5-12, May 13-20, 2018. Prices based on double occupancy.
PAYMENT INFORMATION
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.

A $1000.00 deposit is required to hold your reservation.

Balance of payment is due 120 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
Cancellation greater than 120 days prior to departure: Payment refundable less cancellation fee. Cancellation less than 120 days prior to departure: Payment NON-REFUNDABLE (unless replacement found, see below). Cancellation fee: $300 CAD/person. If you cancel fewer than 120 days prior to the trip, then only if we succeed in filling your space on the trip and in so doing you are replaced with another Passenger that is in all respects as advantageous to us as the cancelling Passenger, shall the Deposit and Fare be repaid. If the Passenger needs to cancel their trip within 120 days of the departure date, the fare can be transferred to another person, or onto another trip. We highly recommend that you purchase cancellation insurance, which must be purchased through a travel agency at the time of booking.

9 day tour, available mid August - early October

Day 1

DAYS 1-2: BELLA BELLA, KLEMTU, TRADITIONAL BIG HOUSE

Our 9-day expedition through the Great Bear Rainforests begins in the Heiltsuk First Nation community of Bella Bella. As soon as we depart we’ll be on the lookout for our first wildlife sightings – such as humpback whales, sea otters, elephant seals, and killer whales. Later, we’ll anchor in a small coastal estuary and go ashore for our first taste of coastal temperate rainforest ecosystems and spawning salmon in action. We’ll visit the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation community of Klemtu, where we’ll be welcomed to this remote coastal community with a guided tour of their traditional Big House.

Day 3

DAYS 3-5: WATERFALLS, FJORDS, GRIZZLY BEARS, HUMPBACK WHALES

After an early morning inflatable boat excursion into Culpepper lagoon, we continue our journey deeper into the Great Bear. As we travel today we’ll enjoy vast landscapes, towering granite mountains, and cascading waterfalls. We also expect to encounter more marine wildlife, particularly the humpback whales that are returning to this region in great numbers. Weather permitting we’ll spend the afternoon exploring Carter Bay, another excellent place to encounter grizzly bears.

Day 6

DAYS 6-8: BEAR-VIEWING STANDS, WHALE RESEARCH FIELD STATION

We’re up early on Day 6 to spend a full day at bear-viewing stands operated by the Gitga’at First Nation, where we’ll have good chances of observing both black bears and the iconic Spirit bear fishing for salmon in a small coastal stream. Throughout our journey, we’ll be on constant lookout for a glimpse of the secretive coastal wolves that inhabit the Great Bear Rainforest. While on the west side of Princess Royal Island we’ll visit a small whale research station and learn about ongoing whale research in this region.

Day 8

DAYS 8-9: HARTLEY BAY, FIN WHALES, SAILING, KITIMAT

We’re up early this morning to spend the day at bear-viewing stands operated by the Gitga’at First Nation. We’ll have good chances of observing both black bears and the iconic Spirit bear fishing for salmon in a small coastal stream. We’ll spend the majority of the day quietly observing and photographing the salmon, bears, and other wildlife from the viewing stands at the edge of the stream. Late this afternoon we travel to our overnight anchorage, determined by distance, weather, and tides, as always.