Explore the Great Bear Rainforest along the coast of British Columbia on this sailing tour in search of the elusive Kermode or Spirit Bear. The Great Bear Rainforest is islands and intricate waterways beneath towering mountains and lush, coastal temperate forests. The wilderness is alive with eagles, ravens, salmon, bears and wolves and ten thousand year old native cultures. The description 'Great Bear Rainforest' was created because the region holds the largest remaining areas of original coastal rainforest left on the entire Pacific coast. This cruise offers the opportunity to adventure along these waterways, venture inside the forest, seek out wildlife, meet native guides and learn why the Great Bear Rainforest is one of the last gems on the Pacific Coast. This area is home to the magnificent grizzly bear, a species that requires large areas of habitat undisturbed by human activity. These great bears, once roamed across North America but due to the advance of civilization, diminished food supply and continued hunting, they are now threatened in their remaining range.
The highlight of the tour is the opportunity to view the rare white Kermode bear. These primeval forests are the only habitat of the Kermode, or "spirit bear". An elusive and rarely seen wonder, the Kermode is a genetic throwback - a black bear with a "recessive" gene giving it snow-white fur. Princess Royal Island is one of the few areas on the coast where one can find the Kermode. Only 10% of black bears in the area are Kermode, so though you can expect to see black bears, it will require good luck and perseverance to spot a Spirit Bear. Besides the bears, The Great Bear Rainforest is home to a significant population of gray wolves and during your voyage there are excellent chances of seeing various species of marine mammals. Fitzhugh Sound and Whale Channel are good areas for viewing humpback whales. The coastline near Cape Caution supports a summer population of gray whales; and this entire coast is famous for its population of orcas.
The central coast region of British Columbia's scenic and intricate shoreline has a long history. Stretching from Vancouver Island, north along the mainland coast, it forms a significant section of the famous "Inside Passage" route to Alaska - a name that started with the gold rush of the 1800's. Many of the gold seekers stayed on the coast, attracted to the plentiful resources of fishing and the lush forests. Native peoples have lived along this coast for at least 10,000 years, and built a renowned culture based upon these same fish and trees. You will visit and explore this incredible area with permission from the local Gitga'at, Kitasoo/Xai'Xais, and Haisla First Nations. In the concept of eco-tourism visitors respect local cultures and share a portion of revenues with local communities.