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Search for grizzly bears, black bears and the rare Spirit Bear

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Explore the Great Bear Rainforest along the coast of British Columbia on this sailing tour


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.


  • Grizzly bears
  • Black bears
  • Spirit bears
  • The Great Bear Rainforest
  • "Inside Passage" route to Alaska
  • The local Gitga'at, Kitasoo/Xai'Xais, and Haisla First Nations

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.

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Local Guides
  • Small group
Availability Aug - Oct
Duration 8 days
Difficulty Easy / Moderate Suitable for most people in fair condition.
Group maximum 16
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No
Region British Columbia


5 739
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

Availability 2024:

  • Aug 28 - Sep 4
  • Sep 29 - Oct 6
Price: $7850 CAD per person
Aboard the Island Odyssey.

  • September 4 - 11
Price: $9800 CAD per person
Aboard the Island Solitude.

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What's Included

Find out what is included and what to bring.


  • The fully equipped vessel has safety equipment
  • Electronic navigation
  • Inflatable raft for onshore exploration
  • Double kayaks are available for use

Suggested Clothing

  • Rain gear
  • Rubber boots
  • Warm jacket
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Long underwear
  • Long pants
  • Shorts
  • Warm socks
  • T-shirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Sweater
  • Sneakers
  • Hiking boots

What to bring

  • Duffel bag (required)
  • Sleeping bag or sheets (required)
  • Blankets (required)
  • Pillow case (required)
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Daypack
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


brown bear eating grass in canada

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 1800s. 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 eco-tourism, visitors respect local cultures and share a portion of revenues with local communities.

Guide information: The crews are experienced sailors and naturalists with extensive area knowledge. They will teach you about the diverse natural history of the area.

Comments: $100 Sustainability fee applies to all tours.

Transportation: Trips originate and end in Bella Bella or Terrace, BC. Bella Bella and Terrace are accessible by air from Vancouver.

Weather: Summer temperatures are pleasant and average between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.  While guests should come prepared for some gusty winds and the possibility of rain, we usually experience clear skies and a good amount of sunshine. It always feels cooler on the water than actual temperatures may be.

brown bear near a sailing boat in canada

We meet at the top of the Municipal Dock on the Bella Bella waterfront and leave mid-day to begin our adventure. Note: some departures begin/end in Prince Rupert.

brown bear and cubs in canada

Over the next 6 days, we will travel to a number of areas around the Central Coast such as Campania Sound and Whale Channel - excellent areas for spotting humpback whales and Steller sea lions. We may go ashore in the Gitga’at (Princess Royal Island) Conservancy. We will cruise over to Bishop Bay to enjoy a relaxing dip in the hot springs and spend a day with a Gitga’at native guide, taking us to his favorite bear viewing area. With patience and some luck, we will see black bears and the elusive, white Spirit Bear! We may visit the First Nations village of Klemtu or Hartley Bay to see their ceremonial Big Houses. We will voyage deep into the coastal mountains to explore the Fiordland Conservancy where, beneath towering rock bluffs and waterfalls, we will search remote estuaries to see grizzly bears feeding on spawning salmon. 

two people watching from a boat

We arrive in Bella Bella late morning. Participants can catch the Pacific Coastal Airlines late afternoon flight back to Vancouver.

large sailing boat view on a lake

The boat is a custom 68-foot ketch, launched in 1983. The boat's design, safety, and comfort make her perfect for these trips. She features 8 private cabins (double occupancy), 3 heads with hot showers, a large comfortable lounge with an extensive library, and a well-equipped galley. On deck, the large covered seating area provides protection in all types of weather. She is large enough for comfort, privacy and safety, and small enough to create a good rapport among passengers and crew.

A certified Canadian Ministry of Transport passenger vessel, she has all of the safety equipment, electronic navigation aids, and features you would expect from a vessel of her standard. All of the cabins have adequate storage space for your bags, personal items, and jackets. Coat hangers and life jackets are stowed in every cabin for your convenience. There is electricity in each room, so you can charge your camera batteries and enjoy a reading light in the evening.

Featuring 8 private cabins, 3 heads with showers, large salon and lounge areas, extensive reading libraries, galley, - These vessels are perfect for our adventures. Guests continually comment on how the vessel was more than suitable for their needs. To add to the comfort, gourmet food is served, complimentary wine each day and a wilderness setting all give a great ambiance to these special voyages.

All meals from lunch on the first day to breakfast on the last day.  A professional cook is in charge of all the cooking during the trip.  We carry ample quantities of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, grains, and dairy products for the duration of the voyage. Meals are served buffet style.  We are confident that you will be very impressed with the variety and excellence of the meals that are prepared for you. Complimentary wines are served with dinner. There is no bar onboard to purchase additional drinks. Guests are responsible and welcome to bring their own cocktail, beer, and soft drinks.

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.
  • A $1000.00 per person deposit is required to hold your reservation.
  • Balance of payment is due 90 days before trip commencement.



50% of the deposit is refundable for cancellation more than 90 days prior to departure. No penalty if you transfer to another trip. If you give notice of cancellation 90 days or less prior to departure, no refund is given.

We do strongly recommend travel insurance/trip cancellation insurance.