Combine the comfort of a private luxury oceanfront lodge and the thrill of sailing expeditions in a 70' classic wooden schooner. During this trip, you'll explore Barkley Sound and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve with its dramatic coastlines, lush forests, and rich wildlife.
These spring tours are offered in either 4, 5, or 7-night duration.
The 4 and 7-night Herring Spawn and Grey Whale Migration daily expeditions offer a rare look into significant ecological events on British Columbia's coast. The sailing expeditions are organized on a 70' wooden schooner, making this experience even more unique.
Millions of Pacific herring come to the northwest of Barkley Sound and lay their eggs along the shoreline every March and early April. In the meantime, thousands of grey whales migrate along Vancouver Island's west coast, stopping at certain locations, such as Barkley Sound, for herring spawn. So, in early spring, Barkley Sound flourishes in wildlife, and we hope you'll also admire this amazing phenomenon.
The 5 and 7-day Spring Explorer tours take you on an in-depth exploration of wildlife, ecosystems, natural history, Indigenous cultures, and the post-contact era of Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. These expeditions offer guests a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the region's local rhythms, ecosystems, and rich cultural history while enjoying the luxury of staying in a beautiful oceanfront lodge and sailing in a classic wooden schooner.
Herring and Grey Whales (4 nights): $3795 CAD / person
Herring and Grey Whales (7 nights): $5950 CAD / person
Pacific Rim Explorer (5 nights): $4750 CAD / person
Pacific Rim Explorer (7 nights): $5950 CAD / person
INTERNATIONAL NUMBER: +1 778 348 1676
You can also send an email to email@example.com, or use the contact form here below.
Find out more details about the tour
Day 1: Ferry to Bamfield, Arrival and Orientations, Afternoon Excursion
Our Herring Spawn and Grey Whale Migration tour will begin with us meeting in Bamfield. We recommend reaching Bamfield by passenger and freight-carrying vessel MV Frances Barkley. It is a historic vessel operated by Lady Rose Marine Services. It departs from Port Alberni at around 8:00 AM. The few-hour cruise provides an opportunity to enjoy some sightseeing and wildlife watching. You arrive at the West Bamfield dock around noon and then be greeted by our friendly staff at the lodge. Your luggage will be delivered straight to the lodge, so you wouldn't have to worry about that. A few-minute walk through the forest will take us to the oceanfront lodge, our home for the next four nights.
First, we will take time to relax and refill after our journey. We'll enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by a chef at the lodge, have a little orientation around the lodge, settle in, and prepare for our first sailing excursion the following day. After that, we'll have a walking tour through West Bamfield, including the historic boardwalk and Brady's Beach, locally famous for sea stacks, tidepools, and colorful marine life.
We'll be back at the lodge in the afternoon, and you can finish the day relaxing in your oceanfront room or exploring the surrounding gardens and forests. You can also enjoy the sunset from the lookout bluff.
After dinner, there will be an evening presentation: Introduction to Herring Spawn & the Grey Whale Migration
Days 2-4: Herring Spawing, Wildlife Viewing and Photography, and Boat Excursions
For the next three days, we'll have a balance between luxury and adventure. We'll sail the 70' schooner daily to witness the herring spawn and grey whale migration, as well as other wildlife. You'll also have time to enjoy the lodge's amenities and deliciously prepared chef's meals and take self-guided morning and afternoon activities (such as beach, forest walks, birdwatching, and photography). In the evenings, after dinner, we'll have educational presentations.
So, what will our day look like? Each morning after breakfast, we'll take a leisurely cruise to Barkley Sound's northwest shoreline for 15 nautical miles (around 26 km). It is the region's historic center of herring spawning. There, we will keep an eye out for the large greenish-white plumes of water that indicate where spawning takes place. There, you'll also be able to see all the coastal wildlife that comes with this natural phenomenon.
We'll board the inflatable boats to get a closer look and watch for massive flocks of surf scoters, gulls, eagles, and other seabirds, such as cormorants, auklets, murres, and grebes. We'll also look out for the California and Steller sea lions that occasionally gather there in large numbers to hunt for herring while at the same time being vigilant for the killer whales that come to hunt them.
In the meantime, grey whales stop by on their way to the Bering Sea to slurp herring eggs off the seagrasses and seaweeds. Finally, we'll be able to glimpse land animals, such as black bears and wolves. They arrive during the low tides when the herring eggs get exposed to eat them.
Every day we'll take a different route through the Broken Group and Deep Groups Islands, learning more and more about the astonishing natural and cultural history of Barkley Sound and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Day 5: Post-Breakfast Activity, Expedition Wrap-Up, Depart Aboard MV Frances Barkley
On the last morning together, we'll take a nutritious breakfast and head for an optional activity, such as a tour of the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre or low tide exploration at a nearby beach. Then, we'll see our 5-day expedition come to an end. We'll reflect on what we experienced and learned over the past few days and say farewells to each other.
Day 1: Arrival in Bamfield, Lodge Orientations, and West Bamfield Walking Tour Our 6-day expedition begins with your self-organized arrival in Bamfield in the morning. The easiest way to reach Bamfield is through either a float plane from Vancouver o...)
Day 1: Arrival in Bamfield, Lodge Orientations, and West Bamfield Walking Tour
Our 6-day expedition begins with your self-organized arrival in Bamfield in the morning. The easiest way to reach Bamfield is through either a float plane from Vancouver or the passenger and freight vessel MV Frances Barkley from Port Alberni. Upon your arrival at the lodge, you'll be warmly greeted by our expedition staff, who will show you around the lodge and help you settle in.
After delicious lunch, we'll take a walking tour through West Bamfield, visiting local beaches and the historic boardwalk.
Returning to the lodge, you'll have time to relax in the comfort of your oceanfront room with a stone fireplace or explore the surroundings on your own. There's a possibility of washing away the tiredness in the outdoor hot tub or indoor steam bath.
After dinner, there will be an evening presentation Marine Mammals of Barkley Sound
Day 2: Schooler, Broken Group Islands and Inner Islands
If you're an early bird, you may start your day with birdwatching, photography, or just walking to the surrounding forests and beaches. Then, after a delicious breakfast, we'll get aboard the schooner and take our course to the Broken Group Islands of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Today's excursion will take us to the eastern part of Barkley Sound and the Inner Broken Group Islands. After reaching our destination, we'll board our inflatable boats, giving us more freedom to explore this beautiful area. We'll keep an eye out for bald eagles and black bears looking for food along the shoreline and other wild animals, such as mink, seals, river otters, sea lions, and whales. We'll have a warm and delicious meal for lunch, served on the aft deck or in the spacious salon below the deck. In the afternoon, we'll continue our exploration before sailing back to the lodge right on time for dinner.
The chef will prepare something very special in the evening. After dinner, you can admire the sunset from the bluff or simply relax with a book from our library.
Evening presentation: Return of Sea Otters and Kelp Forests to Barkley Sound
Day 3: Schooner, Broken Group Islands, Ancient Villages and Old-Growth Forests
We'll kick off our morning by enjoying a cup of coffee (or tea - whatever you prefer!) and having a little chat with a culinary team or going to lookout bluff to take in the morning views over the ocean. You can't help but feel moved by this magnificent view!
Today's sailing adventure will take us to the center of the Broken Group Islands. After anchoring in a protected lagoon formed by Dodd, Willis, and Turtle Islands, we'll board inflatable boats to explore this beautiful area further. On shore, we'll see extensive shells midden, indicating thousands of years of Indigenous habitation in the area. We'll also walk among giant ancient cedar and spruce trees, learning about unique ecological relationships that make these forests one of the most productive in the world. If the tide is low enough, you will even be able to see ancient clam garden remains and stone fish traps. After this incredible exploration, we'll make our way back to the ship.
Because it's the spring season on the Pacific Flyway, you can also admire the diversity of coastal birds, including kingfishers, mergansers, harlequin ducks, bufflehead, goldeneye, oystercatchers, cormorants, grebes, loons, turnstones, bald eagles, geese, and a wide variety of songbirds.
Later in the afternoon, we'll sail back to the lodge and enjoy warmth and comfort for the rest of the evening. You can enjoy the ocean views with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
After dinner, there will be an evening presentation: Introduction to Coastal Temperate Rainforests
Day 4: Schooner, Broken Group Island, Outer Islands and Wildlife
We'll start our day with a delicious breakfast before boarding the schooner and going to the outer Broken Group Islands for around seven nautical miles (13 km). On our way, we will be able to enjoy a comfortable sitting area on the deck, inside the wheelhouse, or enjoy an extensive library in the cozy main salon.
We'll anchor in a sheltered bay in the outermost part of the Broken Group Islands. This region is home to magnificent shorelines and rich wildlife, including sea lions, seals, whales, and sea otters that are slowly returning to the area. Once we're in inflatable skiffs, we'll navigate the edges of kelp forests to learn more about recent ecological transformations that dramatically affected this ecosystem. If time and tide situation permit, we'll go ashore to see the low tide in the "Great Tidepool." There, we'll be able to explore the colorful diversity of seashore animals, including lemon nudibranchs, giant green anemones, peanut worms, bat stars, frilled dog whelks, and iridescent seaweeds.
After lunch, we'll travel to the nearby Benson Island to tour an ancient village site of C'isaa, the birthplace of the Tseshaht First Nation. On our way back home in the afternoon, we'll have time to contemplate the 5000-year-old of Indigenous history and its adaption in this region.
Day 5: Ancient Village and Fortress of Kiix?in
Our adventure-filled expedition continues with an exciting guided tour to the ancient Huu-ay-aht Nation village and fortress site of Kiix?in, situated a short distance away from the lodge. Our special Huu-ay-aht guide and a cultural interpreter will take us on a cultural journey throughout history. The site we'll be visiting is located on a beautiful beach, fronted by the sea stacks and surrounded by the old coastal forest. Here we will also find the remains of 12 longhouses covered in moss, including standing house posts and beams. This village once housed over 500 people! We'll learn more about the lifestyle of people who lived in this area and how they built fortresses to protect themselves.
An approximately six-hour tour will include a short boat ride, a walk along a boardwalk through the coastal rainforest, a short walk on a beach, and a picnic lunch prepared by a chef.
After returning to the lodge this afternoon, you'll be able to relax and enjoy the mesmerizing panoramic views from the bluff while watching for eagles, otters, sea lions, whales, and other coastal wildlife.
Evening presentation: Introduction to the Human History of Barkley Sound
Day 6: Post-Breakfast Farewells
This morning after breakfast, we'll formally mark the end of our 6-day trip. We'll bid our farewells and leave Bamfield and the lodge filled with new knowledge and inspiration.
Deposit and Taxes
Pricing does not include: 5% GST.
A $1500/person deposit is required to hold your reservation.
Balance of payment is due 90 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
Anytime after confirmation: $500/person, 90-61 days prior to arrival: 50% of the total, 60-0 days prior to arrival: 100% of the total.