Sailing the Great Bear Rainforest
This natural history voyage explores the protected waters of the north central coast of British Columbia - an area known as the 'Great Bear Rainforest'. Conservationists and First Nations have been actively working to protect this area as it contains the largest remaining, intact temperate rainforest on the Pacific Coast. The British Columbia government and Coastal First Nations recently announced that 85% of the land area will now be protected. It is home to an incredible variety of animals such as grizzly bears, wolves, humpback whales, and the elusive, all-white Spirit Bear.
We go ashore to explore each day on the lookout for wildlife. At sea, we keep a sharp eye out for whales and other marine mammals as we travel the fiords below towering rock faces and rushing waterfalls. The Tshimshian and Heiltsuk First Nations people have lived in the area for thousands of years. We will learn about their culture and how important this remote and pristine wilderness is to them and their future generations.
Day 1: Vancouver > Bella Bella This morning depart Vancouver (South Terminal) for your flight to Bella Bella. Upon arrival you will be transferred to Cedar Lodge or Shearwater Resort for your overnight stay. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2: Depart Bella Bella (Cruising the Great Bear Rainforest) Late morning transfer back to Bella Bella to board your yacht and meet the crew. Cabins are assigned, and everyone participates in an introductory & safety orientation. Set sail into the Great Bear Rainforest. Each night anchor in a different, secluded anchorage.
During our daily shore excursions, our onboard naturalist will help identify different coastal plants, animals, birds and marine life and interested participants can help keep a species list for the trip. There will be time to explore the protected waters using our stable sea-kayaks.
Days 3 & 4: Cruising the Fiordland Conservancy For the next two days cruise deep into the coastal mountains to the Fiordland Conservancy. Here you will see some spectacular rock faces and impressive waterfalls. Explore remote estuaries and expect to see bears attracted by the spawning salmon. We may visit the native village of Klemtu to see the longhouse that was recently built by the local community.
Days 5-8: Cruising the Great Bear Rainforest Travel along the shore of Princess Royal Island - the best known area for seeing the rare Spirit or Kermode bear. These bears are black bears expressing a genetic variation that results in about ten percent of the population in this area being all white. Visit creeks, river estuaries and keep an eye out on the shore as we travel. Khutze Inlet has a beautiful river valley, an abundance of birdlife and we may see bears along the shore.
Along the way we spend 2 days with local Tsimshian Native guides who will take us to their favourite wildlife viewing areas where we will get one of our best chances to spot the elusive Spirit Bear. In Whale Channel expect to see humpback whales and will take the time to observe these amazing, 15 metre-long creatures, whenever the opportunity arises.
On our return, as we approach the waters of Milbanke Sound keep watch for sea otters. These mammals were decimated in the early 20th century by over hunting for their luxurious pelts. With the nuclear testing at Amchitka between 1968 and 1972, 89 sea otters were transplanted to Vancouver Island. Some found their way to the central coast and it is here you will spot them in the kelp beds wrapped in the leaves of kelp to anchor themselves against the currents.
Day 9: Bella Bella > Vancouver Arrive in Bella Bella mid morning in time to catch the Pacific Coastal flight back to Vancouver.
Please note: All voyage itineraries are intentionally kept flexible to take advantage of wildlife sightings, weather and tides, and the interests of the groups.
Ketch (Yacht) details The Island Roamer and Island Odyssey are 69 foot ketches' and each feature 8 private cabins (double occupancy) with bunks. There are 3 heads with hot showers, a large salon and lounge areas, extensive reading libraries and a gallery. Gourmet food and complimentary wine are served and the wilderness setting gives a great ambiance to the voyages. All yachts have large inflatable boats for shore excursions, and stable sea kayaks for exploring. Bluewater 82 is a brand new ship with upgraded amenities, i.e. ensuite bathrooms. It is a larger vessel than the Island Roamer and features side by side berths. Instead of a 3 rung ladder it has actual steps to the swim grid.
• Return flights Vancouver to Bella Bella • 1 nights accommodation at Shearwater Lodge • 7 nights' on-board yacht • Airport transfer to/from Cedar Hotel or Shearwater Lodge and vessel • Buffet meals from lunch on Day 2 to breakfast on Day 9 • Complimentary wine served with dinner • Use of facilities on the vessel including kayaks • Naturalist and local guides • Bear viewing permits, park/sustainability fees & permits
Pricing (per person) $AUD
Sep 12, 27, 28
Oct 5, 6
Sep 12, 27, 28
Booking conditions • Single travellers may be matched with another single person of the same gender.
• There is no minimum age for children, it depends on the energy level of the child whether the trip is suitable or not.
• All guests are required to sign a liability waiver.
• Guests should be able to walk on uneven terrain, climb up and down a ladder on both the Roamer and Odyssey, onto the swim grid, and into and out of zodiacs, sometimes on slippery shorelines.
• 20% deposit required at time of booking. Full payment due 80 days prior to departure.
• Single travellers may be matched with another single person of the same gender. • There is no minimum age for children, it depends on the energy level of the child whether the trip is suitable or not. • All guests are required to sign a liability waiver. • Guests should be able to walk on uneven terrain, climb up and down a ladder on both the Roamer and Odyssey, onto the swim grid, and into and out of zodiacs, sometimes on slippery shorelines. • 20% deposit required at time of booking. Full payment due 80 days prior to departure.
Not included • Alcohol, except complimentary wine with dinner (guests are welcome to bring their own alcohol or soft drinks.
• Personal expenses
• Alcohol, except complimentary wine with dinner (guests are welcome to bring their own alcohol or soft drinks. • Personal expenses • Gratuities
Gratuity • Crew gratuities - we recommend tipping 5-10% of trip cost.
• Crew gratuities - we recommend tipping 5-10% of trip cost.