- Search for the fabled Spirit Bear
- Potential to see Spirit Bears, Black Bears, Grizzlies and Wolves
- Amazing bird and marine life
- Expedition travel means making the most of our time in the field
- Two Wild Eye photographic hosts
Dates: August 26, 2017 - September 5, 2017
Guide: Gerry van der Walt & Phil Symonds
Cost: USD 7,750 per person
Deposit: USD 2,325 to secure
Max number of Photographers: 8
Dates: August 26, 2018 - September 5, 2018
Guide: Gerry van der Walt
Cost: USD 8,495 per person
Deposit: USD 2,550 to secure
Max number of Photographers: 8
This natural history voyage will see us explore the protected waters of the North Central coast of Canada’s British Columbia – an area known as the Great Bear Rainforest.
For our expedition we will be staying on and moving around on the the motor-sailor, Island Roamer is a Canadian, licensed passenger vessel. The Island Roamer was specifically designed for these expeditions.
Day 1: Upon arrival in Bella Bella we will meet up at our hotel (to be advised) in order to freshen up. During dinner we will do a full brief on the exciting expedition ahead of us as well as answer any questions you might have.
Day 2: After an early breakfast we will embark on a day trip to explore and experience the amazing natural heritage of the area around Bella Bella. This will give us a chance to start thinking photographically before heading to the Great Bear Rain forest. In the afternoon we will have time to work on basic processing principles as well as charge all your gear before dinner.
Day 3 to 6: In the morning we will board the Island Roamer to start our expedition to the Great Bear Rain Forest. Our daily plans are flexible to accommodate the surprises that we encounter each trip, the requirements of tide and weather, and the interests of the group. With so many opportunities to be “wowed”, it’s hard to predict what unique moment will be your favorite memory so we ask that you always have an open mind and stay flexible in order to get the most out of your expedition experience. Upon boarding, cabins will be assigned and following a brief introduction and safety orientation we will set sail for the Great Bear Rainforest where each night we 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. Should you feel adventurous there will be time to explore the protected waters using our stable sea-kayaks. After setting sail we will head deep into the coastal mountains and travel the next two days through Milbanke Sound, Finlayson Channel, continuing on to Douglas Channel. As we approach the waters of Milbanke Sound keep watch for sea otters. 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 occasionally you will spot them in the kelp beds wrapped in the leaves of kelp to anchor themselves against the currents. Douglas Channel: Here you will see spectacular rock faces and impressive waterfalls. We 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. We will wind our way through remote areas and expect to see bears and an array of coastal birds attracted by the spawning salmon. We are fortunate to spend a day with local Tsimshian Native guides who will take us to their favorite wildlife viewing areas where we will get one of our best chances to spot the elusive Spirit bear.
Day 7 to 9: In Whale Channel we expect to see humpback whales and will take the time to observe these amazing, 15 metre-long creatures, whenever the opportunity arises. In open Principe Channel, we hope for a good wind to set the sails and have one of our best sails of the voyage. On departing from the bear viewing area we will travel up Douglas Channel past Hawkesbury Island. It is along these mainland shores that we will look for grizzly bears. We will explore an estuary for foraging bears and birds, and other life thriving on the spawning salmon.
Day 10: On the last day of our expedition we will arrive in Kitimat by mid morning. Kalem Kabs shuttle bus will transport you and your luggage to the Terrace airport. The travel time to the airport is approximately 1 hour.
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