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Summer in the Great Bear Rainforest

Great Bear Sea  A Haven for Whales

August/September 2018  •  9-days / 8-nights  •  6 guests  •  $6,195 CAD

British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is the largest remaining tract of intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world, famous for its vast wilderness and wildlife. This magical place would not be what it is without the Great Bear Sea fuelling its remarkable biodiversity, including impressive populations of whales and other marine mammals.

Our Great Bear Sea  A Haven for Whales expedition takes us to the remote outer islands of the Great Bear Sea. These are rich waters offering some of the best whale-watching opportunities in the world. This is the place to find bubble-net-feeding humpback whales and massive fin whales, roaming orca families, and schools of Pacific white-sided dolphins, plus Dall’s porpoises, sea lions, and sea otters.

During excursions to explore rocky shores, current-swept passages, and white-sand beaches, we may even chance upon grizzly bears, black bears, and spirit bears, or the elusive coastal sea wolves.

Our summer expedition also includes a stop at Cetacea Lab on Gil Island where we’ll meet researchers monitoring the whales of this area. And we’ll visit several coastal First Nations communities where we’ll learn about the cultural histories of this region and meet the people who call it home today.

With so much to see, this expedition has a one-way itinerary, meaning less travel time and more exploration. We hope you’ll join us!

“What a trip! We are speechless and honestly don’t know what to say or where to begin. Thank you all so much for such wonderful days with amazing experiences! Whale watching, seeing bears, sea otters, sea lions, seals, eagles, jumping salmon, subtidal wall, Cetacea Lab, Klemtu…it will take a long time for us to process all the impressions and photos!”

 Kinnby Family, SWEDEN

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Outer Shores is a proud member of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of British Columbia and our crew are certified bear-viewing guides.

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Highlights

Witness the huge recovery of humpback and fin whales (the second largest animal on the planet) to a remarkable region becoming known as “Whale Haven”

Observe humpback whales engaged in bubble-net feeding, breaching, tail slapping, and social interactions, and eavesdrop on their sounds and singing using an underwater hydrophone

Visit whale researchers at a small field station and learn about the fascinating work they are doing studying the killer, humpback, and fin whales that congregate in this special area of the Great Bear Rainforest and Sea

Itinerary Overview

DAYS 13: Bella Bella, Klemtu, Traditional Big House, Princess Royal Island

Our Great Bear Rainforest – Whale Haven expedition begins in the Heiltsuk First Nation community of Bella Bella. Upon boarding the schooner Passing Cloud, we’ll set sail and begin our journey north into the heart of Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest and Sea. Heading west through Seaforth Channel, we’ll be on the lookout for our first wildlife sightings, such as humpback whales, sea otters, elephant seals, and killer whales. We’ll be welcomed to the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation community of Klemtu with a guided tour of their traditional Big House. Our journey continues as we travel west through what feels like a secret passage to another world: Myers Narrows. Princess Royal Island is home to the iconic spirit bear (also known as Kermode bears), which are actually black bears with a rare gene combination that produces completely white fur. As we explore this region, we’ll keep a close lookout for a glimpse of this rare bear and discuss ongoing research and conservation initiatives.

DAYS 46: Humpback Whales, Sea Otters, Whale Research Station

Travelling north along the west coast of Princess Royal Island, we’ll start encountering more humpback whales, and possibly fast-moving Dall’s porpoises that enjoy surfing on our bow wave. This is also an area frequented by both fish-eating and mammal-eating killer whales. We’ll enjoy fabulous sailing and whale watching here. We hope to encounter the sea otter populations that are returning to this region. We’ll cruise kelp forests in our Zodiac and discuss how sea otters are transforming these undersea ecosystems. Once we’ve reached ‘Whale Haven’, we’ll be on the lookout for the large groups of humpback whales engaged in bubble net feeding. We’ll use our underwater hydrophone to eavesdrop on the feeding frenzy that’s going on below the surface. One of our highlights in this region will be visiting Cetacea Lab, a small field station on the south end of Gill Island, where we’ll learn about fascinating whale research.

DAYS 79: Hartley Bay, Fjordland, Bears!

This morning we’ll get underway early and have breakfast as we travel to the Gitg’aat First Nations village of Hartley Bay, a picturesque boardwalk community with under 300 people. In the afternoon, we’ll travel northeast into Fjordland Conservation Area as we continue our circumnavigation of Princess Royal Island. As the Pacific salmon begin to make their way upstream to spawn, we’ll be on the lookout for the predatory species that are drawn to the shoreline to take advantage of this annual phenomenon. We’ll enter the glacier-carved fjords separating the outer islands and the mainland coast, in search of bears – grizzly, black bears, and iconic spirit bears – as well as the elusive coastal sea wolf. We’ll visit hot springs and take in the beautiful snow-capped peaks and cascading waterfalls of the region. As we travel the short distance to Bella Bella on our final day we hope for last minute wildlife sightings and enjoy the pristine landscapes and seascapes of the Great Bear Rainforest and Sea. Once we arrive, we say our farewells to the Great Bear Rainforest, and our shipmates and new friends.

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Departs From/ Returns To

Bella Bella, BC

Cruise Distances

175 nautical miles (~315 km), or 19 nm (~35 km)/day

Duration

9-days / 8-nights

Physical Requirements

Moderate

2017 Expedition Dates and Availability

Date

August 17 – 25

Price

$6,195 CAD

Available

waitlist

Starts/Ends

Bella Bella

Notes

Date

August 26 – Sept 3

Price

$6,195 CAD

Available

waitlist

Starts/Ends

Bella Bella

Notes

Date

Sept  4 – 12

Price

$6,195 CAD

Available

6 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Bella Bella

Notes

NOTES ON PRICING
Our prices are based on double occupancy, quoted in Canadian dollars, and subject to 5% Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). All payments must be made in Canadian dollars, by cheque or credit card. All prices are subject to change without notice.

Check out what our guests have to say about this expedition!

“Holy smokes! We’ve been blessed with many adventures and this is certainly one of the “GREAT” ones. You exceeded our expectations on many fronts. It has been like travelling with old friends. We hope to see you again soon!”

— Lynda and Craig, BC, CANADA

“The healing properties of a week aboard the Passing Cloud has once again restored our souls. We love you all and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

— Irene and George, BC, CANADA

“What a trip! We are speechless and honestly don’t know what to say or where to begin. Thank you all so much for such wonderful days with amazing experiences! Whale watching, seeing bears, sea otters, sea lions, seals, eagles, jumping salmon, subtidal wall, Cetacea Lab, Klemtu…it will take a long time for us to process all the impressions and photos!”

— Kinnby Family, SWEDEN

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