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Spring in the Great Bear Rainforest

Fiords, Bears, Estuaries, and Ancient Forests

May 2020  •   8-day Expeditions  •  6 Guests •  $5,295 CAD

British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, encompassing more than 64,000 square kilometers (24,700 square miles), is the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world. Here, glacier-scoured fiords, spectacular mainland estuaries, vast islands, and ancient forests are home to awe-inspiring populations of dolphins, whales, wolves, grizzly bears, and the iconic spirit bear.

Our Great Bear Rainforest Spring – Fiords, Estuaries, and Bears expedition takes us deep in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest at a magical time of year – spring! Long warm days, run-off from snow-capped peaks, and mainland estuaries exploding with colourful wildflowers contrast sharply with our fall expeditions in this region.

Throughout this expedition we’ll spend our days exploring the myriad of inlets, estuaries, and fjords, and witnessing and photographing abundant wildlife, with an emphasis on bear viewing – grizzly bears, black bears, and (hopefully) the rare Spirit bear.

While living and travelling aboard the schooner Passing Cloud, we will explore and experience these ecosystems and wildlife via our inflatable skiff, kayaks, and on foot, and learn about the fascinating and often dramatic lives of bears. At this time of year bears spend much of their time in estuaries grazing on grasses and sedges, snoozing in the sun, as mother bears introduce their cubs-of-the-year to the world!

Other wildlife we may also encounter includes numerous songbirds, seabirds, and ducks, humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, seals, sea lions, sea otters, and mammal-eating killer whales. We also look forward to chance encounters with the remarkable coastal wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest.

As with our fall expeditions, our spring expeditions also include visits to numerous limited-access parks, conservancies, bear viewing special management areas, and special-access First Nations territories. We’ll also visit the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation community of Klemtu where we’ll enjoy a guided tour of a spectacular Big House and learn about the deep Indigenous cultural heritage of this region.

We hope you’ll join us!

I  couldn’t have gone on a better holiday than the cruise of the  Passing  Cloud around some of the island in the Great Bear Rainforest.  I was awed by the beauty of the meadows and moss-covered trees framed by the mountains.  And I was surprised by the variety of wildlife we saw including large numbers of dolphins and sea otters.  The crew was the best– friendly and willing to share their knowledge.  They even slowed down for every great  “photo op”.   You have the right formula for a perfect cruise.  Keep it!

— Marian, Vancouver, BC

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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

Explore the inlets, fiords, ancient forests, and wildlife of the Great Bear Rainforest

Observe and learn about the fascinating lives of bears as they graze on estuarine grasses, sedges, and wildflowers

Enjoy sailing, kayaking, inflatable boat excursions, beach explorations, interpretive forest walks, cultural heritage, diverse wildlife, whale-watching, and bear viewing

The focus of this expedition is viewing and learning about wildlife while exploring the mainland fiords, inlets, and estuaries of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Our emphasis will be on grizzly bears; however, we will be in the core range of the spirit bears (which is a white-coloured black bear). We’ll enjoy long, warm spring days, interpretive shore walks, inflatable boat excursions, sea kayaking, sailing, expert naturalists, and our exceptional small group experience

Itinerary Overview

DAYS 13: Bella Bella, Fiordland Conservancy

We begin our Spring Great Bear Rainforest expedition in the Heiltsuk First Nation community Bella Bella. As soon as we depart, we’ll be on the lookout for our first wildlife sightings, such as humpback whales, sea otters, elephant seals, and killer whales. Enjoying the long warm days of spring, we’ll sail north into the glacier-carved fiords of Fiordland Conservancy and Special Management Area.

We’ll spend the next couple of days amongst towering granite cliffs, snow-capped peaks, and cascading waterfalls as we explore estuaries where grizzly bears come in the spring to graze on grasses, sedges, and other estuarine plants – lupines, asters, lilies are in full bloom at this time of year. We’ll enjoy interpretive walks, inflatable boat excursion, and kayaking for those who would like to give this a try.

DAYS 46: Princess Royal Island Channel / Khutze Inlet Conservancy

Upon leaving Fiordland (always reluctantly!), we’ll enter Princess Royal Channel and continue our way north, always on the lookout for whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and bears (including spirit bears) foraging along the shoreline. Our next destination is Khutze Inlet Conservancy, a huge estuarine ecosystem that supports a wide variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears, and coastal wolves. We’ll get in tune with the rhythm of the tides and wildlife of this magical place over the next day or two while anchored near the base of a dramatic waterfall.

Our inflatable boat excursions will take our small group quietly into the estuary for wildlife viewing and photography. This is a wonderful place to encounter and observe bears simply living their lives in the wild – grazing, snoozing, playing, socializing, and snoozing some more.

Our Expedition Specialist will teach us about the biology, ecology, and conservation of the bears and wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest. We’ll also learn about the fascinating ecological cycle involving salmon, bears, estuaries, and forests.

DAYS 78: Klemtu, Bella Bella

Beginning our journey south again, we depart for the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation community of Klemtu where we will be introduced to their Indigenous culture and be given a guided tour of their remarkable traditional Big House. First Nations have been living in this region for more than 13,000 and this is an exceptional opportunity to gain both deep-time and forward-looking perspectives.

As we make our way back towards Bella Bella, we hope to enjoy more opportunities for sailing and wildlife viewing, and give thanks to those who have worked so hard to protect the Great Bear Rainforest.

Departs From/ Returns To

Bella Bella, BC

Cruise Distances

150 nautical miles (~275 km), or 25 nm (~46 km)/day

Duration

8 days / 7 nights

Physical Requirements

Moderate

May 2020  •  8-days / 7-nights  •  6 guests

Date

May 6-13

Price

$5,295 CAD

Availability

Suspended

Starts/Ends

Bella Coola

Date

May 14-21

Price

$5,295 CAD

Availability

Suspended

Starts/Ends

Bella Bella

Date

May 22-29

Price

$5,295 CAD

Availability

Suspended

Starts/Ends

Bella Bella

Date

May 30-June 6

Price

$5,295 CAD

Availability

Suspended

Starts/Ends

Bella Bella

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!

I  couldn’t have gone on a better holiday than the cruise of the  Passing  Cloud around some of the island in the Great Bear Rainforest.  I was awed by the beauty of the meadows and moss-covered trees framed by the mountains.  And I was surprised by the variety of wildlife we saw including large numbers of dolphins and sea otters.  The crew was the best– friendly and willing to share their knowledge.  They even slowed down for every great  “photo op”.   You have the right formula for a perfect cruise.  Keep it!

— Marian, Vancouver, BC

“Each spring we travel through the Great Bear Rainforest on route to Haida Gwaii, and each year we find ourselves wishing we were able to bring our guests to this spectacular region, at this wonderful time of year. Finally, this spring of 2017 we are excited to be doing just that. We hope you’ll join us!”

— Russell Markel, President, Outer Shores

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Office Hours

Monday  Friday
10:00 16:00 (Pacific Time)

Telephone

1-855-714-7233 (Toll-free)
1-250-220-2311 (Local)

Address

PO Box 361, Cobble Hill, BC, V0R 1L0, Canada

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