Our Great Bear Rainforest expeditions take us deep into the heart of this remote region where we’ll encounter and learn about its ecosystems and most iconic species – salmon, bears, wolves, and whales. Living and traveling aboard the schooner Passing Cloud, we’ll visit glacier-scoured fiords, spectacular estuaries, ancient forests, vast islands, and outer coast beaches. We’ll use our inflatable skiff extensively to explore these habitats, and we’ll meander our way up small river systems on foot to witness salmon returning to spawn and view the bears and other wildlife that congregate to feast on this annual ecological bonanza. And throughout our expedition, we look forward to encounters with the abundant populations of whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and other coastal wildlife that thrive in the surrounding coastal seas.
Bears, of course, are of particular interest in the Great Bear Rainforest. Our expert guides will teach us about the fascinating and often dramatic lives of bears, the critical roles they play in maintaining the surrounding “salmon forests”, and ongoing conservation initiatives to protect them. We look forward to encountering the coastal grizzly bears that thrive here, as well as black bears, and if we’re very lucky, a glimpse of the rare white spirit bear that’s found nowhere else on Earth.
In keeping with the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement and its central tenets of co-management and ecosystem-based management, we work closely here with the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo-Xai’xais, and Gitga’at First Nations, and BC Parks, to protect and enjoy this amazing place. Through Tourism Protocol Agreements with these Nations and BC Park Use Permits, Outer Shores is fortunate to enjoy access to numerous limited-entry Parks, Conservancies, Special Management Areas in this region, including Special Management bear-viewing sites.
Below you will find sample itineraries for our Spring and Autumn expeditions in the Great Bear Rainforest. We look forward to having you join us!
Our Spring Great Bear Rainforest expeditions take up deep into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest at a magical time of the year. Compared to our Fall expeditions the days are long and warm, and we enjoy snow-capped mountain peaks and coastal estuaries exploding with colourful wildflowers, grasses, and sedges – the perfect foods for bears! Throughout this expedition we’ll spend our days exploring the myriad of inlets, estuaries, and fiords, and witnessing and photographing abundant wildlife, with an emphasis on bear viewing – grizzly bears, black bears, and (hopefully) the rare and iconic Spirit bear.
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 cruise 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 excursions, and kayaking for those who would like to give this a try.
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 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 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 more. Our guides 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 web involving salmon, bears, estuaries, and forests.
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’ll enjoy more opportunities for sailing and wildlife viewing, including songbirds, seabirds, and ducks, humpback whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, sea otters, and mammal-eating killer whales. Upon departure, we’ll say our farewells to this remarkable part of the world and give our thanks to all those who have worked so hard to protect it.
It’s absolutely massive! The Great Bear Rainforest is roughly 64,000 km2, or 21 million acres, which spans 400 kilometres from the northern tip of Vancouver Island (on the mainland and
This trip was more than I could have asked for as a person living in a world where the future of our planet and all of her inhabitants is in question. This trip gave me hope – not only that the Great Bear Rainforest still exists, but seeing the conservation work people are doing first hand, including providing the opportunity for this beautiful place to be seen and to inspire others. Anyone wanting to experience adventure, inspiration, the most natural beauty, profound animal encounters, once in a lifetime photography experiences, and the trip of a lifetime with genuine and amazing people who truly care about you having the best excursion possible – travel with Outer Shores.
Thank you for a truly awesome trip. The highlights – there was almost nothing but highlights – the bears, the whales, the natural world, the sounds, the seas – above all the companionship.
The inspiration provided by this trip will live on for years to come. Highlights: Spirit bear, humpback whale breaching near Whale Point, the Crew (Graham, Molly, Joel, and Russ). Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Every time I come aboard, the Passing Cloud feels more and more like home. This is partly due to the heart and soul of this ship, but mostly because of the people on board. From the mystical Kermode (Spirit) bears to the breaching whales, this trip has been a journey like no other. To the ship, the crew, and our undeniably charismatic Captain Russell, thank you for the trip of a lifetime.
“Leaving Passing Cloud and the Great Bear Rainforest after an amazing journey – both physical and spiritual. The ship, crew, and of course Russ, have transcended our expectations with a truly spectacular environment.”
“Everything was impressive about this trip. Every day stunning adventure, scenery, megafauna, and the friends we’ve made and been able to share the days with. We will share with all our friends an understanding and realization of a pristine and vulnerable coast.”
Depart / End
Aug 25-Sept 3 (9-night Supervoyage)
Sept 4-12 (8-nights)
Sept 13-21 (8-nights)
Sept 22-30 (8-nights)
Oct 1-9 (8-night *Photography Tour*)
Available (2 of 6)