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Spirit Bears & Humpback Whales of B.C. 2014-2015 (Prince Rupert to Bella Bella)

9 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1: Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Our spirit bear tour begins with a group flight from Vancouver to Prince Rupert where you'll depart by floatplane to the Gitga’at community of Hartley Bay. We may have time to walk the boardwalk trail to the lake or visit the community big house.

Days 2 & 3: Princess Royal Island
Board the Island Roamer, a comfortable 68-foot ketch that will be our home for the next seven nights. Sailing from Bella Bella, we depart for the sheltered inlets of the Great Bear Rainforest, stopping each night in a different secluded anchorage. We’ll spend two days at the northern end of Princess Royal, looking for bears and whales. We indulge in a soak at Bishop Bay Hot Springs, accessible only to boaters. On our second day, we join a Gitga’at native guide who takes us to locally known wildlife viewing areas. With patience and perseverance, we’ll hope to see black bears and the elusive white spirit bear.

Day 4: Campania Sound / Whale Channel
As we cruise today we have excellent chances to see porpoises, orcas, Steller sea lions and the charismatic humpback whales. These gentle mammals, which can grow to 50 feet and weigh 40 tons, may entertain us with breaching, spy-hopping or slapping their flippers. They congregate in these waters in late summer and fall on their annual migration. We go ashore again today in an area where spirit bears are often spotted.

Day 5: Klemtu / Spirit Bear Conservancy
This morning we visit the First Nations village of Klemtu, home of the Kitasoo Band. Our native guide shares history and cultural traditions, including a tour of the ceremonial big house, painted with totems. We sail northward, hugging the indented shoreline of Princess Royal Island. This is the best-known area for seeing the rare, all-white Kermode bear, also called spirit bear, reflecting its legendary status among the Tsimshian peoples as a creature to be revered. Spirit bears are actually a unique subspecies of North American black bear in which about one in every 10 bears is white or cream-colored due to a recessive gene.

We go ashore to visit Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy. We’ll hope to spy the pale bears against the evergreen backdrop along the creeks and estuaries. Only 400 or so spirit bears are thought to exist, living exclusively along this portion of the British Columbia coast. The campaign to save the Great Bear Rainforest has heightened efforts to conserve this dwindling habitat from further logging, the greatest threat to the future of the bears.

Days 6 & 7: Fiordland Conservancy
As we navigate the fjords, we pass native communities and explore remote estuaries up close, hoping to see grizzly bears attracted by spawning salmon. The combination of lush vegetation and salmon-rich streams in Fiordland makes it ideal grizzly habitat. Black bears are also prolific in these ancient forests, and we keep an eye out for wolves, though they are elusive.

Day 8: Island Roamer Cruising
Our destination is the Fiordland Conservancy, which offers some of the most dramatic examples of glacially gouged scenery on the British Columbia coast. Sheer granite cliffs rise more than 3,000 feet, and waterfalls plummet from their faces into the sea.

Day 9: Bella Bella / Vancouver / Home
Our spirit bear tour comes to an end in Bella Bella. This isolated village on the central coast of British Columbia is the traditional home of the Heiltsuk Nation people. Transfer to the airport for our group flight to Vancouver to connect with onward departures.
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Map
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 All This Included
In the wild valleys of the Coast Range on Canada’s far western edge, the planet’s oldest and tallest trees rise along salmon-studded rivers that rush to the Pacific. Thousand-year-old cedars and Sitka spruce soaring 350 feet into the clouds provide shelter for the white Spirit Bear of native legend. Here, too, are grizzlies and wolves, and eagles nest in ancient branches. At sea, humpback whales ply the emerald fjords. We join them as we sail a maze of inlets on the central British Columbia coast – a wilderness voyage into one of the earth’s most magnificent – and most at-risk – natural realms.
  • Internal floatplane flight from Hartley Bay to Prince Rupert
  • Accommodations
  • Meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on final day
  • Bottled water
  • Services of NHA Expedition Leader, local guides and boat crew
  • Most gratuities
  • Airport transfers in Bella Bella or Prince Rupert on Day 1 and final day
  • Permits and entrance fees
  • All taxes
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Highlights
  • On our exclusive bear cruise aboard a private sailing ship, explore the world’s largest remaining tract of virgin temperate rainforest
  • Search for rare white spirit bears, grizzlies, black bears and wolves with expert guides who know this wilderness intimately
  • Watch humpback whales play as we sail through the sheltered waters of some of the most remote coastal wilderness on earth
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Accommodations
Prince Rupert: To be determined
Cruising: Cabin onboard the Island Roamer
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Notes
  • 2015 dates, itinerary directions and fees may change slightly.
  • Group Size Limit: Approximately 12 Travelers.
  • Single Supp.: Available on first night of trip only. Aug 29 departure: no added fee for single in Bella Bella. Sep 6 departure: $85 supplement for single in Prince Rupert.
  • Not Included: Travel to and from start and end point of trip (Bella Bella and Prince Rupert), alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes, optional travel insurance.
  • Physical Requirements: Easy / Moderate / Flexible. This adventure does not require a high degree of physical fitness although, should you choose to participate in every activity, you will be required to climb up and down a small three-rung boat ladder in order to board kayaks and zodiacs. Please be prepared for water landings and a series of short walks over potentially wet, muddy, uneven terrain. Kayaking will be an option available to guests. It is easy to learn, and we expect that most of our guests have little or no experi­ence. It does, however, take an adven­turous spirit.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Terms and Conditions
For Natural Habitat Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.