Spirit Bears & Humpback Whales of B.C. 2013-2014 (Prince Rupert to Bella Bella)
9 days with Natural Habitat Adventures Rating:
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Itinerary
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.
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Highlights
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
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Terms and Conditions
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* 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.