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British Columbia 2019

Explore the vast wilderness of British Columbia, Canadas westernmost province – a place of natural beauty, remarkable wildlife and fascinating culture! Our journey starts in the city of Vancouver, before flying north to spend a ship-based week in the spectacular Great Bear Forest, in search of wildlife such as grizzlies, wolf and spirit bears. We then fly back south to Alert Bay, “home of the killer whale”, where we go on whale watching tours and learn about the Pacific Northwest coast indigenous people, Kwakwaka’wakw. With a small group of just 12 we are in for an exclusive and in-depth nature treat. 

Accommodation: Hotel and sailing yacht. Transport: Flight, sailing yacht and bus. Ship: S/V Island Solitude. Guides: One PolarQuest tour leader and local guides. Passengers: Minimum 10 and maximum 12. Languages: English & Swedish. Length: 13 days, 7 nights on ship. Price: USD 11 590. Departure: 31 August 2019

Itinerary

Day 1: Vancouver

We arrive Vancouver independently. We check in at our hotel and have the evening at leisure for us to catch up after maybe a long flight. (Please note that international flights to and from Vancouver are not included in the price. Let us know if you need any assistance with your flight arrangements.)

Day 2: Vancouver

Time to discover Vancouver, a big city surrounded by nature. We explore False Creek bay during a boat ride, visit the local market on Granville Island and visit the Museum of Anthropology. The afternoon is for free activities. In the evening we meet up for dinner.

Day 3-9: The Great Bear Rainforest

Today we fly to Terrace where we board the ship S/V Island Solitude, a beautiful and comfortable yacht, which will be our home for a week filled with in-depth nature experiences. We travel from north to south, from Terrace to Bella Bella, through a magnificent wilderness that goes by the name the Great Bear Rainforest. This is one of the largest remaining areas of unspoiled temperate rainforests in the world. Towering mountains, intricate waterways and dense forests are home to eagles, ravens, bears and wolves. In the sounds and channels, we have great chances of seeing humpback whales and in rare occasions also orcas. On the shores we search for the majestic grizzly bear, weighing in at some 250 kilograms, heavy from feasting on the salmon moving upstream. And of course, we hope to encounter the Kermode (“spirit bear”) – a black bear with a recessive gene for white fur. The Kermode holds a special place in the traditions of the native people of the area, people who have lived here for more than ten thousand years. Only about ten percent of the areas black bears are born with a white coat, so to meet a Kermode involves a large amount of luck - but we are in the right place at the right time.

Day 10: Alert Bay

We disembark the Island Solitude in Bella Bella and fly to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. We make our way to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, “home of the killer whale”, and check in at Seine Boat Inn.

Day 11: Alert Bay

The Alert Bay area is known for its many whales. Both fish-eating orcas and mammal-eating orcas are often spotted hunting in the area. On a private tour with the boat Seasmoke, we explore the pristine ocean and its islands, searching for whales, birds and seals. Steller sea lions and harbour seals are often seen basking in the sun and bold eagles might be observing us from above.

In the afternoon we go on a walking tour with a native guide to learn more about the area’s exciting history and the living culture of the ‘Namgis First Nation of the Kwakwaka’wakw, a Pacific Northwest coast indigenous people. We visit the local museum as well as the world’s highest totem pole.

Day 12: Telegraph Cove

Today we head out on one more whale watching tour that will finish at the quaint little harbour settlement of Telegraph Cove, where we have lunch and pay a visit to the museum. Weather permitting, we do a nature walk to stretch our legs. Seasmoke will then pick us up again and take us back to Alert Bay for dinner.

Day 13: Homeward bound

After breakfast we transfer to the airport in Port Hardy and fly to Vancouver, from where we continue homewards or on own adventures. 

The ship S/V Island Solitude

  • S/V Island Solitude
    Erik Jackon
  • Bluewater Adventures
  • Bluewater Adventures

On our journey through the Great Bear Rainforest we stay on board the sailing yacht S/V Island Solitude. She carries 12 guests and we have chartered her for our group exclusively. At the on-deck wheelhouse the group can share delicious meals while enjoying the beautiful vistas with panoramic views!

There are six kayaks on board the Island Solitude, available throughout our stay. The waters are calm and easy to maneuver in and it is a great experience to view nature and wildlife this close to the surface. 

Cabins & prices

Cabin category Price per person
Twin cabin USD 11 590

Price includes

  • Flights Terrace - Bella Bella - Port Hardy and Port Hardy - Vancouver
  • Seven nights on board S/V Island Solitude
  • Two nights at hotel in Vancouver and three in Alert Bay
  • All meals according to the program (except dinner on arrival day)
  • All activities described in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • Gratuities
  • A PolarQuest tour leader
  • Experienced local guides
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material and a post expedition log
  • The trip is climate compensated

Not included

  • International flights to and from Vancouver
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Alcoholic beverages

Departures & booking

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Departure Return
31 August 2019 13 September 2019