OuterShores Sailing Expedition
Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia
September 15-23, 2012
Bill Woodley and I, our wives and one other couple (friends of Bill’s from Waterloo ) are seeking two more people to join us on an exciting sailing trip this fall in British Columbia. A friend of my daughter – a PhD in Marine Biology with several years of experience as captain and guide on competing boats – has just launched an eco-tourism business aboard his schooner, Passing Cloud. We’re gearing up for an 8-day September trip along the BC coastal “Great Bear Rainforest”, with fantastic opportunities to photograph grizzlies, wolves and even the famed Spirit Bear, during the fall salmon run.
Passing Cloud is a classic 67’ wooden schooner built in Victoria BC in 1972. She was designed by WJ Roué, designer of the world-famous Bluenose. Like her sister-ship, Passing Cloud sails incredibly well and has won races all over the North Pacific, including her division in the Victoria-Maui race in 1992. She has also made 2 south Pacific expeditions. She’s in great shape, beautiful and warm, well-equipped and certified, including 4 full-size sea kayaks. She sleeps 8 adults in four private cabins. In short, she’s an all-around great expedition vessel for the BC coast.
Great Bear Rainforest sample 8-day Itinerary
The Great Bear Rainforest trips in 2012 are 8 days and 8 nights. Outlined below is one possible itinerary to give you a feel for what the expedition will entail. (Russ is still adjusting some details, but this should give you a feel for the variety of experiences and sights in store for us.)
Since it’s a small boat, and taking into account weather and travel distances, Russ can create an expedition and itinerary according to whatever the group wants to do. This kind of flexibility is one of the great advantages of having small group sizes and essentially doing custom trips for groups like ours.
Here’s some of the information we’ve had from Russ about this trip
Our Great Bear Rainforest expedition would begin and end in Bella Bella , BC .
Pacific Coastal Airlines flights to Bella Bella depart from Vancouver , Victoria , Comox, Campbell River and Port Hardy. The morning flights arrive in Bella Bella around noon.
Day 1: Board Passing Cloud in Bella Bella in time for lunch and early afternoon departure. Begin travelling/sailing north via Seaforth Channel, keeping our eyes out for sea otters, elephant seals, humpback and killer whales. Overnight anchorage near Ivory Island kelp forests; option for sunset sea kayaking.
Day 2: Early morning photography session and optional sea kayaking; wolves and sea otters are good possibilities here. In the late morning and early afternoon we’ll travel north through Reid Passage to Salmon Bay . We’ll spend the rest of the afternoon exploring this small estuary with beautiful a walking trail alongside a great salmon river, looking for our first signs of grizzly bears and scouting out photography opportunities for tomorrow morning.
Day 3: Early morning photography session in Salmon Bay . After lunch we’ll travel via Jackson Passage to the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation community of Klemtu for a walking tour of the village and their spectacular traditional Big House. We’ll overnight at anchor in nearby Mary’s Cove.
Day 4: Today’s feature event is grizzly bear viewing and photography in Mussel Inlet, deep in the heart of the Fiordland Recreational Area. Guests and OuterShores guides will travel here with our Kitasoo/Xaixais guides aboard their fast-moving water taxis. Travel time approximately 1.5 hrs. Mussel Inlet is scenically spectacular and provides excellent opportunities for photographing grizzly bears feeding on salmon. Back on board late this afternoon we’ll anchor in Alexander Inlet (Princess Royal Island). This deep narrow inlet is stunning for its high granite peaks and overhanging cliffs, and now we are in the heart of Spirit bear territory.
Day 4: After our morning shore and photography excursions, today we’ll travel north along Princess Royal Channel, hopefully under full sail, to Khutze Inlet. Khutze Inlet is a huge coastal estuary system with excellent grizzly bear viewing and photography opportunities. We’ll spend the next day and half anchored here exploring and staging photography expeditions throughout the estuary and far up the large river system.
Day 5: Khutze Inlet photography expeditions, sea kayaking, and shore excursions all day.
Day 6: Depart Khutze Inlet for Klekane Inlet for morning photography and explorations. Klekane has a great salmon spawn river good opportunities for seeing both grizzly bears and wolves. Also, the intrepid among us will have a soak in the natural hot springs tucked away here in the ancient cedar and spruce forest. Late this afternoon we’ll travel further up Princess Royal Channel to Bishop Bay . If you missed the hot springs this morning there are more civilized hot spring here maintained by BC Parks.
Day 7: This morning we’ll be greeted by our Gitga’at bear guides from Hartley Bay , who will transport our guests and guides a very short distance to Gribble Island . Here we’ll spend the majority of the day in bear viewing stands photographing spirit bears and black bears. In the late afternoon we’ll travel to nearby Coghlan Anchorage for the last night of our journey.
Day 8: Return to Bella Bella in time for morning or afternoon departure flights.
Starting and ending in Bella Bella means more travel time, but it also opens up opportunities, such as circumnavigating Princess Royal Island . I’ve learned recently that grizzly bears are moving into a couple of new areas on Princess Royal that would be very exciting to explore this fall.
Not including airfare to/from Bella Bella, BC
$3200/person plus 12% GST. This price includes two days at bear viewing stands operated and guided by the Kitasoo and Gitga’at First Nations. One of these stands is on Gribble Island , and is excellent for Spirit bears; the other is in Mussel Inlet, excellent for grizzly bears. That period in September is excellent for bear viewing, as the salmon will be pouring into the rivers by this time.
For comparison, you can check out both Bluewater Adventures (for whom Russ used to work as captain and guide) and Maple Leaf adventures, who offer virtually the same trips. Bluewater’s price is $4400 for their GBRF trip, which they call 8 days, but it’s only 7 nights, meaning you don’t get 8 full expedition days. Also, their group size is typically 12-15 guests.
Are You Interested in Joining Us?
The OuterShores Website has more photos as well as information about Russ and possible crew members: http://www.outershores.ca
If you’re interested in joining us and want to discuss the trip, don’t hesitate to contact me or Bill.
Dave Haggarty: 613-829-7858 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Woodley: 613-731-2243 or email@example.com