Day 1: The Columbia III will be waiting for you at the government dock in the BC First Nations village of Bella Bella where you'll be greeted with a warm welcome from the captain and crew. Our departure time coincides with the arrival of the daily Pacific Coastal flight from Vancouver (their summer schedules are not confirmed until April). Once all our guest have boarded, we'll untie the lines and head into the wilderness of BC's Great Bear Rainforest. Our kayak guides will give an introductory "paddle talk", fit everyone to their kayaks, and with spray skirts and life jackets donned, we'll soon be paddling!
Days 2-6: Each morning after breakfast, we'll launch our kayaks and begin our day of paddling and exploring the wilderness of Canada's central coast. Delicious lunches and snacks are packed into the kayaks to be savoured on a sandy beach or rocky knoll. Later on in the afternoon the Columbia III will be awaiting our arrival in a completely different place. We never have to backtrack. After a day of paddling it is a welcome sight to kayak around a point of land and see the mothership tucked into a sheltered anchorage. When the kayaks are aboard and guests are relaxing in the bright, cheery salon, the Columbia III will "pull anchor" and head off towards the next day's paddling location.
The Great Bear Rainforest is vast, and so we have almost limitless possibilities and choices for where we'll paddle. Some of our favourite areas include the maze of spectacular rocky islets and white beaches of the Hakaii Conservancy, Goose Islands and Spider Islands. One could spend months exploring the narrow channels and tucked away coves of these remote islands. Paddling is also at its best in the beautiful outer islands of the McMullens and Stryker Island. There is nothing like landing on the smooth sand of an isolated beach where the only tracks are wolf tracks! Closer to the mainland we'll head to the river estuaries of the steep fiords. These fiords cut miles into the coast mountains, with waterfalls and mountain goats and snow peaks - utterly beautiful to kayak along the sheer cliffs! At the heads of the fiords are the estuaries - in the early summer they are brilliant blue with wild lupins. Grizzlies, black bears and spirit bears roam here and we'll keep a watchful lookout for them! Later in the season the salmon have arrived to spawn and the estuaries are alive with wildlife, all excited to partake of the feast.
The weather will determine which days are best for each area and with the mothership it is easy to be flexible. As we paddle and travel aboard the Columbia III we may see humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, eagles, wolves and harbour seals, as well as the huge diversity of inter tidal creatures that make the Great Bear Rainforest their home. First Nation's pictographs are regularly spotted on the cliffs and boulders, and shell middens give evidence to hundreds of years of habitation on this coast.
"Hello Ross, Miray, Luke and Farlyn. Thanks for once again making our travel
dreams come true - and more! We spent the year checking out your website and
imagining what our tour with our friends would be like. Maybe again next summer?
You are the best!"
- Bill and Donna, California 2007, 2008 & 2013
Day 7: On the last day our return to Bella Bella again depends on Pacific Coastal Airline's schedule. We always make sure our guests arrive at the airport at the correct time and plan the morning accordingly. There may be a before- breakfast paddle for the early risers. The Columbia III then makes her way back to Bella Bella as we watch for wildlife and experience the beautiful sea, forests and mountains of the Great Bear Rainforest one last time before leaving.
9 Night Tour: Again for 2014 we are offering a 9 night tour into BC's Great Bear Rainforest departing from and returning to Bella Bella. As well as paddling the outer islands and the steep-sided inlets, the extra days gives us more time to explore the remote corners of this wilderness and more time to devote to wildlife viewing, especially one full day for hopefully seeing the spirit bear!