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Heriot Bay, BC
Canada V0P 1H0

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Traveling to Your Great Bear Rainforest Cruising Tour

Note: You can also download a PDF version of this page, more suitable for printing. Great Bear Rainforest

Important points:

Your Great Bear Rainforest Cruise Adventure begins in the remote town of Bella Bella (map), about 250 miles north of Vancouver on British Columbia's Central Coast. Here the Columbia III will await your arrival.

Getting To Bella Bella

The simplest way to get to Bella Bella is to fly directly from Vancouver. You can also take the ferry from Vancouver to southern Vancouver Island, then drive to Port Hardy (on the northeast side of Vancouver Island) and either fly or take the ferry from there. Driving time from Victoria to Port Hardy is approx. 6 hours. Flying time from Vancouver to Bella Bella is approximately 2 hours.


-Pacific Coastal Airlines runs daily flights from Vancouver to Bella Bella via Port Hardy 1-800-663-2872 or 604-273-8666 (in Vancouver)

Ferry services to Vancouver Island

-B.C. Ferries has year round vehicle and passenger service - Routes include: North Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Nanaimo (Departure Bay), South Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to South Nanaimo (Duke Point) and South Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Swartz Bay (near Victoria). Crossing time for above routes about 2 hours. 1-888 223-3779 or outside B.C. 250-386-3431.

Ferry Services from Vancouver Island to Bella Bella

-B.C. Ferries also runs the Port Hardy to Bella Bella (called McLoughlin Bay on ferry schedule) route. Crossing time approx. 7 hours. Contact B.C. Ferries for schedule. Unfortunately the B.C. Ferry schedule to Bella Bella rarely coincides well with the Mothership Adventures' schedule.

Car Rental Services

-Budget Car Rentals 1-800-299-3199 or 250-923-4283
-National Car Rentals 1-800-227-7368 or 250-923-1234

Bella Bella Accommodation

The best accommodation in the Bella Bella area is in the small community of Shearwater across the channel from Bella Bella. There is frequent water taxi service between Bella Bella and Shearwater.

Shearwater Resort: 1-800-663-2370
Whiskey Cove Bed and Breakfast: 250-957-4234

Meeting Columbia III

Most of our customers get to Bella Bella (map) on the daily Pacific Coastal Airlines flight from Vancouver and Port Hardy. Therefore our departure time will coincide with the arrival of the afternoon Pacific Coastal flight (summer flight schedules are not finalized until late spring). Upon arriving in Bella Bella, take a taxi to the "fuel dock." Here the Columbia III will await your arrival. On the last day of our trip we will return to Bella Bella so guests can catch the morning Pacific Coastal flight to Vancouver and Port Hardy. If you choose to travel to Bella Bella by ferry, we will do our best to accommodate meeting you but because the ferry schedule is varied, a good connection is not always possible. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about getting to Bella Bella. For information on Bella Bella you can also visit here.

Contacting Columbia III

The Columbia III can be contacted at 250-202-4745. The Mothership office can be reached at 1-888-833-8887 or 250-202-3229. In the case of an extreme emergency, the boat can be contacted directly by calling the Canadian Coast Guard in Prince Rupert (250) 339-3613. Ask them to send a message to MV Columbia III (quote this number: MMSI# 316-003-614) sailing in the Central Coast area. We are often off the boat so expect a response to take 12 hours. The ship's phone is not for guest use. For more contact information see our website.


We are happy to accommodate any personal dietary needs including vegetarian and vegan. Wine will be served with the evening meal. If you would like an alternative to alcohol please let us know. Please note any food allergies or needs on the medical form well in advance of your departure date.

Medical, Allergies, and Other Concerns

Mail us your completed Medical Form ASAP. Your tetanus vaccination must be up to date (less than 10 years old) before you leave. Be sure to bring enough of your required medications as you will be far from any drug stores. We may encounter minor ocean swells so if seasickness is a concern, please bring anti nausea medication. But rest assured, we travel in very sheltered areas and overnight in calm, protected bays. We do our best to avoid swells and waves!

Weather, Clothing, and Packing

Our skipper and certified guides will not take you in any weather conditions that are dangerous to you or the group. If we encounter some wind and waves (the ocean is not always flat!), it would be for a short time only.

For maximum comfort, a layering system of lighter "quick-dry" and warmer fleece clothing works best. Wool is excellent as well. Avoid cotton which stays wet for a very long time. Waterproof raingear is essential. When getting in and out of the skiff on shore excursions your feet WILL get wet. We suggest a pair of sturdy water sandals / shoes, or rubber boots. Proper protection from the sun is essential so bring sun glasses, a sun hat, sun block and lip screen. Bring a water bottle. Staying hydrated in the outdoors is very important. When aboard the mothership, comfortable casual clothing is nice to change into after the day's excursions.

Consider bringing the items listed on the packing list we provide.

We have waterproof bags (dry bags) onboard that you can use for your cameras or other small items on our shore excursions if you like. Large Ziploc bags work as well. Hard suitcases are difficult to fit into the small storage compartments on the Columbia III, so if possible, bring your things in soft duffel type bags.

NOTE: Although not required, if you'd like to express your appreciation to the guides through a gratuity, such recognition would be enthusiastically received. The industry standard for tipping is approximately 10 percent of the trip cost. All tips will be equally distributed among your crew

Packing List