The Great Bear Rainforest in Fall
An 8-Day Adventure Cruise aboard the 54 foot motor yacht Great Bear II
Ocean Adventures on BC's West Coast. Spirit Bear, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear Viewing and Whale Watching
The Great Bear Rainforest in Fall will take you into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on the central coast of British Columbia, Canada, in the traditional territories of the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo Xai'xais and Gitga'at People. Here you will experience unparalleled wildlife viewing and whale watching amidst some of the most powerful and soul stirring landscapes on earth.
Our 54 foot motor yacht, Great Bear II is equipped with all the latest navigation equipment as well as our 18 foot zodiac for excursions plus kayaks and an inflatable row boat to explore and enjoy the serenity of our coastal anchorages.
Our small group sizes, (of 2 - 5 guests), are perfect for photographers and those guests preferring a more intimate experience, while providing the highest level of safety.
Our small group sizes mean you will never be part of a crowd.
OUR SMALL GROUP SIZES ARE BEST FOR WILDLIFE VIEWING
Although we have had private charters with as few as 1 guest for special photo assignments or couples celebrating their special anniversary, our scheduled trips and private charters have a maximum of 5 guests.
FOCUS OF THE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST IN FALLLate summer and fall in the Great Bear Rainforest brings the wild Pacific salmon back to the streams and rivers of their birth to spawn and complete their life cycle.
The wild Pacific salmon are considered the life- blood of this coast, feeding not only people, but bears, wolves, birds, insects and even the towering trees of the Great Bear Rainforest. The return of the wild Pacific salmon is a like a dinner bell to the marine and terrestrial animals of the Great Bear Rainforest!
BEARSTravel the creeks and great rivers with your expert bear viewing guide, and marvel at the struggle of the wild Pacific salmon as they return to their spawning grounds.
As you sit quietly at the water's edge, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of the rainforest, watch closely for Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, and the very rare Spirit Bear as they come in search of a salmon feast.
Whether we're watching a mama Grizzly Bear fishing for her young cubs or two Grizzly friends play wrestling in the river, you will soon discover that we all have more in common than we may have realized.
Dispelling the myths about bears and learning about their true nature, reminds us of this great quote:
As environmental & wildlife scientist Dr. Gosia Bryja says:
While those that kill bears try to justify the killing by preaching myths and mistruths about bears, you will discover that their killers' rhetoric misrepresents who bears really are.
Treating bears with respect while we observe and photograph them, teaches us about just how trusting, sentient, intuitive and intelligent these tolerant animals are.
As we sit in our zodiac at the rivers edge, all we may initially hear is the hypnotic sound of water running over the polished river rocks and the chorus of gulls as the compete for salmon appetizers. Hearing the unmistakable sound of large paws walking across the gravel of a river bed always stirs the senses and quickens the heart in excitement.
When the large male Grizzly Bear strolls into sight, we all understand how the "GREAT BEAR" Rainforest got its name.
As this Grizzly takes a dead salmon from the gulls and in one fluid movement, removes his favourite part, the fatty skin of the salmon, we're reminded of the inherent skills, that are encoded in their family histories and shared with them by their mothers.
As weather patterns change and wild salmon numbers diminish, we are seeing the already rare Spirit Bears, less frequently. Shrouded in mystery, legend and the mists of their rainforest home, the ethereal beauty of the Spirit Bear, serves as a reminder that we all need to do our part to help combat climate change.
By lessening our focus on the Spirit Bear as a required photo op or a tick on our bucket list of animals to see, we are putting less pressure on an already very rare species. It's not a guarantee that we will see a Spirit Bear but if we do, we all understand both what a privilege and a responsibility it is.
WHALESOur 54 foot small ship, "Great Bear II, provides us with the perfect platform for observing and photographing whales. Most of the whale watching we do occurs as we travel between bear viewing locations. The different deck levels of our MV Great Bear II, gives us different vantage points from which to enjoy the many interesting behaviours of the whales we encounter.
Humpback whales are busy fattening on krill and herring for their long migration back to Hawaii, providing us with spectacular displays of behaviors such as bubblenet feeding, full breaches, and showing their magnificent tails as they dive.
Witnessing the power of these mighty cetaceans as they seem to fly effortlessly out of the sea in a full brach, backlit by the later afternoon sun, is the perfect way to end an afternoon on the water.
Resident Orca are also seen in these waters as they follow the migrating salmon and Transient Orca are here in search of marine mammals. Whether witnessing the power and stealth of a large Orca male or a mother Orca with a young calf or as we enjoy the free spirited calves as they play, we never tire of our time spent with Orca.
As we travel oboard our MV Great Bear II we may come across schools of Pacific White Sided Dolphins whose mesmerizing acrobatics definitely excite all on board!
Our most frequent oceanic traveling companions are Dalls Porpoises, whose speed and agility continue to surprise us each and every time we see them. When they roll over and look up at us, as they race along beside the ship or play in the ship's wake, we are always moved by their interactions with us.
OTHER MARINE MAMMALSSea Otters play an important part in helping maintain healthy marine ecosystems.
Without the Sea Otters to keep them in check, Sea Urchins can quickly devour large areas of important kelp forests that provide shelter to so many fish and other marine plants and animals.
Watching the behaviours of the Sea Otters at the surface, provides us with plenty of opportunities to see, photograph and learn about them. Both Harbour Seals and Stellar Sea Lions are definitely happy to see the return of the Wild Pacific Salmon in August and September! After a long day of feasting on salmon, we often see Harbour seals relaxing on their favourite haul out.
BIRDSWhile spring in the Great Bear Rainforest trips offer the widest variety of different bird species that come to breed, nest and raise their young, the Great Bear Rainforest in Fall trips offer spectacular feeding displays and some interesting behaviours as the Wild Pacific Salmon come to spawn.
This is definitely a great time for photos of raptors in flight! Gulls can be prey for Bald Eagles, but with so much salmon to feast on at the rivers, the eagles are less interested in gulls. In fact, we quite often see gulls hanging out near eagles, to enjoy the leftovers.
There are definitely interesting dynamics playing out along the river, demonstrated in the following photos...
Everyone on the river knows who the boss is...
The sounds of fall in the Great Bear Rainforest include the unique calls of the Sandhill Cranes as they begin gathering to head south along the western flyway.
FIRST NATIONS CULTURE
During our "Great Bear Rainforest in Fall" trips we will travel through the traditional territories of several First Nations People.
A MORE INTIMATE EXPERIENCEWe welcome you aboard, to share with you, what we believe are global treasures.
We want to spend less time traveling long distances each day, and have more time for you to really get to know the places, the wildlife and the people along the way.
When our paths cross with nature's best: Grizzly bears feeding on sedges or salmon... Spirit Bears feasting on berries or fish... Humpback Whales breaching or bubble net feeding... or a Wolf bathed in the warm light of the afternoon sun... we have time to stop, and savour these life changing moments.
For other trips featuring bear viewing / whale watching you can join us in late May / June in the Great Bear Rainforest.
From our Guests...
"Hard to find enough superlatives to express our experience with you this week." ~ Andrea & John from the U.K.
"I will always be grateful for your part in giving meaning and definition to my life, and in helping mother earth and all her creatures." ~Mary from Victoria
Experience the Wild ...in Wilderness !
First class BC wilderness cruises, coastal tours and charters on the West Coast of British Columbia aboard the 54 ft. Great Bear II, out of Vancouver, BC.
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