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Enter the remote and wild central coast of British Columbia, Canada, with Spirit of the West Adventures! This tour offers you a chance to paddle one of the most unspoiled and unique kayak routes in North America. It combines travel through an unspoiled area with excellent paddling among the beautiful outer islands of the Great Bear Rainforest. This trip takes place in the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk First Nation. You'll head to the outer coast to explore that wind and wave-tossed fringe that exemplifies the coastal wilderness of British Columbia. Remote beaches, rich bird life, wolf tracks in the sand and undeveloped campsites. A self-supported sea kayaking expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest is perfect for satisfying your need to get away from it all!
There are so many beautiful places to stay you will be hard pressed to choose a favorite campsite. Each site has unique attributes either tucked in among towering forests, atop ancient village sites or overlooking wildlife-rich waters. This is a true expedition style trip, which means you will move from camp to camp each day. All of the campsites are in rustic, wilderness settings.
Spirit of the West Adventures seeks out sites with beautiful surroundings and those that offer solitude. There may be times (not likely but possible) when you are camping next to another group of kayakers. Campsite choice will be based on weather conditions, route choice, and group size and preference.
There is very little fresh water to be found on the small islands through which you travel. Therefore, seawater is your best bet for washing up. Please use biodegradable, environmentally friendly soap brands. Toilet facilities are not common in most wilderness settings.
Spirit of the West Adventures carries a portable toilet system. Your guide will generally designate an area or system that works for ensuring your privacy. Spirit of the West Adventures is very accustomed to making sure all of the guests feel as comfortable and informed as possible in this regard. Please feel free to ask the tour operator any questions you might have before or during your tour.
This tour aims to help you experience the best and most beautiful parts of Central Coast, British Columbia, by kayak. Bella Bella is a great location for starting the journey and from here you explore the intricate shoreline, beautiful long beaches, and windswept islands making your way towards Calvert Island. The water taxi transport back to Bella Bella on your last tour day means you see somewhere new and different every day of your journey, making the most of your time in the Great Bear Rainforest.
The diversity and abundance of wildlife in the Pacific Northwest is one of your privileges. With river run-off from the mountains, ocean currents, tide rips, eddies, and upwelling, these waters are among the most productive on earth. From the rich marine life of colorful plants and invertebrates, seabirds, shorebirds, waterfowl, mink, otter, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales, to the land animals of deer, raccoons, cougars, wolves, and bears, you are bound to see something.
Paddling time will vary depending on the destination and the group’s abilities and desires. Generally, you travel between four - 7 hours a day, which may include shore stops to stretch or have lunch. The kayaks used on the tours are stable and designed for comfort. For those a little concerned, the double kayaks are slightly more stable than the singles. The likelihood of a capsize is minimal, and generally only occurs in an uncommon situation.
If for some reason your kayak flips over, all of Spirit of the West Adventures guides have ample practice time on the water with rescue procedures, in order to quickly and efficiently get you back in your boat. At this point, they will take you to the nearest shore to change into some warm cozy clothing and carry on with your journey. While you are out on the water, it is of the utmost importance that the group sticks together in the event of capsize or change of route.
Explore somewhere new each day! The Great Bear Rainforest area includes too many amazing places to explore in one trip - but in order to make the most of your time here, Spirit of the West Adventures makes use of a water taxi shuttle as part of the tour so you don’t need to spend time backtracking. This also allows you to get off the beaten track exploring some of the more remote areas and islands (weather and group permitting of course).
From top of the government dock In downtown Bella Bella, you and your guides will shuttle gear to your waiting water taxi in order to pack and set off on your trip. This is the proposed itinerary for the trip, but it is flexible and may be adapted to suit the interests of those who join the trip as well as weather conditions. On this tour, you can expect a combination of exposed open coastline and more protected inner passageways. As this is an expedition style tour, Spirit of the West Adventures usually moves campsites each night. You may have an opportunity to stay in the same place for two nights if conditions allow.
Meet your guides in Bella Bella in the heart of British Columbia’s Central Coast. You will meet in central Bella Bella at the government dock. Here you will load kayaks and gear onto your water taxi for the shuttle out to your first campsite. Once there, you will sort out gear and prepare for your adventure, beginning with an orientation to the kayaks and gear, learning efficient paddling techniques and safety procedures. Once everyone is comfortable with their boats, you’ll launch for your first strokes in the Great Bear Sea.
This is a beautiful area to paddle and Spirit of the West Adventures works with the conditions and remains open to adventure. Each day, your guides will assess the weather, tides, and sea state to determine the destination for the day. Flexibility is key. Depending on the weather and exact drop-off location, you may plan to paddle the remote Goose Group Islands (weather depending), McMullins and Tribal Group. Moving southeast, you’ll enter the spectacular islands and beaches of the Hakai Conservancy, continuing in the direction of Calvert Island.
You will meet a water taxi this morning for transport back to Bella Bella. Spirit of the West Sea expects to arrive in Bella Bella by midday, allowing you time for a quick visit to the village before either heading to the airport to catch an afternoon flight back to Vancouver or departing by BC Ferries. If flying, you can expect to be back in Vancouver between 15:00 and 17:00, or if traveling with BC Ferries you’ll arrive in Port Hardy at 11:30. Please note these times were correct at time of publication - please double check before planning your travel.
This tour will take place in The Great Bear Rainforest, Canada. Located on the central coast of British Columbia, it is part of the largest remaining temperate rainforest in the world. You start and end this tour in the Heiltsuk community of Bella Bella, located on the Central Coast of British Columbia (a 2.5-hour flight from Vancouver). The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world which means camping amongst giant Sitka spruce trees, ancient red cedars. and western hemlocks that are nothing short of awe-inspiring. The area’s cold water and great tidal exchanges - not to mention healthy kelp forests - provide for ample oxygen in the water, supporting an incredible diversity of sea life from tiny shore creatures to majestic whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
You will traverse both the relatively open waters of Hakai Passage, Kildidt Sound as well as the more protected islands of the and islets in one of the most stunning seascapes around. This area has been featured in many documentaries and publications and is part of one of the largest protected areas on the coast because of its stunning beauty.
Once the tour begins, Spirit of the West Adventures provides all meals and non-alcoholic beverages like teas, coffee, juices, and hot chocolate, from dinner on day one to lunch on the last day. You are welcome to bring your favorite wine, beer, or soft drinks. Spirit of the West Adventures recommends purchasing these items before arriving in Bella Bella as the selection is limited.
The tour operator considers food to be a very important part of your trip. From the fresh, local fish dinner, to chocolate fondue, to home baking for desserts. Spirit of the West Adventures has a wonderful kitchen crew who ensure all dietary needs and restrictions are met, providing creative culinary alternatives that will please vegetarians, vegans, gluten and wheat-free diets, and those with various allergies and food sensitivities. Of course, the food is hearty, healthy, full of flavor, and fun.
Vancouver International Airport
Transfer not provided
Please book your flight to arrive at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) or Port Hardy Airport (YZT).
If you are travelling by ferry, you will need to spend the night before in Port Hardy as the ferry leaves Port Hardy at 7:30 a.m., arriving in Bella Bella at 12:50 p.m. on the first day of your trip, just in time to meet your guides. On the last day, the return ferry to Port Hardy departs Bella Bella at 6:10 p.m. and arrives in Port Hardy at 11:30 p.m. Ferry reservations are highly recommended. Times are accurate at the time of publication. Please double check before planning your travel.
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