Summary : Sail into the narrow, winding fjords of northern British Columbia and enter the domain of the rare Spirit Bear. Also known as a Kermode bear, it is a variant of the North American black bear and can only be found in the pristine wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest. The forest is roughly the size of Ireland and one of National Geographic’s “Places of a Lifetime.” It stretches 250 miles across the central and northern coast of British Columbia and encompases a quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest. Hike along its salmon-rich streams, enter forests of towering aromatic cedars, and see the protected region’s abundant wildlife. This Alaska itinerary aboard National Geographic Venture will enable you to kayak deep into verdant fjords and along wildlife-rich shores; cruise by Zodiac in protected waters in search of grizzly, black, and Kermode bears; experience the silence as you stand among towering, monumental cedars; witness the surprisingly colorful sealife through video shot by the ship's undersea specialist; and conditions permitting soak in rustic hot spring pools.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$5,140 to $9,070
Arrive in Ketchikan and head to the Totem Heritage Center to view the priceless collection of 19th-century totem poles. This afternoon, board the National Geographic Venture.
Wake up in Prince Rupert, a scenic harbor town on British Columbia’s rugged northwest coast. Get immersed in First Nations history at the Museum of Northern British Columbia, built in the style of a coastal longhouse. Breathe in the scent of cedar beams and peruse an impressive collection of ornate carvings, weavings, ceremonial objects, and regalia. Visit the North Pacific Cannery Museum, a collection of cannery buildings located in a pristine wilderness surroundings that highlight BC’s economic, cultural and natural development over the last century.
Over the course of the next four days, cruise deep into the fjords and deep valleys that carve into the Coast Range looking for black and grizzly bears. You will be accompanied by a cultural interpreter who knows the area intimately and will share with you the legends of their people. Circumnavigate Gribbell Island, what the Valhalla Wilderness Society has dubbed “Mother Island of the White Bear,” in search of this elusive bear. It is believed that between 10 to 20 percent of bears in this region are born with the recessive gene that causes the white fur; fewer than 400 are estimated to exist.
British Columbia has one of the highest proportions of protected land of any jurisdiction in the world. Almost 15% of the land is protected, with a wide range of provincial parks, national parks, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Go ashore and explore several remote locations where few people venture. Pack your swimsuit, and conditions--and wildlife--permitting stop to experience one of the rustic hot spring pools found in the area. Discover hidden gems by Zodiac and kayak, navigating the tidal narrows that lead to the spectacular Foch lagoon and gliding into rugged valleys of Owyacumish Bay--all while constantly scanning the rocky shoreline for bears.
Sail alongside pods of orcas, see foraging brown bears as you sail north through the narrow Grenville Channel, a dramatic navigational experience. Not only does the channel narrow to less than a quarter of a mile across, but a slight bend in the passage makes the waterway seem to disappear into the hills ahead and behind the ship. Here, the crew will drop the Zodiacs and kayaks to explore the salmon run at Verney Falls in Lowe Inlet Provincial Marine Park on your way to Ketchikan.
Return to Ketchikan and disembark the ship after breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Transfers between airport and ship if booked on the recommended flights; shipboard accommodations; kayaking; video chronicle of your trip; certified photo instructor; all meals onboard ship; soft drinks onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; individual transfers; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, internet, etc.; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Steven Cohen; Ralph Lee Hopkins; Wolfgang Kaehler; Michael S. Nolan