This is a unique, once in a life time opportunity to observe grizzly bears living in their natural habitat. The Great Bear Lodge plays host every year to wildlife enthusiasts and keen photographers from around the world. There is no one else more qualified to show us the bears than our host, Tom Rivest. Tom holds a masters in biology and has been following bears from Yellowstone to Alaska since 1985. In the spring time we observe the grizzlies as they leave their dens and wander down from the mountains to graze on the protein rich sedges and grasses. Coinciding with the breeding season, large males are seen interacting with females at this time. In summer the bears move between habitats as food resources become more abundant. Autumn time is the most popular time for bear viewing when tens of thousands of salmon return to the streams. From specially constructed viewing platforms we view the bears gorging on the fish in anticipation of the coming winter hibernation
Our exciting adventure begins in Port Hardy. Departing from Port Hardy in the afternoon, you will leave behind the noise of modern life for a remote wilderness. Transportation is by seaplane. Journeying to the site is a spectacular adventure in itself, traveling over the breathtaking scenery of the central coast and over the rich waters of Queen Charlotte Strait, the home of orca, gray and humpback whales. Upon your arrival at the lodge, your hosts will be on the dock to welcome you to your wilderness retreat. Settle into your private room at the lodge, before joining the group for your first wildlife viewing session. There are a range of different viewing sites, and one will be chosen according to where the bears have been most active. Estuary sites are reached by boat, while river sites are reached by a wilderness track. The viewing blinds on the river have been constructed with the photographer in mind, and are optimal and comfortable places from which to view bears. There is nothing quite like seeing your first grizzly emerge from the forest. Returning to the lodge that evening, you will be treated to a wilderness-gourmet meal. A biologist will present slides and videos, explaining the interaction of the grizzly bear with this unique ecology.
In the morning, you will be on the trail of the grizzly bear again after some good coffee and breakfast. A typical viewing session lasts three hours. After a morning of adventure, you will return to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax. Spend the early afternoon exploring the surrounding area with the guide. A popular activity is the interpretive rainforest walk, examining bear sign and the general ecology of the area. In mid-afternoon you will venture out to see the bears before relaxing in the lodge for dinner. On clear nights, the stars are amazing.
As your stay at the lodge continues, you begin to settle into the natural rhythm of the valley. The bears are generally most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours, which is why the viewing sessions are focused on these times. Over the course of your stay you will be taken to a variety of sites, depending on the bear activity. For the afternoon recreation today you may take a boat excursion to explore the glacier-carved inlet. Or you may prefer to relax and enjoy the view from the lodge. The Great Bear Rainforest is home to many animals, including grey wolves, otters, black bears, mink and bald eagles. A favorite dish is marinated salmon baked on a cedar plank.
After your parting session with the bears, lunch and an afternoon activity, you will be returned to Port Hardy by float plane in the afternoon sometime between 4pm and 6pm. You are scheduled to arrive back in Port Hardy in the late afternoon, however it is recommended that you plan to stay the night in Port Hardy in case there is a delay due to wilderness weather.
How special is this - Grizzly bears doing their own thing eating and swimming and me holding my breathe watching it all in the most tranquil and calm environment, then back to 5 star luxury at the floating lodge and the warm welcome of the staff with yet another fabulous menu to tempt the taste buds. Nothing was too much trouble for Marg and Tom and their very knowledgeable happy team. This is an exceptional trip to get away from it all and mix it with the Grizzlies.
A. Marsh, Auckland, New Zealand, 06 Aug 2017
Per Person, Twin Share