Wildlife Group Tour

Canada Group Tour - Great Bear Rainforest Cruise with Sue Flood

Explore Canada's inside passage with wildlife photographer Sue Flood

11 days

from £5,455pp
  • Expert tuition from award winning photographer Sue Flood on this exclusive charter with Steppes
  • Explore the Great Bear Rainforest and photograph black bears, spirit bears and grizzlies
  • Sail aboard the Island Roamer along spectacular British Columbia coastline searching for humpbacks
  • Spend two days at a bear viewing platform to photograph bears feeding on the salmon run

This is a unique opportunity to join an exclusive photographic cruise in British Columbia, sailing a section of the Inside Passage, now known as the Great Bear Rainforest. Some say, that black bears and grizzlies outnumber the people that inhabit this remote piece of British Columbia's coastline. Probably not the case, but bears certainly rule the roost and make for exciting photographic quarry with the west coast's towering mountains and lush, temperate forests providing a beautiful backdrop. The spirit bear also inhabits this region (actually it is a black bear with a recessive gene for snow-white fur).  For ultimate bragging rights, a full frame photograph is a must-have. But let's not be bear-centric as the Inside Passage is also renowned for humpback whale sightings, Steller sea-lions, spectacular displays from birds of prey and a fascinating First Nation cultural history.

A Typical Day with Sue Flood in the Great Bear RainforesT

Sue Flood led a successful voyage to British Columbia with Steppes Travel in 2015 - this is what she has to say about the nature of the voyage she'll be leading with Steppes in 2017:

The coast of British Columbia is spectacularly beautiful and offers some incredible photographic opportunities from humpback whales, bald eagles soaring above the stunning rainforest, grizzlies looking for salmon and magnificent scenery wherever you turn.  Being based on board a yacht will allow us to make the most of the wildlife as we cover many miles along dramatic coastline. At all times, the wildlife will dictate the agenda of the trip; if we suddenly come across feeding humpback whales, we’ll be having a late lunch!  Early morning light and stunning sunsets can be great times for photography, but a great photo opportunity can occur at any time of day and I’ll be on hand to ensure we make the most of every wildlife encounter. Whether you’ve a simple point and shoot or a more sophisticated SLR, you’’ll pick up tips on how to improve your photography, whatever your level of expertise. I'll be concentrating on composition, framing, use of light, and simply“capturing the moment”. I’ll be giving lectures on photo tips throughout the voyage, but will be available for informal one-to-one advice and feedback throughout so that you come back from this wonderful trip with images that do your memories justice".  

Why should I join this tour?

This is a unique opportunity to travel around one of the last remaining protected habitats for bears with a world renowned photographer and expert naturalists. We have deliberately limited the number joining this group to 11 people plus your photographic leader, Sue Flood. The boat has capacity for 14 people but we are keen to give our clients extra space on board.

Do I have to be an experienced photographer to get the most out of this trip?

No you don’t.  You don’t even have to be a photographer to join. Whether you have a simple point and shoot camera, or a sophisticated SLR, Sue Flood will be on hand to give you tips on how to improve your photography skills.

what if i am a single traveller?

We have set aside two cabins for single travellers with a supplementary cost of £1,500, strictly on a first come, first served basis. Once these cabins are sold, single occupancy of a cabin will be at double the cost.

Where will I stay?

You will be in comfortable hotels when on the mainland, but the Island Roamer yacht will be your home for seven nights while you navigate this truly spectacular coastline. Accommodations are typical for a sailing yacht with cabins arranged to fit to the contours of the vessel, with either bunk bed or double bed arrangements. Please note that there are shared facilities onboard and space is limited.

How fit do I need to be?

It is important participants are amenable to living in relatively close quarters of a small sailing boat and healthy and fit enough to enjoy long and relatively active days.  You will need to climb in and out of zodiacs, walk along slippery shorelines and over uneven coastal terrain, as well carrying your own camera equipment.  There are also optional activities such as sea kayaking.

How rough will the water be?

You will travel in protected areas most of the time. On still days, the west coast can be like sailing on a flat lake.  There will be times when you will be crossing into open water where greater motion will be experienced.

What Wildlife will I see?

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to humpback whales, stellar sea lions, wolves, grizzlies, black bears and the elusive spirit bear. This wildlife resides throughout the coastal islands with only a few species found in localised areas. As with any wildlife viewing, there are no guarantees, however with an experienced naturalist guide on board we won't leave anything to luck.

Is September the best time to travel?

Yes, September is the peak of the salmon run in this area of the Great Bear Rainforest. The rich salmon spawning streams draw the bears in high numbers to the rivers, which allows for more predictable sightings and thus hopefully, offering fantastic photographic opportunities. 

 



Departing on:
  • 3rd September 2017

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

DEPART UKARRIVE UKPrice Excluding Flights (£)Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
3rd Sep 2017 13th Sep 2017 £ 5,455 £ 950 £ 1,500 Sue Flood Limited
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • 7 Night / 8 Day Voyage Island Roamer on a full board basis
  • A second day at the bear stands
  • Accommodation in Vancouver and Terrace
  • All fuels, crew and fees
  • Canadian Taxes
  • Internal Flights
  • Transfers (shared and private)

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Vancouver City


You will be staying at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Day 2

Fly Vancouver City to Terrace


You will be staying at Yellow Cedar Lodge

Day 3

Shuttle Transfer


Shuttle transfer from Terrace to the MK Bay Marina in Kitimat. This is a journey time of approximately fifty minutes.


Terrace - Great Bear Rainforest, Embarkation
This morning, transfer to the dock and board the Island Roamer that will be home to the group for the next seven nights. Upon boarding the vessel, meet the crew, and cabins will be assigned following a brief introduction and safety orientation. After this, set sail into the Great Bear Rainforest.

This wildlife photography voyage will explore the islands on the northwest and central coast of British Columbia. These islands make up part of the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the largest intact temperate rainforests in the world. Conservationists have been actively working to protect this area that remains the largest untouched coastal rainforest on the Pacific Coast.

This area is renowned for its pristine scenery whilst being home to thousand-year-old cedar trees and towering Sitka spruce. This ancient ecosystem is home to grizzly bears, wolves, humpback whales, and the elusive, all white Kermode bear, also known as the "spirit bear".


You will be staying at Island Roamer

Day 4

Exploring the Great Bear Rainforest


You will be staying at Island Roamer

Day 5

Princess Royal Island, Spirit Bear Conservancy
A highlight of this voyage will be the time spent on the shores of Princess Royal Island- the best known area for seeing the rare Spirit or Kermode bear. There will be two days dedicated to viewing this very rare species in the privileged presence of a native Tsimshian guides that have lived in this area for thousands of years.

The Kermode bear is only found here in the Great Bear Rainforest and is in fact a black bear with a recessive gene which gives it its snow-white fur. Only ten percent of the black bears in the area are white, so perseverance and a lot of luck will be required for that prize photo.

Bear viewing stands are in the Tsimshian First Nation's territory and are strategically positioned to offer the best opportunity to view the bears. Travel with a Gitga'at native guide who will take the group to locally known viewing areas along with utilising the viewing stands. These are spacious to allow for seating and photographic equipment.

Due to safety, the stands are slightly raised but this does not take away from the magnificent photographic opportunities they offer. Please note that tides do impact the access to the viewing sites and alternatives may be made to reflect this.


You will be staying at Island Roamer

Day 6

Exploring Princess Royal Island, Spirit Bear Conservancy


You will be staying at Island Roamer

Day 7

Exploring Princess Royal Island, Spirit Bear Conservancy


You will be staying at Island Roamer

Day 8

Coastal Fjords and Grizzlies, Fiordland Conservancy
Over these days, the Island Roamer will travel deep into the coastal mountains to explore the Fiordland Conservancy Area, an area protected within the Kitasoo/ Xai'xais First Nation territory. Beneath towering granite cliffs towering at over 1,000 metres and waterfalls plunging into the sea, this magnificent scenery is some of the finest of this glacial carved coastline.

Time will be spent searching the remote estuaries with the expectation of seeing grizzly bears feeding on spawning salmon. The combination of lush habitat combined with the salmon-rich streams make this prime grizzly habitat. Black bears are also prolific in these ancient forests and keep watch for wolves. Known to be shy animals, it is common to only see tracks or remains of their kill that can be seen by walking the shorelines.

Take this chance to explore these quiet waters by kayak to take in this impressive scenery. Day break is a great time to keep watch for wildlife.


You will be staying at Island Roamer

Day 9

Exploring the Coastal Fjords and Fiordland Conservancy


You will be staying at Island Roamer

Day 10

Disembark
This voyage ends in Bella Bella arriving at the Municipal Dock around midday. This is an isolated village on the central coast, home to the Heiltsuk First Nations people.

Disembark and transfer to the airport by taxi in time for the Pacific Coastal flight to Vancouver.

Fly Bella Bella to Vancouver City

Fly Vancouver City to London

Day 11

Arrive London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Island Roamer

Island Roamer

Island Roamer comprises of eight double or upper/lower bunk cabins, (two of which are in the bow usually reserved for crew members), three shared bathrooms with hot showers and a comfortable salon with an extensive natural history library....

View Accommodation

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Located downtown in the heart of Vancouver, the Fairmont Hotel is in a prime position close to the city's shops and restaurants and its vibrant atmosphere....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Canada

Paul Bird, Travel Expert

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Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Expert

Sue Flood

Sue Flood
Your guide on the trip is Sue Flood, a photographer, author, wildlife filmmaker and conservationist. Sue was an Associate Producer on the award winning BBC series 'The Blue Planet', and also more recently worked on Planet Earth. Both The Blue Planet and Planet Earth featured several animal behaviours which were filmed for the first time, and Sue obtained unique images for the series. Her photographic highlights include diving with humpback whales in the South Pacific, face-to-face encounters with leopard seals in the Antarctic, filming polar bears in the Arctic, and photographing the wildlife of Zambia. More than all of this Sue is great fun to be with and while you will doubtless hone your photographic skills under her tuition, you are also guaranteed a fun and rewarding time in her company.

Other tours by this lecturer:

Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 8 / Max 12

Tour Expert:

Sue Flood

Departure Date (S):

  • 3rd September 2017

The tour may involve daily walks and will have a faster pace in certain areas. The pace of this tour will be quite busy, expect long travel days and very little time at leisure.

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