Seeing grizzly bears out in the wilds of The Great Bear Rainforest seeking salmon to harvest in a glacier fed river is one of the grandest things to witness! Many may think it’s one of those things that would cost thousands of dollars to do? Not so from Vancouver Island, for our rock in the Pacific with all the modern infrastructure allows for numerous ways to leave ports to get out into grizzly bear habitat. One can leave a dock by boat mid morning and be back to Vancouver Island by dinner time in the evening with amazing memory's of a day grizzly bear viewing!
Something to understand though, is not all grizzly bear or black bear tours take place in the rivers. People don’t realize that during the year, many bears feed out on the beaches during lower tides through the day. This means that one can see a bear out feeding on shellfish, crabs they find by rolling over rocks and what ever the tide may expose or wash in. So a boat tour to a river deep in some inlet to view grizzly bears feeding on salmon in a river may become a bear viewing opportunity out on some beach at the salt waters edge.
Spring and early summer before the salmon show up to spawn in the rivers, the beaches offer one the best way to view bears out feeding. In most cases they are not too concerned about you sitting in a boat or out on deck watching what they are up to. One must also know that the grasses found in early spring are the main protein source for bears after waking up from a long winters sleep. This allows the estuaries of small creeks and large rivers to be ideal places to view bears. Then there’s the little know fact that beaches of the Pacific Northwest are the highest concentration of protein on earth at low tide.
If you are wanting the real Indian Guide for your bear viewing experience to share the legends and stories about these kings of the animal kingdom, then Adventures Village Island is the company you will want to book with. Tom Sewid is the project manager who has built cabins for his tribes tourism venture that are made of red cedar and look exactly like ancient big house’s (long house’s) of old. One even has a First Nations grizzly bear design painted across the front for one to stay in. They have an arrangement where clients get picked up with Tiderip Grizzly Bear Tours based in Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island. At days end one gets to be dropped off at the aboriginal resort at the edge of The Orca Realm of Johnston Strait north to end the day being catered to by true aboriginals of the region while one watches orca or humpback whales pass by or feed in front of the resort.
By staying with aboriginals during your grizzly bear adventure one will get to experience something that few shall ever get the chance to do. You shall be witness to dancing and legends that go back to the dawn of their family’s creation’s. You shall hear legends that have been brought to life in narration around countless fires. This way when you do go forth into the region and see the bears, you shall do it with an understanding of what these great animals mean to the First Nations people who have shared their world with bears forever!
If you want to fly or drive to Campbell River one can journey with Aboriginal Journeys or Campbell River Bear Tours. Both companies conduct daily marine bear tours during late summer into the fall, where they bring clients to Butte Inlet and stop at Orford River. Here the Holmalco First Nations have a great program allowing people to go inland to view the bears feeding in the river on salmon. Yes, just like what you see on nature shows’, one will get to experience from the safety of bear viewing towers up close encounters of numerous grizzly bears catching salmon in a glacier fed river.
Even though one journeys deep into the wilds of a coastal inlet to view the grizzly bears in their natural setting, modern new buses transport you from dock to tower. Yes we do operate in a rainforest, but with bus and roofed towers one is sure to enjoy in dry comfort unforgettable grizzly bear experiences. You need not bring rain gear, but it’s highly advisable to bring warm clothing that you can add in layers if the winds bring along a cool coastal breeze. Backpacks or day bags are allowed, but absolutely no food is allowed once you leave the dock. Your tour boats will have snacks, sandwiches, hot beverages and water bottles for the journey to and from Butte Inlet.
Vancouver Island is your jumping stone within the Pacific Ocean to get to amazing bear encounters throughout the British Columbia south coast. One can even take a flight on a floatplane direct from Vancouver or Victoria to Adventures Village Island to enable one a multi-day adventure into The Great Bear Rainforest. Aboriginal Adventures Canada is the modern day Indian Guide of the Internet recruiting top notch bear viewing companies for you to choose from. Who knows what awaits you around the next corner in our backyards. Native or non-native, we are here to share with you the wonderful world we share with the bears.