Day 1: Vancouver - Alert Bay
Depart from Vancouver International Airport and enjoy your 70 minute flight to Port Hardy with Pacific Coastal Air. Fly over Vancouver Island’s Inside Passage and land near the Island’s north tip in Port Hardy. At Port Hardy Airport a taxi will be waiting to escort you to Port McNeill. Here you’ll board a coastal ferry as a foot passenger for a 35 minute voyage to Alert Bay, an island community with a thriving First Nations culture. On arrival you will be met and transferred to Alert Bay Lodge. Dinner included.
Day 2: Alert Bay
Today is at leisure to explore the village of Alert Bay. After breakfast, the lodge manager will provide you with a map highlighting attractions on Cormorant Island and tickets to U'Mista Cultural Centre (transfer to Centre not included). The village can easily be explored by foot from your accommodation. Attractions include the village of Alert Bay including the Tourism Information Centre, and shops and galleries featuring native art, the U'Mista Cultural Centre featuring historic and contemporary artwork, including First Nations reclaimed potlatch collection (admission included), First Nations dancing at the Big House (schedule permitting), the Ecological Gardens and Big Tree Trail: a series of easy walking trails located at the top of the island. Breakfast included.
Day 3: Alert Bay
Today after breakfast depart Alert Bay for an exciting eight-hour excursion to Telegraph Cove including a 3.5-hour whale watching tour of the inlets, islands and waterways in Johnston Strait and the Broughton Archipelago. After a taxi ride to the ferry terminal and a short ferry ride to Port McNeill, spend a short time touring Telegraph Cove, its small shops and the fascinating Whale Interpretative Centre that highlights the biology, habitat needs and threats to orcas and other local marine mammals (admission by donation). Lunch can be taken at Telegraph Cove. In the early afternoon, you embark on your whale watching tour. As the on-board naturalist narrates, your skipper leads the search for orcas, humpback and minke whales as well as other marine life such as Dahl porpoises, harbour porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins and sea lions. Bald eagles and many species of birds are plentiful in the region and black bears, deer and cougars may be spotted along the shore. After your whale watching tour the last leg of the excursion whisks you from Telegraph Cove by high speed boat to cross Johnstone Strait. You arrive back in Alert Bay by late afternoon. Breakfast included.
Day 4: Alert Bay
Depart the lodge at 6.45am for a full day on the water to seek out grizzly bears in their natural habitat. Your destination is Knight Inlet, a two hour ride by covered boat into Johnstone Strait. Famous for its population of grizzly bears, Knight Inlet is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, steep-sided forested cliffs and active marine life. At Knight Inlet you will drift, paddle and motor quietly around an estuary, looking to spot grizzly bears as they feed on the sedges and grasses at high tide. Low tide brings more bears out, and you may see them turn over large boulders in their search for crabs, isopods and beach barnacles. Don’t forget your binoculars and camera! Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 5: Alert Bay - Vancouver
After breakfast transfer by ferry and taxi to Port Hardy Airport for your afternoon scheduled flight to Vancouver. Breakfast included.