British Columbia Whales & Bears 2019

The Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, typifies the majesty of the Pacific Northwest, boasting flawless natural beauty, accentuated by a tapestry of vibrant communities and stunning backdrops, and contains some of the most sought after wildlife by photographers around the globe.   

 

Why Travel here with Us: 

We have lived in this area and have run a number of workshops in British Columbia. We have relationships with the lodge owners and staff and have scouted this trip extensively to know where the best spots are to photograph. Our company has ran over 100 workshops in the last five years and have experienced guides and photographers to help you with logistics and teaching.   

Date: August 3rd to 9th, 2019

Instructor: Chris Pepper

Price: $5695 CDN plus HST, $4527 USD plus HST (Please check conversion rate at time of booking)

Deposit: $1000 CDN

Included: All accommodation in hotels or private two or three bedroom cabins(*) for the clients, two ferry rides to and from the island, all meals except that which is not covered in itinerary will be home cooked at our cabins or restaurants in Campbell River, stocked fridges for any snacks, all National Park entrance fees, all Provincial Park entry fees, all wildlife viewing fees, all transportation from pick up to drop off.  

(*) in regards to accommodation. Each modern cabin has two or three private bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, shared common area and full kitchen and BBQ

Not Included: Items of personal nature, alcohol, laundry, travelers insurance, international travel, entrance VISA, extra nights if needed. 

Arrivals and departures for all workshops that should be communicated to your attendees: Please be in Vancouver, British Columbia to be picked up at 10am on day one of the workshops. Plan your departure on the last day after 5pm as we will be dropping you off near, or at the Vancouver airport between 3pm and 4pm.   Flights should be scheduled into Vancouver International Airport. If flying in the day before the attendees should stay near the airport at one of the local hotels. A list and contact numbers can be provided.     

 

Itinerary:

Day One – Vancouver to Tofino

Your group will be picked up at the Vancouver International airport or their hotel in Richmond near the airport. Pickup is at 10:30am.    

From there we will take the two hour ferry ride across the Georgia Strait, ending up in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  From Nanaimo we head west towards the west coast of Canada to your cabins near tofino.    

Today’s transportation time will be a 2 hour ferry ride where you will be able to take photos on upper deck or sit in comfortable seats inside. Diving time from Nanaimo to Ucluelet is 182km and will take is 2 hours and 40 minutes. We can take one or two stops along the way to give people a break and the opportunity to take photos in you wish.     

We will be located in Ucluelet at terrace beach right at the start of the Wild Pacific Trail and Amphitrite point lighthouse just south of the pacific rim national park, world famous long beach, Clayoquot sound and Tofino; and just north of the Broken Group Islands and Barkley sound.    

Stay in two or three bedroom cabins in Ucluelet (Dinner included)    

Day Two – Tofino

Today we will have our own private charter, a private boat with an enclosure, restroom and holds 12 passengers so we will have lots of room for 5-6 people max on our tour.

Black bear tour- In the morning we will head out looking for bears along the beautiful calm inlets of the clayoquot sound. These resident bears come down to the beaches at low tide to forage for such beach delicacies as rock crab, starfish and even a bit of kelp. They are an absolute pleasure to watch from the boat and thanks to their poor eyesight they are usually unaware of our presence so long as we keep quiet and a respectable distance up wind.

You will also have opportunities on this tour to view eagles along the tree tops and moors, harbour porpoises, seals, river otters, blue herons and other species of wildlife!     

After our morning shoot we will have a nice lunch in a calm inlet while we enjoy the pristine mountain views.

Sea mammals and otters- Over the past years we have spent half the day looking for whales in this area but I would like to change things up a bit. The open ocean on the west coast can be prone to swells even on the calmest of days. Although nobody has ever been sick on my past tours I find we will avoid this area from now on. We will keep to the calm inlets of the area to look for sea otters, mom and babies, possibly a raft of seals all linked arm to arm and others wrapped up in the kelp beds floating away.

Our other target species will be Steller Sea lions, this area holds some of the largest colony’s along the west coast of Canada. Here we will be sure to sit back and watch the show unravel before our eyes. Many will hop in the water and do small flips out of the water in front us as if to put on a personal circus act. Why is one so big you ask? Thats the male and all the others are his females and babies. Yes one big male owns the key to all their hearts.

Because much of this coast is uninhabited and accessible only by boat or floatplane……it remains a pristine wilderness.  This rich and nutrient filled ocean is loaded with a variety of marine wildlife including many different species of whales as well as harbour seals and sea lions, sea otters, porpoises and a myriad of birdlife including puffins, blue herons and bald eagles.

Thanks to mother nature, her ever changing cycles always prove to be unique. Clayoquot Sound is very popular with gangs of marauding transient killer whales on the hunt! Annually we enjoy record numbers of humpback whales and our summer resident grays. If by chance the ocean is calm we may photograph some whales before departing back to the docks.   

After we will return to our rooms to set our cameras down and enjoy a bit of R&R, here we can enjoy the scenic views from our lodging, download images or take a nap if you wish. We will head out as a group and sit down for a nice dinner at one of the local restraints within walking distance of our lodging.

For those that wish, we can head out to one of the many secluded beaches along the island and photograph the sun setting along the wild shoreline of wind swept trees and crashing waves.

Stay in private cabins in Tofino (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)    

Day Three – Tofino to Campbell River

It’s an early breakfast and on the road early for our drive from Tofino to Campbell river This 3hrs 25min, 270km will be broken up with a few stops along the way.

The one stop we will make is at Cathedral Grove. Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, is one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. Here, the group can stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world – some more than 800 years old.

Upon our arrival in Campbell River we will check into our hotel and prepare for another tour for more whales.      

In the past we use to see Orca whales in this area but it seems to be taken over by many humpback whales. If we are lucky we can see displays of tail lobbing, breaches or bubble net feeding. Depending on the direction we go for the whales we might be lucky to find ourselves in a pod of pacific white sided dolphins. These beautiful creatures can put on quite the display following the wake of our boat, massive out of water flips and arial displays. You will be sure to enjoy the area along the small islands and inlets as you see rock, green trees and beautiful coloured waters.

Stay in a local upscale lodging in Campbell River (Breakfast, Dinner included)    

Day Four - Campbell River

Today is a full day tour of 8 hours,

Our departure will be in the direction of the whales, today we will be on the hunt for Northern Resident Orca whales and humpback whales. This time of the year is usually great for whale activity. The males tend to be quite active as they put on many displays to impress the woman with their power of breaches and tail lobs.

WE will have a lunch stop as well a few bathroom breaks.

Once we get back into the inlets we will be looking for black bear along the shore at low tide. Here they will be foraging for crustaceans and small fish along the shores. We must be very quite so we can get nice and close to those keeper shots as they raise their heads as they smell us in the area. Black bear tend to have very poor eye sight so to be o the water is a special treat to get close up images.

Day Five – Campbell River to Cowichan Bay

We will wake up today and enjoy a nice breakfast before departing south to out next location.

Our drive time will be about 2 hours to our next location of Cowichan Bay. Here we will stay in a nice cottage along the bay as the ambience to relax and enjoy the view is quite relaxing. We will have a light lunch before we plan to depart for our 5pm tour looking for transient and southern resident orcas. This tour will allow us to hopefully capture some of the best light for whales on this trip. For many years we have been rewarded with golden light that has offered us many keeper images for clients portfolios. Hopefully we can find some active whales that spyhop, breach and do such rolling flip antics that is sure to put a smile on your face.

Dinner at a local restaurant along the docks.

Stay in Cowichan Bay (breakfast lunch and dinner included)

Day Six – Cowichan Bay

We are first on the water. Our first opportunity to photograph the orca pods in the soft morning light. Our first four hour whale tour will focus on the Southern Resident Orca Whales, Transient Orca Whales, Humpback Whales, Grey Whales and Minke Whales.

But that will not be the only wildlife you will see. Keep your eyes open for Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Harbour Seals, Dalls and Harbour Porpoise as well as a myriad of marine birds on your whale watching eco tour.  

After our first tour you will have some time to wander the quaint town buy some souvenirs or relax on our patio before we head back out later that day for one more chance to get the shots.

We are last on the water today. Your last opportunity to photograph the orca pods in the golden evening light. Our last four hour whale tour will once again focus on the Southern Resident Orca Whales, Transient Orca Whales, Humpback Whales, Grey Whales and Minke Whales.

But that will not be the only wildlife you will see. Keep your eyes open for Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Harbour Seals, Dalls and Harbour Porpoise as well as a myriad of marine birds on your whale watching eco tour.  

Stay in Cowichan Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)    

Day Seven – Cowichan Bay to Vancouver

Today we wake and depart for the ferry terminal for a late morning sailing back to Vancouver. Today’s ferry ride is to Vancouver out of a different port in Victoria.     

You will be dropped off at the Vancouver airport between 3pm and 4pm.  

(Breakfast included) 

 

Ready to Photograph Bears and Whales in British Columbia, click the button below and we will see you in Vancouver!