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5 Days, 5 Nights. Explore pristine waters and wilderness areas to see Orcas ("killer whales") and grizzly bears off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. This self-guided wildlife tour is designed to provide you with authentic wildlife and cultural experiences while staying on a remote island in the Northern Gulf Islands. This area sports sheltered waters and plentiful land and marine life, including the largest population of orcas in western North America. At the end of the Strait lies Knight Inlet, home to a thriving population of grizzly bears.

During the course of your three full days on Cormorant Island, one day will be occupied by whale watching and another day will focus on a grizzly bear viewing tour. We've set aside a third day to explore the Village of Alert Bay (pop. 1,200), one of the few remaining authentic coastal communities on the west coast of British Columbia. Day 1 and 5 are occupied by return transportation to Alert Bay from Vancouver or Victoria (included).

You'll be treated with a high level of service at the four room inn and will also be afforded time to explore the colourful village that is Alert Bay. Overlooking Johnstone Strait, the log lodge offers panoramic views of sunsets, mountains, local marine traffic and sometimes pods of orcas. A large common room and sundeck are favourite places for guests to gather, converse and dine. From the lodge, Alert Bay Village is two kilometers along the ocean-front road. On the way, you'll pass the 'Namgis Burial Grounds. From the Village the U'mista Cultural Centre, Big Tree Trail and Ecological Gardens are short walks away.

Restrictions on our wildlife excursions include those 8 years of age or younger and women in their final tri-semester. Days 2,3,4 and interchangeable and activities such as the bear watching can be changed right up to the night before the tour due to weather, tour operator logistics and other unseen circumstances.

Below, please find our five day itinerary.


Day 1 - Alert Bay, BC

Land on the North Island

After making your way to Vancouver International Airport, head to the South Terminal and check in at Pacific Coastal Air for your flight. Your 70 minute flight crosses Vancouver Island’s Inside Passage and lands at Port Hardy, near the Island’s north tip. 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 commuity with a thriving First Nations culture (please call 250.974.2410 to let us know what ferry you're on). A lodge employee will meet you at the ferry terminal and escort you to the lodge. Please advise the manager what time you would like to take dinner.
Accommodation: Four Room Ocean View Inn
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 - Alert Bay, BC

Explore our Village

Today is yours at leisure to explore the village of Alert Bay. After breakfast, the lodge manager will provide you with a map highlighting popular attractions on the 5 km long Cormorant Island and tickets to U’Mista Cultural Centre. Hiking trails encircle the island, there are beautiful ocean views from nearly every home, and the eclectic, small-town feel make Alert Bay a jewel for year-round residents, vacation home owners and visitors.
The village is about a one mile walk along the ocean road. Attractions along the way include the Chief’s Burial Grounds, the tourism information centre and shops and galleries featuring native art. Just past the village lies the U’Mista Cultural Centre which features historic and contemporary artwork, including a First Nations reclaimed potlatch collection of ancient masks. Should time allow, take in First Nations dancing at the Big House, or tour the Ecological Gardens and Big Tree Trail - a series of easy walking trails located at the top of the island.
Accommodation: Four Room Ocean View Inn
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - Alert Bay


We depart at 6:45 am from Alert Bay for a full day on the water to seek out grizzly bears in their natural habitat. Our destination is Knight Inlet, a two hour ride by covered boat into Johnstone Strait. Becoming famous for its population of Grizzly bears, Knight Inlet a long and deep glacier-carved fjord surrounded by snow-capped mountains and steep-sided, forested cliffs. Here we 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 we may see them turn over large boulders in their search for crabs, isopods and beach barnacles. On some tides we transfer to our flat bottomed skiff to get into the shallows. Please bring your binoculars and camera! Lunch is included.
Accommodation: Four Room Ocean View Inn
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day 4 - Alert Bay

In search of whales and orcas

It’s time explore Johnstone Strait the Broughton Archipelago for whales and dolphins, areas home to some of the most spectacular marine wildlife viewing in Canada. On this excursion, you’ll also be able to explore the village of Telegraph Cove, once the northern terminus for the telegraph line from Campbell River and now a launch point for eco-tourism.
The day begins with a taxi to the Alert Bay ferry terminal, a ferry ride to Port McNeill and a 45 minute scenic taxi ride to Telegraph Cove. Once there you can stroll around the village, visit the Whale Museum and take lunch. You whale tour begins at 1:00 pm when you jump on board a 62-foot, 74-person semi-covered express cruiser.
The most celebrated are 260 orcas known as the “Northern Residents” who are often in pursuit of salmon, their main food source. These mammals who are actually part of the dolphin family, return each spring in time for the salmon runs. Orcas known as “Transients” are genetically unique from Northern Residents do not mate with one another. They are mammal hunters and are excellent predators of seals, porpoises, sea lions, dolphins and even other species of whales. Other marine life includes humpback and minke whales as well as other marine life such as Dahl porpoises, harbour porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins and sea lions.
Accommodation: Four Room Ocean View Inn
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5

Back to the Big City

After breakfast we call your taxi and get you on the right ferry to Port McNeill. Your up-Island journey continues when you’re picked up by taxi at the Port McNeill Ferry Terminal and escorted to Port Hardy Airport. Here, you catch an afternoon scheduled flight to Vancouver, BC.
Accommodation: On own
Meals: Breakfast
The order of activities on Day 2, 3 and 4 may vary due to weather conditions and logistics with our tour operators.

  • This Vancouver Island Wildlife Tour includes:

    • Accommodation for 4 nights in Alert Bay
    • Meals:  4 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
    • Transfers:
      • Flight from Vancouver International Airport to Port Hardy Airport
      • Taxi transfer from Port Hardy Airport to Port McNeill
      • Taxi transfer from Alert Bay Ferry terminal to Alert Bay Lodge
      • Taxi transfer from Alert Bay Lodge to Alert Bay Ferry Terminal
      • Taxi transfer from Port McNeil to Telegraph Cove
      • Taxi transfer from Alert Bay Lodge to Alert Bay Ferry Terminal
      • Transfer from Port McNeill Ferry Terminal to Port Hardy Airport
    • Full day excursion to Telegraph Cove including 3.5-hour wildlife and orca/whalewatching marine tour
    • 9-hour grizzly bear viewing marine tour
    • Admission ticket to U’mista Cultural Centre
    • 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner.
  • Single supplement of $720
  • Meals unless otherwise stated
  • Taxi to the  U’mista Cultural Centre (about 2.5 kilometers from the lodge)
  • Activities or equipment rentals unless otherwise stated
  • Return ferry passage to Alert Bay from Port McNeill ($13.00 approx)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities
  • 5% GST
  • Pricing Name
    Group (Min-Max)
  • Pricing Name Double Room Shoulder Season - Per person in a room for 2 people
    Start Thursday 8 December 2022
    End Thursday 8 December 2022
    2 - 6 Guest
    Available Seats: 6

    Traveller ( 2 - 6 Guest ) $2,995.00 $0.00 /Person

    - +

    Adult ( 2 - 6 Guest )

    - +
  • Pricing Name Single Room Shoulder Season - Incurs a supplement fee of $720 on top of the base fee $2995 per person. If you do not mind sharing, you can request a bunkie for the double occupancy rate.
    Start Thursday 8 December 2022
    End Thursday 8 December 2022
    1 - 1 Guest
    Available Seats: 1

    Number of Travellers ( 1 - 1 Guest ) $3,715.00 $0.00 /Person

    - +
  • Pricing Name Double Room High Season - Per person in a room for 2 people
    Start Thursday 8 December 2022
    End Thursday 8 December 2022
    2 - 6 Guest
    Available Seats: 6

    Traveller ( 2 - 6 Guest ) $3,195.00 $0.00 /Person

    - +
  • Pricing Name Single Room High Season - Incurs a supplement fee of $720 on top of the base fee $3195 per person. If you do not mind sharing, you can request a bunkie for the double occupancy rate.
    Start Thursday 8 December 2022
    End Thursday 8 December 2022
    1 - 6 Guest
    Available Seats: 6

    Traveller ( 1 - 6 Guest ) $3,915.00 $0.00 /Person

    - +
  1. :

    The whole tour could not be faulted, supremely well organised from start to finish. They even organised the bears to come and see us as well as the whales. If anybody wants to reconnect with nature, quietness and learn some Culture then I can’t recommend this highly enough. I left the Island a different person and couldn’t fault one part of this trip. I want to thank everybody involved in this Adventure because you are all Bloody Brilliant!”

  2. :

    “The whole trip went very well and I was very lucky with both whale and bear sightings. I would also like to mention Rich and Emma as they made my stay at the lodge excellent and were always available to help with any of my travel or trip arrangements.”

  3. :

    Fantastic Alert Bay adventure! Nina and Scott went out of their way to make our experience in Alert Bay special. We had a great trip up from Victoria with stops and stories along the way. Toured Alert Bay and learned a lot about the locals and the history of the area. Very special visits at the lodge from First Nation members who shared songs, lore and salmon preparation. A memorable experience!

  4. :

    “All the arrangements worked really well, the whale and bear watching were completely awesome (not a word I use often or lightly!). We loved Vancouver Island and Alert Bay, and we’d love to be back there again one day”

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