British Columbia is truly a land of sweeping forests, endless mountainous and unspoilt rivers and lakes and nowhere is this truer than on Vancouver Island. Fabulous Coastal scenery, incredible Coastal Temperate Rainforests, and habitats hardly touched by man combine to provide a home for a rich array of fauna and flora that reaches its zenith in the large mammal populations. Both marine and land mammals can here be seen more easily and in good numbers than perhaps anywhere on the continent.
The waters off Vancouver Island are home to a bounty of nature’s magnificence including humpback whales, Steller sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, bald eagles and of course Orcas. The boat trips out from Victoria are well-known for the guaranteed wildlife shows with pods of Orcas frequently observed at close range. These are exceptionally dynamic animals are every encounter seems to reveal a new facet of their daily lives – it is astonishing just how well one can see these incredibly powerful inhabitants of the island’s seas.
Sea Otters have returned in numbers to the Pacific Coast after being driven to the verge of extinction. They have increased dramatically in numbers in recent years which has been great news for the underwater kelp forests as the Otters prey on their main herbivore the sea urchin. The study of the change in habitats bought about by the return of the Sea Otter has been fundamental in elucidating the idea of Trophic Cascades, an important concept now in ecological understanding. Sea Otters are exceptionally cute animals both in appearance and in their playful behaviour and our boat cruise around Nootka Island will give us a great chance to observe them at length as well as to photograph these beautiful mammals.
Around two hundred Pacific Gray Whales spend April to November in Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds and we’ll have the chance to get close to this oddest looking of the great whales. Vancouver Island is famed for its bears and this trip is at the peak time of year for watching and photographing ‘Beach Bears’ (Black Bears) foraging along the shore line. We’ll see a number of them on our boat trips, all busy ‘beach-combing’ – it is great fun watching them turning over rocks in search of a tasty snack.
Wandering Vancouver’s oldgrowth temperate rainforests is an experience that will leave you awed. The moss and fern-laden understory is peppered with giants – Western hemlock, Yellow Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Douglas-fir, Amabilis Fir and Sitka Spruce - these are some of the largest trees in North America. Red squirrels scold us as we watch Steller’s Jays, Pacific Wren and Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Cathedral Grove has an 800 year old Douglas Fir that stands 76 metres tall.
Whale-watching, other Mammals, Birds, Flowers and Landscapes.
Ian Green, Tony Greenfield
Very easy. No more than three or four miles in any one day, and always at a relaxed pace ideally suited to photographers. Mostly on trails and paths.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals on Vancouver Island. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 15. Only one leader will accompany a group of 8 or less.
The first night takes us to the Qualicum Beach Inn. The inn has large airy rooms and a most unusual circular restaurant with great views out over the bay. After a night here we’ve three nights in the wonderful Blackrock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, a truly lovely hotel that combines contemporary comfort and quality service with an amazing natural setting. As its name suggest this hotel has wonderful sea views and the hotel design, with lots of space and natural light really seems to bring the environment right into the heart of the hotel. We follow this with two nights at the Moonwater Lodge in Malahat. This lodge claims to have one of the best views in Canada and as Canada has many of the best views in the World… The lodge has been designed so that all the rooms can enjoy the same marvellous panorama in superb comfort and each has a balcony too. The restaurant features fresh caught local fish and hormone-free and organic local produce. All rooms/cabins on this tour have en suite WCs/showers.
UK return flights with Westjet are from London Gatwick or Manchester* to Victoria via Edmonton on the way out and Calgary on the return. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* may be available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
For those joining this tour from Greentours’ other Canadian Trips please see those tour pages for flight information.
Mid-summer temperatures are generally mild with daily maxima being between 15°C and 25°C, much cooler at night. Rain is not infrequent but quantities are not usually large.
Please note that this tour is designed to fit as an extension or a pre-tour to several other Greentours trips operating in Canada in June and July so you will find others on the tour coming from or going to these tours – they are the Ontario, Arctic Canada and two Canadian Rockies trips that operate before and after this one.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Mammal and bird checklists are available.