British Colombia

Category: North America,

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British Columbia is a wilderness land of forests, islands and fjords and yet reassuringly parochial with subtle English undertones of afternoon tea, muffins and quiet understatement.

An extraordinarily friendly reception whereever you go emanates from a people who consider themselves to be the most blessed on earth. And well they might - the region is breathtakingly beautiful with a wild edge that is best - and most safely - enjoyed from a private yacht.

Canadian wildlife is simultaneously unique and extraordinary and from a boat can be observed at close quarters - grizzlies fish for their supper, pods of Orca breach alonside, Stellar sea-lion, harbour seals and porpoises form an eco-collage to delight even the most jaded traveller.

Life in the Pacitifc North West is a boys-own dream; Swallows and Amazons creeks and islands, flights on sea-planes to remote fishing villages, stunning sunsets and extraordinary warm water inlets to swim.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

Day 1

Accessing wilderness requires a little more effort. Bella Bella airport is a 75 minute flight from Vancouver. Flying up Vancouver Island and across Queen Charlotte Sound reveals a landscape of thousands of uninhabited islands harbouring myriad wildlife and stunning scenery. Pacific Yellowfin is awaiting at anchor in Bella Bella harbour to steam across to Fiordland Conservancy, past sheer granite cliffs and grizzlies catching the myriad spawning salmon. A gentle hike or a peaceful kayak trip preceded dinner on board.

Day 2

After a leisurely breakfast surrounded by pinewoods and rocky coves, the vessel steams up Queen Charleotte Sound to the estuary of a major salmon river, a haven for bears and waterfowl. A trip by kayak or inflatable to a waterfall and hot spring - perfect swimming opportunity - explores one of the most impoortant fish habitats in the region. Across the sound lies an impressive waterfall crashing directly into the channel. A guided sea-kayak trip to observe grizzlies and a chance to wait quielty for the rare Spirit bear to appear.

Day 3

From Queen Charlotte Sound the vessel steams north to Bishop Bay; in the autumn (fall) this is a congregating area for the feeding humpback whale. If we failed to locate a Spirit bear yesterday, there is another area where this elusive and magnificent beast can be seen and a local Gitga'at guide will lead us up river in our quest. Hot springs abound in which to reflect on the experience. Otters, bald eagle, deer and wolf can be observed along the banks of the river with its thousands of spawning salmon.

Day 4

Days 4 & 5 This morning we up anchor and steam over to Princess Royal Island, fourth largest in British Columbia and at the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, an extremely remote area once inhabited by the Tsimshiam tribe. The island has a diverse habitat, ranging from sandy beaches, lowland old-growth rainforest, subalpine parklands, and alpine tundra; all interspersed with fiords, estuaries, and lakes. We steam to some beautiful and remote anchorages and explore the Laredo Inlet, a 60-km long fiord which nearly bisects the island. This long, protected fjord offers spectacular scenery and an estuary at the Bay of Plenty. BC's coastal temperate rainforests are characterized by some of the oldest and largest trees on earth, towering up to 300 feet and more than 1,500 years old. We spend two days exploring here in one of the most remote spots on the entire British Columbia coast. Exploration complete, we set sail north for Hartley Bay for dinner and an overnight anchorage.

Day 5

Days 4 & 5 This morning we up anchor and steam over to Princess Royal Island, fourth largest in British Columbia and at the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, an extremely remote area once inhabited by the Tsimshiam tribe. The island has a diverse habitat, ranging from sandy beaches, lowland old-growth rainforest, subalpine parklands, and alpine tundra; all interspersed with fiords, estuaries, and lakes. We steam to some beautiful and remote anchorages and explore the Laredo Inlet, a 60-km long fiord which nearly bisects the island. This long, protected fjord offers spectacular scenery and an estuary at the Bay of Plenty. BC's coastal temperate rainforests are characterized by some of the oldest and largest trees on earth, towering up to 300 feet and more than 1,500 years old. We spend two days exploring here in one of the most remote spots on the entire British Columbia coast. Exploration complete, we set sail north for Hartley Bay for dinner and an overnight anchorage.

Day 6

From Hartley Bay we head south to Barnard Harbour, a beautiful and protected anchorage which we will use as a base for some expeditions by both boat and on land. On board Pacific Yellowfin we carry sea kayaks and explorer RiBs together with small motortbikes and mountain bikes which we can take ashore to ride the numerous trails though the rainforest. The remote nature of the region give us a rare oportuntiy to enjoy the wonderful ecology of the forests with little or no restrictions. We return to Hartley Bay for our final day on this wilderness trip.

Day 7

Hartley Bay is a remote community of some 3-400 inhabitants of the Gitga'at. With no access except by air or water, there are therefore no roads and only boardwalks between the houses. We are entertained by the locals to a tour of the village and a chance to experience the rich culture of this First Nation tribe. For our final night on Pacific Yellowfin, we are entertained to a local dinner ashore amongst a people who have no casual contact with the outside world enjoying a remote and peaceful existence and a level of self-sufficiency almost unique in the west.

Day 8

After breakfast the local transort in the form of a seaplane arrives to take us back to Bell Bella and the hustle and bustle of Vancouver.

To enquire about this destination or to discuss creating your bespoke dream holiday, please get in touch.

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