Whales, Totems & Grizzlies

Whales, Totems & Grizzlies

Black Bear with Salmon

From CA$3,850pp
Based on Double Occupancy
Taxes and booking fees excluded

Or call one of our agents on +1(604)689-8128


This natural history voyage explores the protected waters of Northern Vancouver Island. Whale researchers consider this area the best place in the world to observe orcas or killer whales. In addition, we expect to see humpback whales, black bears, bald eagles and sea otters. The Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations people have lived here for thousands of years and we will explore their culture and art. Combine these incredible wildlife and cultural experiences into one week... and you have an amazing trip! Photo Credit: Eagle Wing Tours/Valerie Shore, Destination BC/Yuri Choufour

Tour Highlights
  • Orcas in Johnstone Strait
  • Knight Inlet Bear Viewing
  • U’Mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay
  • Totems at Village Island
Price Includes
  • All meals from lunch on the first day to breakfast on the last day
  • 4 or 6 nights accommodation onboard the ship
  • Skipper
  • Cook
  • Naturalist
  • Full use of all onboard facilities, including kayaks
Getting to and from Port McNeill from Vancouver

Discover Canada Tours has the ability to book your flights and accommodation in Port McNeill. Please let us know if you would like us to plan this part of your trip as well.

2020 Tour Pricing

All prices are based on double occupancy. Other rooming options are available. Please talk to one of our agents if you would like to enquire about the options available.

7 Days | 6 Nights
Based on Double Occupancy
  • Departure dates: July 27, Aug 3 / 10 / 17
  • Taxes and booking fees excluded
5 Days | 4 Nights
Based on Double Occupancy
  • Departure dates: July 16 / 21, Oct 15 / 20
  • Taxes and booking fees excluded
Do you want to experience a once in a lifetime adventure?
Whale Watching
The waters of Johnstone Strait are considered the best place in the world to observe orcinus orca (killer whales). For a few months of the year these beautiful marine mammals are present on a daily basis. We should have excellent opportunities for observation and photography of whales.
Natural History

People with a keen interest in natural history will thoroughly enjoy this trip. Each voyage is accompanied by a highly experienced naturalist who will give talks, slide shows, and lead shore excursions.


Black bears are frequently spotted among the islands on these trips. They like to roam the shore, feeding on crabs and other intertidal organisms. However, it is the opportunity to see grizzly bears feeding on spawning salmon that makes this trip unique! It is a classic wildlife experience.


This area has a very rich and varied bird population. Many people will be amazed at the number of bald eagles we see on the trip. Colorful seabirds such as oystercatchers, pigeon guillemots and rhinoceros auklets are common and we see large numbers of smaller water birds, such as phalaropes.

Sample Trip Itinerary

Note: The daily plans are flexible to accommodate the surprises that you encounter each trip, the requirements of tide & weather, and the interests of the group. With so many opportunities for spectacular scenery and wildlife, it’s hard to predict what unique moment will be your favourite memory.

Arrival Day
It is recommend arriving in Port McNeill the day prior to the trip start (July 31) and staying overnight. This is to ensure the group can set sail on time. When travelling in coastal regions unforeseen weather delays are common, most commonly fog.
Day One - Trip Start
This trip starts and finishes in Port McNeill, BC. Guests will meet at 10:30 am at the Cab’s Fuel Dock on the Port McNeill waterfront. Upon boarding “Island Odyssey”, cabins will be assigned and an introductory safety briefing will be completed. Port McNeill has been chosen as the starting point for this voyage because it is the closest port to the core killer whale area. You can expect to discover our first pod or group of whales the first afternoon. Orcas are one of the most exciting marine mammals to watch as you see them foraging for salmon, spyhopping, and breaching (leaping clear of the water). Guests will learn about the behaviour of these fascinating creatures, listen to them calling on the ship’s underwater microphone, and learn how to identify individual animals. Each night you will anchor in a secluded anchorage.
Days Two and Three
Your focus these days will be on the waters of Johnstone Strait or nearby Queen Charlotte Strait. Part of each day, will be exploring for various species of marine mammals. Not only is the area famous for orcas, but humpback and minke whales are common, and Dall’s porpoise often play in the boats bow wave. After a few hours floating with whales, you will visit the modern Kwakwaka’wakw community of Alert Bay to visit the U’Mista Cultural Centre to see the fascinating collection of potlatch masks on display. If there is good wind, you can expect to raise the sails and enjoy the silence and beauty of sailing. There will be time to explore the protected waters using the stable sea kayaks that are carried onboard.
Days Four and Five
The trip now shifts as you travel deep into the Coast Mountains up a beautiful fiord called Knight Inlet. Extending nearly 60 miles, Knight Inlet is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and some of the most remote wilderness on the coast. Grizzly bears require vast areas of wilderness to survive. Starting in August, salmon return to spawn up the rivers and creeks and this essential source of food concentrates the bears along the river in the best places to fish. There is hope to see bears at the mouth of the river, and often see bears walking the shore. There should be some spectacular photo opportunities so have your cameras ready.
Day Six
At the entrance to Knight Inlet is the abandoned Kwakwaka’wakw village of Mimquimlees. With permission from the local Native Band, you will explore the old village to discover fallen totem poles and a rich heritage. Returning to Johnstone Strait, you will have further encounters with the whales so all “spotters” spotters are required on deck! With a good low tide, you may explore the shore for different species of colourful sea stars, anemone, and algae. There may be an opportunity to hike into the coastal forest to see big trees and learn about the forest plants.
Day Seven - Trip Finish
You will return to Port McNeill late morning to complete our voyage. Guests can plan to catch afternoon flights departing from Port Hardy back to Vancouver.
Do you want to experience a once in a lifetime adventure?

Connect with one of our agents today about this tour and we will get back to you within 24-48 hours.

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