Bear viewing options

Aug 13th, 2004, 01:22 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 237
Bear viewing options

Have been considering an outing w/Tide Rip Tours out of Telegraph Cove to Knight Inlet.
These are day trips w/about 2 hours observing bears. (can't do the Knight Inlet Lodge due to not being able to fly on unpressurized planes) And, I'm sure the prices would have been too exorbinant, anyway!

Recently, saw a reference for a company out of Port Hardy called Great Bear Nature Tours. They seem to allow more time trying to observe grizzlies. Say they go to the "great bear rainforest" area.
You can stay any # of nights & it looks like there might be a boat access option, as well as a floatplane one (which we have to pass up).

Prices weren't posted, so I'll be calling tomorrow for more info. Was wondering if *anybody* here has heard anything about these bear watching operators? (Want to make sure they are responsible in their viewing.)
We thought Tide Rip was what we'd probably go with...but just in case we have children w/in a few years...I sometimes think we should "go for the gusto" now & do activities which might become completely impossible after that! I'd say multiple day grizzly viewing would qualify for this 'category', wouldn't you? ;-)
R is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 10:20 AM
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The so called 'Great Bear Rainforest' doesn't exist except in the fevered imaginations of a few dozen eco zealots and tourism operators.
While checking out that site I found it interesting that they make no mention of their exact location-quite odd.
In any case all the Inlets hold wildlife of all kinds and with record returns of Salmon to many rivers this should be a banner year for Bear watching.
I note however that transfer to the Lodge is sometimes by float plane so check carefully.
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 04:06 PM
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yes, I noticed that too. (both the lack of exact location & also the
floatplane thing)
And, they had an error w/regard to just where the McNeill River is,
in Alaska. :-{

Saw a decent review of them once, however, on the Lonely Planet website. Can't find it just now, however.
(too much to wade through)
Anyway, thanks for your insight & the update on the salmon this year!
R is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 06:48 PM
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R, if you have not reserved with Tide Rip for this year you are likely out of luck-but you might get lucky. Make sure you get a tour that goes to the viewing stands and not just an estuary tour.

You noted that Tide Rip spends only 2 hours watching the bears from the viewing stands and that is true. You really are in 'grizzly country' for 3 hours or more though. After landing at the mouth of Glendale Creek you walk a few minutes to an old small school bus, then drive about 15 minutes up river. We went three times last year [I was leading a group....] and each time saw several grizzlies on the way up to the stands. Of course the process is repeated on the way back down. Then they generally have lunch on the boat amid the wonderful mountain scenery.
In addition to grizzlies Glendale Creek and the whole area has lots of bald eagles.
The trip from Telegraph Cove to Knight Inlet is very scenic and Tide Rip's guides very informative. There is a good chance to see marine mammals en route as well as plenty of seabirds.

I highly recommend this trip. It was a highlight for all of our group and certainly for me as well.

was_gannetmusic is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 12:44 AM
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Thank you, Jerry, for this info! Very helpful to us.
Do you think if we'd do this kind of a trip to Knight Inlet, that an outing on the Lady Rose freighter from Port Alberni w/an overnight or 2 in Bamfield would be a letdown?

I've read the boat trip is fun down this inlet,but perhaps it would be too much of the same, if we also do Knight Inlet. I only ask, as we're getting quite 'tight' on our days...and I need to cut out something somewhere.

R is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 02:43 AM
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Can I also ask...
since someone here might know about these companies...
I *just* discovered yet one more option for us.

It's a company called Discovery Charters & Tours...and it operates off of Quadra Island.
Goes to an inlet south of Knight Inlet called Bute Inlet.
Sounds like a day trip thing like Tide Rip.

Would LOVE any feedback if you've got info on this company.
and one more out of Campbell River...perhaps the same one, but w/a different name,
so you don't have to stay at their lodge on Quadra...? Not sure! :-

Could really use more info, if anyone here has experience w/these companies. Thanks!
(It would save us a LOT of time, if these tours out of Campbell River are as good as the ones out of Port Hardy/Telegraph Cove.)
R is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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Just wanted to share in case anyone is still reading this thread... ;-)
that I found out that Great Bear Nature Tours now goes to Smith Inlet...
not Seymour, like they used to.

If anyone knows how to compare Smith to Knight to Bute Inlets...I'd be so appreciative!

Also, I've gathered that the crossing to Smith Inlet from Port Hardy is like open ocean...with swells. (even in good weather) You go on a water taxi that holds 12. (aka VERY limited 'facilities') If getting seasick...guess there's no time for facilities anyway. :-{

Was wondering if anyone could say whether the crossing would be more mellow to Knight Inlet or Bute vs. one further north to Smith??
I'm not sure I've got great 'sea legs'. Do fine on Puget Sound & the likes, but...that's as smooth as glass. Please help...
R is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 05:01 PM
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The trip across to Knight Inlet does traverse a bit of open water. If the wind and currents are kicking up it can toss the boat around a bit. The trip to Knight Inlet is in a water taxi.
Should there be a strong easterly or westerly wind a good swell can build in Knight Inlet which is a long deep fjord but generally seas there are not too bad.

The Port Hardy route could quite possibly cross a larger area of open water. Depending on the location of the mainland area they are visiting they might get up north of the lee of Vancouver Island which would expose them to the long Pacific swells.

If you are planning on going this season I suggest you book with somebody soon!

was_gannetmusic is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 06:28 PM
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Thanks, Jerry!
Yes, I know...
that's why we're trying to decide, asap & lay out all our days there on Vancouver Island.

Since the bears are such a splurge for us...we just want to make the best decision possible. (both economics-wise & go w/a company that's responsible, etc.)
Appreciate your prompt help!!
Thank you.
R is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 07:23 PM
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R - I do highly recommend Tide Rip for both ethics and the quality of the experience.

was_gannetmusic is offline  
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