Within the 6.4 million hectares of land dedicated as the Great Bear Rainforest, a maze of small waterways winds amongst many small islands. We had the opportunity to explore this area, specifically a place called the Sue Channel Provincial Park. As we set off on Zodiac tours in search of beautiful views and possibly wildlife, boats full of guests were greeted from afar by the spouts of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) as they passed through the channel on their travels. The steep, rocky walls that make up the coastline made the search for animals more difficult, but as the tide dropped, small inlets and meadows presented themselves as the perfect spots to catch a rare glimpse of coastal land mammals and other wildlife. For a very brief moment, several guests caught a glimpse of an American black bear (Ursus americanus) foraging on sedges and berries before it darted back into the tree line. Throughout the morning, the search continued. Guests in Zodiacs were treated to incredible views of the peaceful, protected nature around them. The adventure continued as we transited back to Prince Rupert while we scanned the coastlines and looked for humpback whales. We were even treated to a serendipitous, singular breach from one charismatic whale in the distance. The night ended with one last chance to take advantage of the area’s remote nature. We stargazed from the bow in the pitch black of this undeveloped area.
National Geographic Venture
On this, the final day of our expedition, we awoke to the sound of rain in Lowe Inlet Marine Provincial Park. After several days of attempting to make our way to Lowe, only to get thwarted by whales, killer whales, bears, and other wildlife, we finally arrived today. The rainforest greeted us with the full rain shower service we have come to love and expect, and we greeted the rainforest first thing in the morning with the option to either hike or cruise through this lovely place. Intrepid hikers made their way from the inside of the back bay of Lowe through the home of the Great Bear and into the muskeg typical of this landscape, which used to be covered in glaciers. Those of us who explored by water were treated to a close-up view of Vierney Falls. We also explored the back bay where salmon swam, herons hunted, eagles perched above us, and kingfishers dipped about. Early on, our Zodiacs spotted yet another black bear, who greeted us before wandering back into its forested home. This trip has been so full of bears that we are struggling to keep count. After our cruises, we loaded back onto the vessel and turned due north to our final destination of Prince Rupert, our first stop where we began so many days ago. Our journey here was unexpected in every way. It was so full of life and memories that we will carry with us as long as we tell the story of where, how, and who. Where these animals live, how they need this forest to survive, who the people that live here are, and how they continue to fight for this land after calling it their home for thousands of years.