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
This is Erin and Alison (Grosvenor Teacher Fellows) taking over the daily expedition report one last time before we head home. Today on National Geographic Venture , we cruised an inlet along the coastal shores of British Columbia. The morning was spent on Zodiacs. We explored the islands and took a nice, casual walk along the coastal beach. With informative talks by our naturalist throughout our journey, we were excited to implement our new learning in this ecosystem. On Zodiacs, we stopped by one coast and spotted a nurse tree with a Sitka spruce growing from it. A kingfisher perched on top of the spruce and then flew past us with its unique musical call. A harbor seal popped over to say hi as well. As we hiked the shoreline, we found ourselves stepping over fallen driftwood. Taking a closer look, we discovered turkey tail fungus and slime mold growing on the fallen trees. Barnacles and remnants of bull kelp were scattered along the shore. Continuing to walk along the beach, we observed interesting rock formations. We are enthusiastic about science and nature. During our time aboard National Geographic Venture , we found ourselves more informed, more engaged, and more passionate about this beautiful ecosystem. We loved the discoveries we made while immersed in this space, and we incorporated the information provided by naturalists who shared their passion and work with us. We know that visiting this land is a special gift, and we look forward to sharing our newfound knowledge, experience, and connections with our school communities. Text and photographs by Grosvenor Teacher Fellows, Alison Katzko and Erin Schmidt