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Spirit Bear & Great Bear Rainforest Tour

The Great Bear Rainforest is true wilderness and sees very few human visitors, making it an exciting adventure destination for photographers. Ocean Light Adventures will host your Spirit Bear & Great Bear Rainforest Tour aboard the Ocean Light II from which we will explore the inlets, bays and old-growth forest of the spectacular Great Bear Rainforest along the mid-coast of British Columbia.

This is the ancestral home of the rare white Spirit Bear. The surrounding mountains and rainforest offer spectacular scenery and diverse and abundant wildlife. As we cruise the inlets, walk the trails, and explore the creeks you’ll have the opportunity to hopefully photograph – Spirit Bears, black bears, grizzly bears, American martens, river otters, eagles, coastal wolves, humpback whales, harbor seals and more!

Photography Guide: Michelle Valberg

Nikon ambassador Canada


What to Bring

Clothing & Equipment List

The following is a list of the clothing and equipment you will need on your Spirit Bear & Great Bear Rainforest Tour. It is of utmost importance that you follow this list accurately for your own comfort and well-being. The proper preparation is a vital factor in an expedition’s success. When selecting your clothing, keep in mind the following principles about staying warm and dry.

Layering. It is very effective to wear layers of clothing to stay warm, as the air trapped between the layers acts as an insulator. Layering also allows you to regulate your body heat by adjusting the number of layers, depending on the temperature and your activity level.  There are 3 main layers: Transfer which is the layer next to your skin; Insulating which is the main warmth layer(s); and, Protective which is the outer layer to protect you from wind, rain, and other elements.

Keeping Dry. Wetness increases the loss of body heat and is uncomfortable, so it’s important to stay as dry as possible. Some clothing is hydrophobic, and therefore, stays dry (i.e., synthetics such as polypropylene, polyester, capilene, and natural fibres such as wool and silk).Clothes made of these materials make great expedition clothing. Be careful of other materials (e.g., cotton and down), because they are absorbent and stay wet. Also, avoid overdressing as it can cause excess perspiration and therefore wetness.

Your Camera Gear: If you wish to discuss specifics regarding which camera bodies and lenses you own and which ones are best suited to the trip, Michelle will be happy to discuss that with you.

On the Spirit Bear & Great Bear Rainforest Tour, your camera gear is best kept in a waterproof case or pack. It is crucial to keep gear dry while sitting in the rain. We strongly encourage you invest in a rainproof cover for your camera – both AquaTech and Think Tank Photo make excellent models that fit most cameras.

We encourage you to bring plenty of memory cards and/or ample hard-drive space or storage devices – the area is exceptionally photogenic and you may easily experience once-in-a-lifetime scenes. No drones allowed! Polarizing filters are often used to reduce glare when shooting scenes that include water or wet subjects.

Feel free to bring a tripod or monopod – they can be useful when using long telephoto lenses from the deck of the Ocean Light II or when we go ashore.. The boat has regular household outlets (120V) for charging batteries and laptop computers.


What’s Included

What’s Included?

  • The services of a fully qualified skipper/bear guide and crew/cook
  • Use of all gear available on board
  • All meals from Lunch Day 1 to Breakfast Day 8

(B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)

  • Van transport from Terrace Hotel to Kitimat dock on Day 1 of the trip.


What’s Not?

  • Gratuities for crew (optional and/or discretionary, but always appreciated!)
  • Transportation between your home and trip start and end point (Terrace, BC and Bella Bella, BC)
  • Taxi fare from Bella Bella dock to airport
  • Personal belongings and equipment as per “Clothing & Equipment List”
  • Accommodation in Terrace on night prior to trip
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Any extra personal expenses incurred because of weather, logistical delays, or delayed departures or missed flights of scheduled aircraft.


Travel Details


You must arrive in Terrace prior to Day 1 to prepare for an early morning departure. This itinerary is a sample only – the exact itinerary of your trip will be dictated by factors such as weather, tides, and group interest, with the crew working within the parameters of safety, time, and the highlights of the area.

Day 1 – L/D

Early morning you will be picked up at the Best Western Hotel in Terrace by van and driven to the marina in Kitimat (approximately 45 minutes). We will head out right away to start exploring some of the best wildlife viewing areas.

Days 2 to 7 – B/L/D

These days are spent exploring the Great Bear Rainforest and enjoying the splendor of the surrounding area. Opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography will occur on each day; however, please be aware that the weather conditions and the location of wildlife will dictate the frequency of such activities. We will dedicate at least 2 full days in our search for the Spirit Bears utilizing viewing platforms as well as explore salmon creeks and rivers to try and see Coastal Grizzly bears.

The fall is a time of plenty and marine mammals such as the humpback whale, are a common sight. The Ocean Light II will be utilized as a base for sleeping and eating.

Day 8 – B

After breakfast you will be dropped off at the Bella Bella dock to catch your shuttle to the airport.

Please be advised that the earliest flight from Bella Bella that should be booked is 11am.

Our home while on this adventure will be the The Ocean Light II, an Ocean 71’ ketch and is thought by many to be the perfect B.C. Coast charter yacht. With thirteen Atlantic crossings, the Ocean Light II has the pedigree and comfort to make any sailing experience with her one to remember. The layout offers 5 separate guest cabins that are closed off from the rest of the yacht. A berth will be assigned to each person upon arrival. There are two heads, a shower and the interior is all newly remodeled. The main salon located below deck is a spacious 14’ x 17’, which seats twelve comfortably while still leaving space to move about freely. There is ample deck space and she is very comfortable under sail. Ocean Light II features all of the extras expected: 19’ hard bottom inflatable, three kayaks as well as an extensive library for your enjoyment.

The Crew: Chris Tulloch or Tom McPherson will be your skipper/guide. Chris has been running wilderness tours since 1992 and his keen eye for wildlife ensures an exceptional experience. Tom grew up with boats and has been guiding since 2005. Both have Full Guide CBVA certification.

Meals: We take special care in preparing nutritious and delicious meals. All meals will be prepared aboard the sailboat and will include fresh seafood, homemade soups, breads and salads. Wine is served with dinner, and you may bring your own drinks to be consumed in moderation and only when the anchor is down for the night. If you have particular dietary restrictions, please let us know well in advance.


Dates and Cost

Spirit Bear & Great Bear Rainforest Tour

October 5th – October 12th, 2024

(Starting in Terrace/Kitimat – Ending in Bella Bella)

Price: $8495 CAD per person plus 5% GST.

No single supplement for single travelers. Note: singles may have to share a cabin with another traveler of same sex.

Price includes $25 Bear Sustainability fee for research and conservation, $25 BC Bear Viewing License fee, 2 full days at First Nations viewing areas for spirit bears, all First Nation protocol fees, transport between Terrace and Kitimat, BC.

Payment options:

  1. By cheque. Please make payable to Ocean Light II

Adventures and mail to:

#363 – 1917 West 4th Ave

Vancouver, BC V6J 1M7

  1. By Email (Interac e-Transfer) – For Canadians only.

Send to

  1. By International Wire Transfer. A $17 transfer fee per transaction will be added to total cost.

Cancellation Policy

More than 365 days prior to tour. Full refund on deposit.

365 days to 120 days prior to tour. Refund of 50% of trip deposit.

119 days to 90 days prior to tour. 50% of trip cost.

89 days or less prior to tour. No refund.



``We have travelled with Michelle Valberg on 3 different expeditions now. They have ALL been trips of a lifetime. The ability to see wildlife in their natural habitat, up-close-and-personal, gifted us with wildlife encounters we could never have imagined. Michelle works with the most skilled guides and outfitters ensuring the safety and security of both the travellers AND wildlife. A respectful, ethical and awe-inspiring journey awaits you. Just ask Michelle about the next adventure. You won't be disappointed!!``

Kym and Karen, 2019

Get In Touch

Interested in this trip, giving us feedback or perhaps putting together a private, custom adventure?

Whatever the case, please use the short form below to get the conversation started.

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