Doug’s dream trip to Great Bear Lodge
In May 2015 our Worldwide Travel Specialist Doug travelled to Canada to fulfil a lifelong dream: to see bears in the wild. There’s not many places better for this than the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.
Doug spent 2 nights of his trip at the fantastic Great Bear Lodge, an intimate place to stay with just 8 rooms, accessed only by floatplane and where seeing grizzlies is the order of the day with expert guides on hand. Doug recounts his memories of the moment he saw the bears, and plenty of other wildlife, whilst enjoying the friendly atmosphere of the lodge.
From the moment I arrived in Port Hardy I was hooked by the sheer excitement of what was ahead of me. I had heard another guest had seen a black bear less than 50 yards from the floatplane terminal. Almost instantly, I saw a bald eagle circling round in the distance and an otter by the docks. I hadn’t even ventured into the wilderness yet, but I was seeing wildlife at every turn.
The floatplane journey to the Great Bear Lodge took approximately 30 minutes from Port Hardy. It was quite cloudy on the way over, but clear enough to see we were descending into a remote area of the Great Bear Rainforest. The ground just looked like a blanket of green: full of life and when we finally arrived, the greeting at the Great Bear Lodge was unique due to the warm and friendly welcome by the lodge staff. I watched as people leaving were hugging everyone and shaking hands, and I found it hard to comprehend how these relationships had been built up so quickly. Soon enough, it was clear that they had established it through the love of two things: wildlife and the golden boys of this area – grizzly bears.
Arriving at 4pm, we were quickly shown our rooms, before a tour of the equipment room and a safety demonstration. The guides were so welcoming and you’re made to feel at home instantly – the fresh batch of cookies made daily for you certainly eased the process! After dinner we went out for our first boat trip around Jap Island and down through the slews. Everyone was deadly silent and all eyes were looking out for any sign of life. Before we knew it, Kingfishers, hummingbirds, seals and otters could all be spotted within 20 minutes of setting out – we were over the moon!
Having been out on the boat for about an hour, we heard rustling in the trees and the cracking of branches. All of a sudden, an adrenaline rush was felt amongst the anticipation for what we thought was about to happen and for the next few minutes, all we could hear were these noises from the forest. We couldn’t see anything as the forest was so dense, but the sounds were not far away…something was close by and I couldn’t wait to find out what it was.
Finally the moment arrived that we had waited for what seemed a lifetime for but it was in fact only minutes, and out of the woods, a female grizzly bear appeared. We were told her name is Roxanne and I was in awe straight away. It was so fascinating to see how she was so comfortable sitting still for the cameras whilst eating the fresh spring sedge. I also noticed that the rustling sounds in the forest didn’t stop and a few moments later we were almost face-to-face with Roxanne’s year-old cub. I was hopeful of seeing at least one bear whilst I was here, and I knew it was the right season to be seeing mums and their cubs but I didn’t think I would be this close and that they would put on quite a show!
This encounter was the start of two absolutely incredible nights and I can’t see how I’ll ever beat this wildlife experience or even come close! Anyone who dreams of seeing these great bears in their natural environment – this is definitely the perfect choice.
You can book to stay at Great Bear Lodge on any tailor made Canada itinerary, please send us an enquiry or speak to Doug direct.
There are three other similar lodges available in the Great Bear Rainforest including Knight Inlet Lodge, a floating property surrounded by a spectacular fjord; Spirit Bear Lodge, set in the coastal village of Klemtu and owned by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nations communities; and Farewell Harbour Lodge – the perfect choice for a combination of bear-watching and whale watching, with frequent sightings of orcas, humpback whales and other marine life.