Wildlife Group Tour

Canada - Great Bear Rainforest Cruise with Sue Flood

Departing 3rd - 12th September 2020

10 days

from £7,495pp
  • Expert tuition from award winning photographer Sue Flood on this exclusive charter with Steppes
  • Explore the Great Bear Rainforest and photograph black bears, spirit bears and grizzlies
  • Sail aboard the Island Roamer along spectacular British Columbia coastline searching for humpbacks
  • Spend two days at a bear viewing platform to photograph bears feeding on the salmon run

This is a unique opportunity to join an exclusive photographic cruise in British Columbia, sailing a section of the Inside Passage, now known as the Great Bear Rainforest.

Some say, that black bears and grizzlies outnumber the people that inhabit this remote piece of British Columbia's coastline. Probably not the case, but bears certainly rule the roost and make for exciting photographic quarry, with the west coast's towering mountains and lush, temperate forests providing a beautiful backdrop. The spirit bear also inhabits this region (a black bear with a recessive gene for snow-white fur). For ultimate bragging rights, a full frame photograph is a must-have. But let's not be bear-centric as the Inside Passage is also renowned for humpback whale sightings, Steller sea-lions, spectacular displays from birds of prey and a fascinating First Nation cultural history. 


Sue Flood led a successful voyage to British Columbia with Steppes Travel in 2015 and 2017 - this is what she has to say about the nature of the voyage she'll be leading with Steppes in 2019:

The coast of British Columbia is spectacularly beautiful and offers some incredible photographic opportunities from humpback whales, bald eagles soaring above the stunning rainforest, grizzlies looking for salmon and magnificent scenery wherever you turn.  Being based on board a yacht will allow us to make the most of the wildlife as we cover many miles of the dramatic coastline. At all times, the wildlife will dictate the agenda of the trip; if we suddenly come across feeding humpback whales, we’ll be having a late lunch!  Early morning light and stunning sunsets can be great times for photography, but a great photo opportunity can occur at any time of day and I’ll be on hand to ensure we make the most of every wildlife encounter. Whether you’ve a simple point and shoot or a more sophisticated SLR you'll pick up tips on how to improve your photography, whatever your level of expertise. I'll be concentrating on composition, framing, use of light, and simply“capturing the moment”. I’ll be giving lectures on photo tips throughout the voyage, but will be available for informal one-to-one advice and feedback throughout so that you come back from this wonderful trip with images that do your memories justice".  


This is a unique opportunity to travel around one of the last remaining protected habitats for bears with a world renowned photographer and expert naturalists. We have deliberately limited the number joining this group to 10 people plus your photographic leader, Sue Flood. The boat has capacity for 14 people but we are keen to give our clients extra space on board. 


No you don’t.  You don’t even have to be a photographer to join. Whether you have a simple point and shoot camera, or a sophisticated SLR, Sue Flood will be on hand to give you tips on how to improve your photography skills.


We have set aside two cabins for single travellers with a supplementary cost, strictly on a first come, first served basis. Once these cabins are sold, single occupancy of a cabin will be at double the cost.


You will be in comfortable hotels when on the mainland, but the Island Roamer yacht will be your home for seven nights while you navigate this truly spectacular coastline. Accommodation is typical for a sailing yacht with cabins arranged to fit the contours of the vessel, with either bunk bed or double bed arrangements. Please note that there are shared facilities onboard and space is limited.


It is important participants are amenable to living in the relatively close quarters of a small sailing boat and healthy and fit enough to enjoy long and relatively active days. You will need to climb in and out of zodiacs, walk along slippery shorelines and over uneven coastal terrain, as well carrying your own camera equipment.  There are also optional activities such as sea kayaking.


You will travel in protected areas most of the time. On still days, the west coast can be like sailing on a flat lake.  There will be times when you will be crossing into open water where greater motion will be experienced.


The Great Bear Rainforest is home to humpback whales, Stellar sea lions, wolves, grizzlies, black bears and the elusive spirit bear. This wildlife resides throughout the coastal islands with only a few species found in localised areas. As with any wildlife viewing, there are no guarantees, however with an experienced naturalist guide on board we won't leave anything to luck.


Yes, September is the peak of the salmon run in this area of the Great Bear Rainforest. The rich salmon spawning streams draw the bears in high numbers to the rivers, which allows for more predictable sightings and thus hopefully, offering fantastic photographic opportunities. 

Departing on:
  • 24th August 2019
  • 1st September 2019
  • 3rd September 2020

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
24th Aug 2019 2nd Sep 2019 £ 6,495 call £ 2,450 Sue Flood Full
1st Sep 2019 10th Sep 2019 £ 6,495 call £ 2,450 Sue Flood Full
3rd Sep 2020 12th Sep 2020 £ 7,495 call £ 2,750 Sue Flood Limited
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • 7 Night / 8 Day voyage on Island Roamer on a full board basis
  • A second day at the bear stands
  • Accommodation in Terrace (bed & breakfast)
  • Accommodation in Vancouver (Room only)
  • All fuels, crew and fees
  • Canadian Taxes
  • Return domestic flights between Vancouver and Terrace
  • Transfers (shared and private)

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • International Flights
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Arrival Transfer - Vancouver
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your city hotel, a journey time of approximately 30 minutes. Please note that this may be a shared transfer with other members of this tour.

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountains of British Columbia, Vancouver is a vibrant cosmopolitan city, bustling throughout the year. Renowned for its scenic beauty and endless outdoor activities, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and about.

Get active and cycle through Stanley Park, explore the North Shore mountain trails, visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge or head out on kayak to explore English Bay.

You will be staying at Loden Hotel, room only

Day 2

Time to Yourself
Vancouver is a city ideally explored on foot. The historic buildings of Gastown combined with the colourful Chinatown district offer a great contrast highlighting the diversity of Vancouver. Head down to Granville Market any day of the week and try some local produce. There are many art galleries and museums in the downtown area of the city that are worth a visit. The University of BC can be reached by car or bus and is home to an impressive collection of First Nations Art in the museum of Anthropology.

Airport Transfer
Late morning transfer to the South Terminal of Vancouver airport for your connecting flight to Terrace. This is a shared group transfer.

Fly Vancouver to Terrace

Terrace Airport Transfer
Upon arrival to Terrace there will be a shuttle transfer from the airport to your local hotel, a journey time of approximately 20 minutes.

Terrace is a city located on the banks of the Skeena River in British Columbia. The Kitselas people, a tribe of the Tsimshian Nation, have inhabited this area for thousands of years.

The area offers a wide range of outdoor pursuits from back country skiing to wildlife viewing and sport fishing. The city's rich cultural heritage lends itself to a variety of galleries, historical sites, festivals and First Nation culture.

Sue Flood Welcome
This afternoon Sue will take the opportunity to give a welcome briefing and presentation. This is a chance to go through the itinerary ahead and to answer any questions you may have about camera equipment.

You will be staying at Yellow Cedar Lodge, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Shuttle Transfer

You will be collected at 9.00 am by Kalum Kabs for a shuttle transfer from Terrace to the MK Bay Marina in Kitimat. This is a journey time of approximately fifty minutes.

Terrace - Great Bear Rainforest, Embarkation
This morning, transfer to the dock and board the Island Roamer that will be your home for the next seven nights. You will be met by the crew, given a welcome briefing, safety orientation and assigned your cabin. After this, set sail into the Great Bear Rainforest.

This wildlife photography voyage explores the islands on the northwest and central coast of British Columbia. These islands make up part of the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the largest intact temperate rainforests in the world. Conservationists have been actively working to protect this area that remains the largest untouched coastal rainforest on the Pacific Coast.

This area is renowned for its pristine scenery whilst being home to thousand-year-old cedar trees and towering Sitka spruce. This ancient ecosystem is home to grizzly bears, wolves, humpback whales, and the elusive, all white Kermode bear, also known as the "spirit bear".

You will be staying at Island Roamer, full board

Day 5

Whales and Spirit Bears
Explore Douglas Channel keeping an eye out for humpback whales. Time will be taken to observe them when the opportunity arises. Often it is possible to see their behaviours such as breaching and cooperative feeding also known as 'bubble net feeding'. It may be possible to encounter a pod of orca in this region too.

Princess Royal Island, Spirit Bear Conservancy
A highlight of this voyage will be the time spent on the shores of Princess Royal Island - the best-known area for seeing the rare Spirit or Kermode bear. There will be two days dedicated to viewing this very rare species in the privileged presence of a native Tsimshian guides that have lived in this area for thousands of years.

The Kermode bear is only found here in the Great Bear Rainforest and is in fact a black bear with a recessive gene which gives it its snow-white fur. Only ten percent of the black bears in the area are white, so perseverance and a lot of luck will be required for that prize photo.

There are bear-viewing stands in this First Nations territory that are strategically positioned to offer the best opportunity to view the bears. These stands are spacious to allow for seating and photographic equipment. There will be two different locales. One raised, the other at the water's edge. The raised stands do not take away from the magnificent photographic opportunities. However, please note that tides do affect access to the viewing sites.

You will be staying at Island Roamer, full board

Day 6

Exploring Princess Royal Island, Spirit Bear Conservancy

You will be staying at Island Roamer, full board

Day 7

Exploring Princess Royal Island, Spirit Bear Conservancy

You will be staying at Island Roamer, full board

Day 8

Coastal Fjords and Grizzlies
Over these days, the Island Roamer will travel deep into the coastal mountains to explore the Fiordland Conservancy Area, an area protected within the Kitasoo/ Xai'xais First Nation territory. Beneath towering granite cliffs towering at over 1,000 metres and waterfalls plunging into the sea, this magnificent scenery is some of the finest of this glacial carved coastline.

Time will be spent searching the remote estuaries with the expectation of seeing grizzly bears feeding on spawning salmon. The combination of lush habitat combined with the salmon-rich streams make this prime grizzly habitat. Black bears are also prolific in these ancient forests and keep watch for wolves. Known to be shy animals, it is common to only see tracks or remains of their kill that can be seen by walking the shorelines.

Take this chance to explore these quiet waters by kayak to take in this impressive scenery. Day break is a great time to keep watch for wildlife.

At Milbanke Sound keep watch for sea otters. It is possible to seem them wrapped up in the kelp beds to anchor themselves against the currents. Full of character, they charm their observers by spending much of their time floating on their backs, looking after young or cracking open shells.

You will be staying at Island Roamer, full board

Day 9

Exploring the Coastal Fjords and Fjordland Conservancy

You will be staying at Island Roamer, full board

Day 10

The voyage ends in Bella Bella arriving at the Municipal Dock around midday. This is an isolated village on the central coast, home to the Heiltsuk First Nations people.

Disembark and transfer to the airport by the shuttle service in time for the Pacific Coastal flight to Vancouver.

You will be transferred to the airport to connect with your flight to Vancouver.

Fly Bella Bella to Vancouver


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Island Roamer

Island Roamer

Island Roamer comprises of eight double or twin upper/lower bunk cabins (two of which are in the bow usually reserved for crew members)....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Canada

Paul Bird, Travel Expert

Read More

Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Expert

Sue Flood

Sue Flood
Your guide on the trip is Sue Flood, a photographer, author, wildlife filmmaker and conservationist. Sue was an Associate Producer on the award winning BBC series 'The Blue Planet', and also more recently worked on Planet Earth. Both The Blue Planet and Planet Earth featured several animal behaviours which were filmed for the first time, and Sue obtained unique images for the series. Her photographic highlights include diving with humpback whales in the South Pacific, face-to-face encounters with leopard seals in the Antarctic, filming polar bears in the Arctic, and photographing the wildlife of Zambia. But above all, Sue is great fun to be with - while your photographic prowess will improve under her tuition, you are also guaranteed a fun and rewarding time in her company.

Other tours by this lecturer:

Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 10

Tour Expert:

Sue Flood

Departure Date (S):

  • 24th August 2019 - Guaranteed to run
  • 1st September 2019 - Guaranteed to run
  • 3rd September 2020

Holiday Ideas in Canada

You are unique, so we believe your holiday should be too.

We listen to what you want and create a personalised itinerary tailored around you.

Your holiday. Your experience. Your way.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Call our Travel Experts on +01285 880 980
Start Your Journey


  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to the best private guides


  • We negotiate the best rates with hotels and expert guides
  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates


  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

Fully Protected

  • Your monies are financially protected
  • 24/7 Emergency UK contact whilst abroad

Featured in the Press

Financial Times
The Telegraph
Sunday Times logo

Our Partners

African Parks
Galapagos Conservation Trsut
Restless Development
Save The Rhino
Tusk Trust
World Land Trsut
Gorilla Doctors

© Steppes Travel, 51 Castle St, Cirencester, GL7 1QD, United Kingdom