Great Bear Rainforest
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Fjords, bears, whales, rainforest and surprises
The Great Bear Rainforest is an expanse of mountains, fjords, islands and river estuaries on the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. Robert Kennedy, Jr., has called it the "last stand of the great North American rainforest". I have lived in southern BC most of my life, and the first time I cruised here, in 2003, I was astonished. Granite mountains plunge into the sea and you sail through the fjords. Waterfalls stream down the cliffs. At their feet, meadows grow, and on those meadows, dozens of grizzly bears and spirit bears walk, eat sedges and catch spawning salmon. In the ocean, humpback whales, dolphins, killer whales and sea lions all fish, too. The rainforest itself is beautiful - green and layered, with cedar, spruce and hemlock trees that grow hundreds of feet tall. Ferns, dwarf dogwood, salmonberries and so much moss flounces on the forest floor. Wildlife trails, made by bears, wolves and deer mainly, lace along the river banks and through the meadows. In this place, you truly feel alive and as an explorer. I feel like a visitor to the animals' world. When they regard us and then accept us it is a humbling, exciting experience. I travel on the 92-foot schooner Maple Leaf. I used to travel as a guest but I loved it so much I now work with the Maple Leaf myself. I've travelled in many amazing places in the world, and I have never been anywhere that has impacted me as much as this wild and beautiful place.
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