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Vancouver Island: Whale Watching and Wilderness Resorts
A trip to British Columbia can include the sophisticated urban attractions of cosmopolitan Vancouver, the gardens and pubs of Victoria and also the untouched wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, a land of pristine rainforests. On the itinerary that Katie Cadar has created, however, if you choose to head into the wilderness, you won’t have to forego any luxuries. After an afternoon of whale-watching, you can sit down to a gourmet meal. An adventure lead by First Nations guides, can be followed by a spa treatment incorporating local ingredients.
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    Photo By Destination BC/Graeme Owsianski
    Day 1
    Vancouver Island
    After landing at Vancouver Airport, you’ll transfer to a helicopter for the 45-minute flight to Sonora Resort located in the Discovery Islands, to the east of Vancouver Island. There are no roads to this remote luxury resort—guests can only arrive by air or sea. While you may be far from civilization, the suites, located in 12 lodges, have luxury amenities, with all meals and drinks included. Note that Sonora Resort is only one of many luxury options on or near Vancouver Island. As with all AFAR Journeys, Katie can customize your trip depending on your interests and budget, and recommend the perfect option for you choosing from options like the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, the April Point Resort, and other fishing and wilderness lodges.
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    Day 2
    A Wilderness Safari
    Vancouver Island is one of the world’s most environmentally rich regions, from the abundant marine life to birds flying overhead. You’ll head out today in a Zodiac boat on a wilderness safari, with opportunities to spot seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales—grey, humpback, and orcas. Soaring above, you’ll see eagles circling in search of fish. Finally, depending on the season, you may also see some of the island’s bears. In the spring and early summer, they roam in search of berries and wander along the water’s edge, overturning rocks and hunting for fish. Later in the summer and in the early autumn, they roam the island in search of small shoots.
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    Photo By Destination BC/Sean Scott
    Day 3
    Gone Fishing
    Just as the bears appreciate Vancouver Island’s salmon, so do human visitors. Even if you aren’t experienced at the sport, on a fishing expedition with Sonora, their guides will teach you the basics of casting a line and you’ll soon be reeling in pink and coho salmon and cutthroat and rainbow trout. The guides know all the best spots on the Phillips River and along the coast. Tours often include, weather permitting, a beach barbeque lunch. You will return to the lodge in time for a treatment at Island Currents Spa.
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    Photo By Destination BC/Graeme Owsianski
    Day 4
    Telegraph Cove
    On your fourth day you’ll head to the town of Telegraph Cove, long the home of a cannery, but today best known as the gateway to the natural wonders around the northern end of Vancouver Island. You’ll meet up with Stubbs Island Tours for a day exploring the Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago. In the summer this is one of the world’s most important breeding grounds for orcas, with more than a hundred typically in the area, while fin and humpback whales are also common here. You’ll spend the night at Telegraph Cove Resort, where none of the rooms have internet or televisions. Given the stunning beauty of the setting, you won’t miss them.
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    Photo By Destination BC/Sean Scott
    Day 5
    First Nations Tour
    On your final full day, you’ll have an introduction to the cultural riches of the region with Sea Wolf Adventures. Their full-day First Nations Cultural Tour begins with an orientation at the U’mista Cultural Centre, where you’ll see some of the artifacts created by Kwakwaka’wakw people. You’ll also learn about the iconography of totem poles—and visit the largest totem pole in the world—and enjoy a lunch of sockeye salmon. In the ceremonial big house, you’ll learn about traditional dances and see several performed. Depending on your interests, other tours can be arranged, from grizzly-bear viewing to ones that focus on other aspects of the Kwakwaka’wakw culture.
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    Photo By Destination BC/Sean Scott
    Day 6
    Breakfast and return home
    After breakfast, you will continue to Port Hardy to board a flight back to Vancouver and continue your journey home, unless, that is, you have decided to make your home among the bears of Vancouver Island.