Island Odyssey, Whales Totems & Grizzlys ex Port McNeill Return

6 Night Cruise sailing from Port McNeill roundtrip aboard Island Odyssey.

Departure date: 10 August 2020
Embark port: Port McNeill, Canada
Cruise line: Blue Water Adventures
Ship: Island Odyssey

Cruise Itinerary
Date Activity Arrive Depart
10/08/20 Port McNeill, Canada
11/08/20 At sea - -
12/08/20 At sea - -
13/08/20 At sea - -
14/08/20 At sea - -
15/08/20 At sea - -
16/08/20 Port McNeill, Canada
Itinerary may vary by sailing date and itineraries may be changed at the cruise lines discretion. Please check itinerary details at time of booking and before booking other travel services such as airline tickets.
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Cruise Description

6 Night Cruise sailing from Port McNeill roundtrip aboard Island Odyssey.

At the northern end of Vancouver Island lies a maze of islands and waterways, full of wildlife, beautiful scenery, and the history and traditions of the Kwakwaka’wakw people (Kwakiutl). The Pacific Ocean funnels into the protected waters of Johnstone Strait creating strong tidal currents, and incredibly nutrient-rich waters. Millions of salmon, returning to spawn in the mainland rivers, must converge to pass through the Strait. Groups of Northern Resident Killer Whales hunt the salmon in the passages and Humpback whales are often seen feeding in the nutrient-rich waters.

Whale Watching
The waters of Johnstone Strait are considered the best place in the world to observe mostly, the Northern Resident Killer Whales - but sometimes encounter Transients (Bigg's) which are marine mammal- eating killer whales. We expect to witness the unique feeding behaviours of humpback whales like lunge-feeding and trap-feeding . Here are a few of the other interesting whale behaviours we have seen from our vessel:

Breaching is when a whale leaps clear of the water and falls back with a huge splash.
Whales often spyhop, raising their upper bodies clear of the water to look at the above-water environment
The ship’s hydrophone (underwater microphone) enables us to hear whale vocalizations
Their method of communicating under the water. We will learn to distinguish the difference between species.
Large numbers of orcas congregate in Johnstone Strait a few times each summer. These ‘superpod’ groups are extremely exciting and we can only hope to be there - and have lots of film on hand.
Sometimes we witness "curious whales" who approach us while viewing from a distance. It is against proper whale watching protocols for us to approach them.

Johnstone Strait is considered the core killer whale area where we expect to also encounter humpback whales. However, we could encounter whales at any point during the voyage as they travel miles every day.

Cultural History
Very close to Robson Bight is the old Kwakwaka’wakw village of Mimquimlees. In 1921, police arrested the elders holding a “potlatch” ceremony here, and confiscated their prized ceremonial masks.

The potlatch is a community event to witness changes in status (weddings, deaths, achievements). The government outlawed the ceremony believing it would help native people gain a good work ethic and speed their conversion to Christianity. Many of the masks and priceless pieces of art were then secretly sold to museum collections across North America. Today, at Mimquimlees, with permission of the band, we will see elaborately carved totem poles and the remains of native “great houses”. Inhabited for perhaps thousands of years, the village withstood attack, disease epidemics, and the laws banning the “potlatch”, before abandonment earlier this century.

The Kwakwaka’wakw people from most of the old villages moved to the government cannery town of Alert Bay. The excellent U’Mista Cultural Centre now holds some of the famous potlatch masks and other interesting artifacts. Today in Alert Bay, children are once again being taught the native language, traditional dances, and art and family stories.

Black bears are frequently spotted among the islands on these trips. They like to roam the shore, feeding on crabs and other intertidal organisms. However, it is the opportunity to see grizzly bears feeding on spawning salmon that makes this trip unique! It is a classic wildlife experience. There are few places in the world that can provide consistent, safe and incredible grizzly bear viewing. Glendale Cove up Knight Inlet is one of them, and has now become one of British Columbia’s premier wildlife viewing sites.

This area has a very rich and varied bird population. Many people will be amazed at the number of bald eagles we see on the trip. Colorful seabirds such as oystercatchers, pigeon guillemots and rhinoceros auklets are common and we see large numbers of smaller water birds, such as phalaropes. With the help of interested trip members we will keep a list of the birds and animals we sight during the trip.

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on best available cruise fare supplied, inclusive of all discounts, NCCF’s, Port Taxes, Government Taxes & Fees unless otherwise stated. All details are correct at time of loading however are subject to availability, currency fluctuations and change at any time without notice. Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Full terms and conditions apply. Please contact us for up to date availability, costings and more information.