Well I'm sure you have read the other very positive reviews, many of which specifically mention Gary, so I wil start off by adding my own view. We called quite late in the day after changing our plans to see if we could get a space on the bear watching trip from Campbell river the next day, half expecting it to be a no. However Gary was very accommodating and asked us to give him a short period to see if someone on the trip would mind dropping out in favour of us (it happens that one of his employees was down to go with her boyfriend) and a short while later we were booked in, thanks to both Gary and her (really sorry I have forgotten your name but we are very grateful and hope the champagne helped make up for it!). We arrived the next morning, an early start for us at eight o'clock as this was our honeymoon and liked our sleep ins! Gary instantly made us feel welcome, and in fact from the very first to the last second of the tour his gentle wry humour made the whole experience just that little extra special. I think the success of his tours, whilst undoubtably due to the amazing wildlife and scenery, can in no smal way be accredited to his style and personality. I hope he continues to run them for many many years and we will be back.
Of the tour itself, it would take more time and space than I have here to give a full accounting but I will pick out my three favourite highlights. The tour was of course to go up to the Bute inlet and transfer to land to watch grizzlies feeding on salmon in the river, perfect timing as this was the right season for this, but within 20 mins of us starting the boat trip Gary heard that a pod of Orcas had been seen and then we spent the next hour finding and observing them from a respectful distance. I've seen them on TV, read about them and even sadly seen one in a an aquarium, but there is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing them with the unaided eye so close and free, something that will be a very happy memory for the rest of my life. It says a huge amount about Gary and his tours that even though we were "bear watching" he took this time out to find and show us these magnificent creatures.
My second was oddly enough another aquatic find, this time on the way home, where Gary again found a large school of Pacific White Sided Dolphins, who treated us to some amazing displays as they sped along in our bow wave, a superb sighting and again due to Gary being willing to go that extra mile (nautical mile of course!).
And thirdly it had to be our last bear sighting, having already seen a mother and cub plus another grizzly taking advantage of the salmon run, our last was special. The bear was about ten feet away, on the opposite bank of the river (maybe a bit further) happily picking through the salmon caught in a section of very tangled river where roots and branches of trees apparently trapped them. What I thought was a huge male I'm told was an average size female but she certainly looked much bigger that close! It was obvious that we weren't disturbing her or any of the other bears, we were well mannered, quiet and well shepherded by Gary and our first nation guides so both ourselves and more importantly the bears were safe.
So our grizzly trip included seals, dolphins, eagles, bears and orcas as well as a beautiful scenic boat trip, it also lasted about two hours over what we paid for, as we also followed the orcas on the way home, and we were never hurried from location to location. Our inclusive lunch was tasty and filling! Much needed on a long day out, but you won't go wrong if you pack a few sweets and a bottle of water.
I have no hesitation in recommending Aboriginal Journeys and Gary, and I hope you are lucky enough to have a group along with you like ours who we were lucky to share the trip with.
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