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“Safari in the Northwest”

Aboriginal Journeys Wildlife and Adventure Tours
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A locally and family owned tour company located in Campbell River, British Columbia. See Killer Whales (Orcas), Dolphins, Humpback Whales Eagles, Black Bears and other Marine Wildlife in their natural environment on our Marine Wildlife and Whale Watching Journeys. In late summer and early fall we offer Grizzly Bear Journeys. On our Grizzly Bear Journey in Campbell River, we travel aboard our high-speed, covered vessel to Toba Inlet in search of Grizzly Bears. You will see pristine river valleys which are home to these magnificent animals. Upon arrival we will board a tour bus and drive to specially designed bear viewing platforms and some open viewing areas, which is situated along the river and ideal for viewing the mighty grizzlies. Here you’ll have the opportunity to witness firsthand the autumn ritual of bears feasting on spawning salmon in Canada´s true wilderness. Observation platforms offer great views and security so you can have a look into the lives of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Travel through some of the worlds strongest Ocean Rapids and learn a little about the local First Nations history and culture as well. Enjoy breathtaking Nature viewing boat tours throughout the Discovery Passage, Johnstone Strait and Mainland Inlet areas. We have a 27 foot covered vessel with a open viewing deck and onboard washroom and heater. Our experienced and locally born Transport Canada certified guides have a minimum 40 years experience working and traveling within these waters. We look forward in creating long lasting memories for you and your families. Our floating office is located at the Discovery Harbour Marina (G Dock)in Campbell River. Please use the South ramp. "A Spectacular Adventure Awaits!" CAMPBELL RIVER's longest running Whale Watching and Grizzly Bear tour company. Established in 2000.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed September 12, 2013

This was one of the highlights of our trip to British Columbia. We have been on high end safaris in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana. We have also been on many whale watching tours on the west coast. Garry has a unique knowledge of his territory and is a very accomplished and experienced skipper. Safety is always first both on the water as well as on the ground. He started us out with an orientation of the area, safety briefing and appropriate seating and balance on his vessel. One has to remember that with 12 people on board, you should not be moving around as you are underway and it could be dangerous as the boat is moving though various seas. ( note: I have been a sailor for more than 30 years and thats how people can get hurt...just like when flying, the Captain tells you to remain in your seat). The boat ride from the harbor in Campbell river to the bears in the Bute inlet is about 2 hours. Once you arrive, you have time to use the washroom and receive a sandwich lunch and juice. If you need more food than that, you should have eaten breakfast. Remember, this is a safari and not food tour. Then there is a short drive to the viewing platforms by the streams and their they are...bears. We were at the viewing areas for about 2 hours and saw 3 mom bears and 6 cubs in total. Both Garry and Wilson, the aboriginal guide, will keep careful watch while moving to and from the various platforms. If it is safe, you can even do some viewing outside the platforms. Garry and Wlson always had our safety in mind.

On our return, we came upon a pod of more that 100 dolphins. It was amazing.

All in all, this was one of the most outstanding safari experiences we have had in some time. Many thanks Garry for your knowledge and experience. We highly recommend you and your tour.

Thank drjohnrx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"bute inlet"
in 33 reviews
"bald eagles"
in 34 reviews
"grizzly bear"
in 23 reviews
"salmon"
in 29 reviews
"local bakery"
in 4 reviews
"the river"
in 24 reviews
"pacific white sided dolphins"
in 16 reviews
"early in the season"
in 7 reviews
"covered boat"
in 14 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 14 reviews
"vancouver island"
in 21 reviews
"killer whales"
in 16 reviews
"hour boat trip"
in 10 reviews
"sandwiches"
in 12 reviews
"first nations"
in 18 reviews
"friendly guide"
in 4 reviews
"unforgettable experience"
in 4 reviews
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Reviewed September 11, 2013

I went with my wife and two friends on this trip. We were hoping it would be a highlight of our BC trip but it was a massive disappointment. With wildlife and nature there are no guarantees really but after reading good reviews and listening to Garry's bravado about the bears we would see it was not what we expected. For about 1400 dollars for the four of us it was probably the biggest waste of money we have ever spent.
There were 12 of us on the boat. Unfortunately the boat needs to be perfectly balanced apparently so we were not allowed to move around the boat at all. 2 people sat outside the whole time going out and 2 the way back. We had more freedom to move around the boat on a 12 person tour with another company the day before.
A few reviews below this it says great lunch. Yeah you get a decent sandwich wrap and a doughnut but consider the money you are paying. It would be fine generally but Garry actually didn't check the order properly and the group was 3 lunches short(!) so people had to share.
After getting off the boat and setting off on a bus we saw a female bear and a cub in the car park at a distance before getting to the main viewing areas, but the next hours after that was just waiting and not seeing a lot. Potentially it could be excellent sightings with the location but note, if you are looking for great photos the fact that the viewing platforms face into the sun is not ideal. There was plenty of salmon about. Garry was dropped off at one viewing area while we were taken to another. Apparently he saw a bear or two go past and said they would be coming down our way but we didn't see them. The same happened again. If he had just let us wait with him a few minutes at the start then we may have seen the bears straight off and not had such a failure. It apparently happened once more and we were quickly driven back to see them. However apparently the noise of the bus (the track is very near the river) scared the bear off.

There was apparently a local billionaire who arrived to the viewing area before us. One of the guides who is normally with this tour group then went with him instead. We went to areas/towers 3-5 on the trip but never to the first two and didn't see this guy. So we had some suspicions that perhaps they had been baited for him elsewhere or he was left privately for a large tip? Garry also said when our time was nearly up that we could have an extra hour to wait but then he changed his mind and said we weren't going to see anything. No explanation for that. So much for the extra effort. He said that was what nature had to show us today and didn't seem bothered in the slightest that we were all left so clearly disappointed. He had our money after all. He also delighted in showing us the photos of bears that HE took that we apparently just missed. This attitude is a main reason for making this review.
Having said all this we did see a pod of dolphins on the way back. Cheaper whale watching tours often see those too, like the one we took the day before. Garry could have contacted the whale watching companies more in case there were Orca sightings possible.
So I would recommend people to not go on the trip before September 8th in future years as that is when the guarantee starts (though if you leave an extra day free I doubt there would be a space on the next tour). Also Garry and his team should reduce the price before this date as you may get a worse experience. Certainly we were unlucky, and it could be great, but the guide's arrogance and lack of effort made things worse.

5  Thank gary3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2013

The day began with our small group of 10 boarding the boat and off onto our adventure. A misty morning we headed off to Bute inlet to see the bears! The official first day of the season so no promises of sightings..... Ok. We arrived at the inlet and the two Homalco guides welcomed us and drove us to the viewing platform. The scenery was breathtaking and within minutes a grizzly bear was approaching and our wishes came true. He pounced on a salmon in the river and brought it to the shore to eat, it was magical. While this was happening, a mother bear with two cubs appeared nearby. To witness the cubs frolicking was wonderful, they crossed the river within metres of us and then the mother lay down and fed them, a very special and apparently rare sight to behold.
Our return boat trip saw a large seal sunning on a rock, a wonderful and special day. If you are going to Campbell river don't miss this tour!!!

4  Thank JSM99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2013

Booked this back in Jan. 2013. Followed the companies facebook page for months & saw the wonderful pics that the owner Garry proudly shares of all his tours,so with that being said, August is here! August 27 is early in the grizzley bear season, so I was constantly wondering if we would see any. The 2 hr covered boat trip to the mainland was speedy & comfortable and left promptly at 0830. We had a time slot to view the bears at 11 am on the First Nations land. We did stop along the way to view some Orcas. Arriving at Bute Inlet we were met by a guide who escorted us to a small shuttle bus to an area where there were bathroom facilities that we were encouraged to use, whether you had to or not. No facilities where we were headed! A quick tasty bagged lunch was handed to each of us on the bus,, consisted of a huge manwich, either ham or roast beef , on freshly baked that morning bread from a bakery in Campbell River. Snyders? Also a ginger brownie and a bag of Thriftys chocolate cookies were passed around. ( You had me at chocolate chip! ) Its a bumpy ride to where the viewing stations are so be cautious when biting down on your food! The bus takes you thru dense lush forest & greenery, and you cant help but feel your excitement mounting! When we reached viewing station 6, we were instructed while on the bus no food, and to keep our voices down and stick together. Climbing up the stairs, I could hear others say, " There they are!! ." Where? Looking more closely with my naked eys, there they were. A Momma & her 3 cubs laying in the grass, their beautiful heads barely seen. Out comes the camera, the zoom, and the rest of the day was click,clicks of camera shutters. What a beautiful sound! We viewed her for a while, they got up & walked along the waters edge and disappeared. When viewing animals in the wild, patience is a necessary virtue to have. Later another mum appeared with 2 older cubs. The area is beautiful, the Orford River is glacial blue, and the salmon could be seen jumping. The bears today werent doing much fishing, but what we saw was wonderful. After about 3 hrs of viewing we made our way back for a BR break before boarding the boat back to Campbell River, where we stopped again to view some Orcas. Garry is a local fella, born/raised in Campbell River and has a deep love/respect for nature and the First Nations people. He has a great sense of humor, is a down to earth, honest kind of guy. He knows the waters well and ensures safety comes first. Grizzley tours arent cheap, most companies charge about the same, but is well worth it. If you love nature and wildlife, its money well spent. There were a total of 10 people on this trip, can take up to 12. Makes it more fun & personal. We had folks from UK, Colorado, and NewYork City. Everyone says how beautiful our country is. I agree! We got back to Campbell River around 6pm or so. It was a wonderful day, and Ill do it again,next time more in the peak season. Still have to see them diving for the salmon!! Loved it!

Thank janetw154945
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 5, 2013

This is a "must do" in the list of adventures when visiting Campbell River! I am from this local area, and was uncertain what to expect but definitely enjoyed the entire day trip and the beautiful scenery. I definitely recommend this to anyone who appreciates the outdoors and wildlife! Well worth every minute! Thank you Garry!

Thank Lisa A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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