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North Coast/ Khutzeymateen

The Khutzeymateen Inlet is one of British Columbia’s most northern glacial fjords, with characteristic steep cliffs, thick forests and rich estuary ecosystems. This remote region boasts Canada's only grizzly bear sanctuary.

June 17-23, 2014 ($3995)

Rates subject to $100 sustainability fee & 5% GST


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Khutzeymateen is a native Tsimshian word meaning ‘a confined space for salmon and bears’, a suitable description - as you will soon see. "Khutzeymateen" is spelled "K’tzim-a-Deen" by the local Tshimshian.

We voyage along the Inlet's winding shores and expect some wonderful bear viewing in the new Khutzeymateen Conservancy. We look forward to exploring the outer islands, watching Steller sea lions on the hunt and at play. While ashore, we walk along rugged beaches and take the time for hikes to see bog flowers. Each day, we enjoy our time for incredible sea kayaking among rock studded anchorages.


Bluewater Naturalist

Dr Barrie Gilbert

 Dr. Barrie K. Gilbert was a Senior Scientist from Utah State University and has just recently retired. After receiving his B.A. in Biology from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, he earned a PhD in ecology at Duke University. His specialty is behavioural and conservation ecology, especially the application of behavioural science to management of human-wildlife interactions. His recent research has focused on the impacts of roads access and recreation on bears. This research focuses on other carnivores, their habitat and plans to minimize or eliminate these impacts at a protected area scale. He began studying bears in 1974. For the last 15 years he directed studies of human-bear interactions along salmon streams in Katmai National Park, AK, and in Southeast Alaska. He began studying bears in 1974 and started working with coastal B.C. bears in 1996. Dr Gilbert's experience on the west coast extends from British Columbia up to Southeast Alaska, including some of our favourite bear watching spots like Knight Inlet and Anan Creek.

Trip Highlights

See more information on the North Coast/ Khutzeymateen

This area is home to the magnificent grizzly bear, a species that requires large areas of habitat undisturbed by human activity. These great bears, once roamed across North America but due to the advance of civilization, diminished food supply and continued tophy hunting, they are now threatened in their remaining range.

Fortunately for the bears of the Khutzeymateen, they are protected, as the headwaters of the Inlet are Canada’s only Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. Covering an area of 45,000 hectares, scientists estimate there are about 50 grizzlies protected by the no-hunting restrictions of the sanctuary. The protected area has recently been expanded to include the entire Inlet as the Khutzeymateen Conservancy. Although Bluewater voyages leave the Sanctuary to the bears, there are acres of untouched wilderness for us to explore!

Tshimshian First Nations have lived in this area for thousands of years. There are two villages along our route; Lax Kw’alaams was once a Hudson Bay Company trading post called Fort Simpson and Metlakatla, which became a model Christian community under Reverend Duncan during late 1800’s. They were fortunate to have avoided the smallpox that ravaged many native communities along the Coast. The Khutzeymateen is jointly managed by BC Parks and the Tshimshian First Nation.
The waters of the North Coast are frequented by a variety of marine mammals, such as seals, sea lions, humpback whales and the infamous orca, or killer whale.

Dall’s porpoise are another marine mammal we may encounter. These porpoise are the fastest whales in our ocean and they will often come over “bow ride” while we are underway. Steller sea lions can be found hauled out along the rocky shores. Males can weigh up to 2000 lbs. Stellers have been placed on the endangered species list in western Alaska, and scientists are only now learning why the population is declining so fast.
This area has a very rich and varied bird population. You’ll be amazed at the number of bald eagles, ravens and various species of gulls that gather at the estuaries to feed on the spawning salmon. A variety of other birds, such as the common merganser, black oystercatcher, American dipper, and Steller jays are also common visitors of the rainforest rivers.

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