Premier Listings for Bella Bella

The island village of Bella Bella is located on Campbell Island, north of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, and about 3 kilometres north of McLoughlin Bay, where BC Ferries’ Queen of Chilliwack docks.

It is home to the Heiltsuk Native Band and is the largest community on the Central Coast of British Columbia). Although it was the former site of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort McLoughlin in the 1830s, nothing remains of the fort today.

A Native interpretive centre and big house explaining the history of the Heiltsuk peoples are located in McLoughlin Bay. Five kilometres from Bella Bella is Denny Island and Shearwater.

When European explorers arrived on this coast in the 18th century, it was inhabited by Natives from several cultural groups. Although hunters and gatherers like the tribes of the Interior, the coastal natives were able to establish permanent villages due to their abundant food supply. Their complex cultures were distinguished by an emphasis on wealth, a refined artistic tradition, and a rich spirit life. Travel along the coast was accomplished by dugout canoes that could be impressive in their length. Although there’s nothing more inspiring than to see one of these massive canoes in action, they are only brought out for ceremonial occasions, such as a paddle trip to Vancouver or the Olympic Mountains in Washington.

In earlier years, the communities on British Columbia’s Mid-Coast were dependent upon marine traffic for their communication with the outside world, as indeed they still are today, as they remain inaccessible by land. Slowly, however, travel by land increased, and travel by sea decreased. With rail and road routes reaching communities like Prince Rupert and Bella Coola, the volume of sea traffic to coastal ports of call diminished. The coastal villages were severely impacted by this change, which saw the termination of ferry services in the early eighties.

Contact with these communities received a major boost with the inauguration in 1996 of the BC Ferries’ Discovery Coast Passage Route, providing a scheduled service out of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island to Namu, McLoughlin Bay (Bella Bella), Denny Island (Shearwater), Klemtu, Ocean Falls and Bella Coola. The service operates during the months of June to September only, and is served by the Queen of Chilliwack, a hard-working, refurbished Norwegian freight boat.

Services in Bella Bella include a bank, a large general store, a police station, and the only hospital and pharmacy on the Central Coast.

Population: 1,253

Location: Bella Bella is located 98 nautical miles north of Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island, and 78 nautical miles west of Bella Coola. There are scheduled flights to Bella Bella from Vancouver Airport.

Arrange a trip to the Eucott Bay Hot Springs, near Ocean Falls in Dean Channel, amongst the largest and best-known on the coast. These hot springs are popular with boaters as Eucott Bay offers good anchorage and shelter for small craft.

The Fiordland Conservancy is a 91,000-hectare paradise for sea kayakers, approximately 100 km north of Bella Coola by air – a magical world of inlets, bays, islands, and fjords. Waterfalls and glaciers are set amid the passages of a complex coastline. Some of the mountains are thickly cloaked with old-growth Sitka spruce and coastal western hemlock forests; others are monolithic domes, exhibiting their bare granite faces. Located in the Kitimat Ranges of the Coast Mountains, Fiordland is an exceptionally scenic area, with rich estuaries at the base of sharply plunging glacier-topped mountains. Salmon spawn in the many coastal rivers and creeks. There are a number of excellent beaches and interesting upland features, including glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, and rivers, along with wonderful hiking and wildlife-viewing opportunities. Sitka deer, salmon, and grizzlies have shared this magnificent area with the Heiltsuk people for centuries. Trapping, hunting, fishing, and other traditional food-gathering activities have richly sustained these people over the years. There are a number of archaeological sites located here, particularly along the shorelines. Unfortunately for paddlers, campsites are few due to the steep topography of the area. The recreation area is an important habitat area for both black and grizzly bears, which can make travel on shore risky.

Many parts of the Discovery Coast are relatively unknown to kayakers. It will appeal to resourceful paddlers who seek a sense of pioneering, which includes laying some groundwork, discovering new fishing spots, wildlife watching, dealing with unknown tidal currents, and finding new campsites. In British Columbia, the opportunities for recreation are everywhere.

Kayaking: Paddlers can enjoy the many small straits, exposed coastline, and islands accessible from the communities of Bella Bella and Denny Island (Shearwater), such as the Goose Group in the western reaches of the Hakai Provincial Recreation Area. There is good camping on the south end of Campbell Island as you make you way through Hunter Channel towards Goose. Be prepared to paddle 8 km through the open water in Queens Sound between Campbell and Goose, the largest by far of the five islands gathered here. At the north end of Goose Island is a pure white beach composed largely of pulverized clam shells that when walked upon with bare feet emit a squeak not unlike the squeal of a sneaker on a gymnasium floor. This is truly an enchanted island.

Approximately 130 km north of Port Hardy and 10 km west of Namu is the Hakai Luxvbalis Conservancy Area, British Columbia’s largest marine park, and one of the better-known paddling areas. This 123,000-hectare area encompasses a large archipelago of outstanding natural beauty and recreational value. From fully exposed shorelines to rolling, forested hills and 1000-metre peaks, Hakai offers some of the most varied and scenic coastline in the province. Special features such as lagoons and reversing tidal rapids, beaches, all-weather anchorages, tombolos, and an intricate network of coves, inlets, and channels make it an ideal area for boaters, anglers, scuba divers, naturalists – and experienced sea kayakers. The recreation area has no developed facilities, and offers wilderness sites for camping only. Over 100 species of birds have been identified in the park, ravens and ospreys among them. Feeding flocks of gulls, auklets, murres, and murrelets are numerous in the waters of Kildidt and Queens Sounds. Black oystercatchers, pelagic cormorants, surf birds, and both black and ruddy turnstones are also common.

Diving: The waters of the Hakai Provincial Recreation Area are amongst the finest in the world for underwater exploration, with exceptional viewing opportunities year-round. There are wrecks along virtually the entire Central Coast, making it a magnet for divers. Three good wrecks are just off Atli Point, near Shearwater on Denny Island, and Namu is particularly popular. Liveaboard dive charter vessels are available, which are outfitted with diving tanks and wet suits, and are based on the Central Coast between June and September.

If travelling on the Queen of Chilliwack, the most stunning scenery is between Bella Bella and Bella Coola. With the setting sun behind you, the monolithic rock formations looming over the narrow Burke Channel give the cruise a European flavour. You’ll get an even better look at the scenic Dean Channel during daylight hours if you board the ferry in Bella Coola for the southbound sailing.

Weather permitting, the ship’s two upper decks are an excellent vantage point from which to watch for the logging camps, barge houses, and abandoned settlements that indicate a human presence on this rugged coastline. Although Natives have inhabited the area for thousands of years, the inhospitable terrain has limited development and exploration by European settlers until comparatively recently. Wildlife viewing – the ferry slows for orcas – is another bonus of this trip. Don’t forget your binoculars. Facilities aboard the Queen of Chilliwack include reclining sleeper seats, a cafeteria, and small licenced lounge, a gift shop and – a boon for kayakers – pay showers.

Those taking the Discovery Coast Passage should be aware that, depending on their departure time and length of trip, they may have to ‘camp’ one night aboard ship. A sleeping bag or warm blanket will enhance your comfort in one of the reclining seats. Alternatively, bring along a camping mattress and stretch out on the floor. A small number of cots and blankets are available onboard. Hardy types are also permitted to pitch their (self-supporting) tents on the deck.

Circle Tour: See the best of BC when you embark upon one of the many circle tours that take in Vancouver Island, the Discovery Coast, the Sunshine Coast, the interior winelands or the remote Northern British Columbia. The coastal tours involve exciting rail, road and ferry trips, which is half the fun of travelling in British Columbia. Scenic highways flank the coast, taking you through charming beachside communities, rolling farmlands and majestic mountain ranges. Start your journey here and now, by selecting from one of the Circle Tours, designed to assist you in planning your journey by road through beautiful British Columbia.

Premier Listings

Photo of Ecosummer Expeditions
Ecosummer Expeditions
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 156 Clearwater BC V0E 1N0 Ecosummer Orca Camp Warden Beach Vancouver Island BC Home Phone: 250-674-0102Home Fax: 250-674-2197Work Phone: 1-800-465-8884Visit Website

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Awaken to the song of the Humpback whale. Fall asleep beneath the hushed canopy of a temperate rainforest. Fill your days whale-watching, kayaking with Orcas, observing sea lions romp through an underwater forest of kelp, and eagles fishing along the shore. Linger over lunch on a deserted island, scanning the horizon for signs of Orca activity.

Sign up for Ecosummer’s guided Orca Camps to kayak in the realm of Killer Whales. Explore the rainforest, hiking to waterfalls, or along ancient First Nation trails. Marvel when dolphins swim so close you wish you could reach out and touch them. Tune in to the rhythm of the tides. Escape the hubbub of your everyday world and restore life’s equilibrium on the shores of BC’s Johnstone Strait, one of the best places to whale-watch in all of British Columbia. Paddle the same waters as these gentle giants on three, four, or six-day kayaking adventures with Ecosummer Expeditions for a family vacation you’ll always remember.

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Photo of Bluewater Adventures
Bluewater Adventures
# 3 – 252 East First Street Vancouver BC V7L 1B3 Home Phone: 604-980-3800Work Fax: 604-980-1800Work Phone: 1-888-877-1770Visit Website

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Explore BC and Southeast Alaska with Bluewater Adventures aboard our 70′ yachts sailing the BC Inside Passage, the Queen Charlotte Islands, Gwaii Haanas National Park, the Great Bear Rainforest, and Vancouver Island. You’ll see whales, Grizzly, Black and Kermode bears, and experience ancient native villages and Haida culture, primeval forests, wilderness, and amazing coastal wildlife.

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Ocean Light II Adventures
#363 – 1917 West 4th Avenue Vancouver BC V6J 1M7 Home Phone: 604-328-5339Home Fax: 604-731-7066Visit Website

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Ocean Light II is a beautiful and spacious 71ft sailboat offering comfort, a classic natural wood interior, 5 guest cabins, fishing gear, 7 seakayaks, and a 19ft hard-bottom inflatable. Her crew has 34 years of experience offering natural history and photography tours on the BC Coast, including Haida Gwaii, and specializing in grizzly viewing tours in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, and spirit bear and grizzly tours in the Great Bear Rainforest. We also offer whale watching and eco tours, from totems to intertidal treasures, rocky shores to sandy beaches, and spawning salmon to towering trees. We offer five spectacular adventure trips between May and October, each to a different region and each highlighting the awe-inspiring beauty of the beautiful BC coast.

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Mothership Adventures
P.O. Box 30 Heriot Bay Quadra Island BC V0P 1H0 Home Phone: 250-202-3229Home Phone: 604-677-5692Work Phone: 1-888-833-8887Visit Website

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Explore our remote coastal wilderness aboard the heritage vessel Columbia III! Join us for exhilarating and unforgettable BC adventure tours that include sea kayaking, eco adventure, natural history, First Nations culture, extraordinary wildlife viewing, photography and painting. Experience sand beaches, stunning fjords, lush estuaries, and exceptional wildlife viewing of whales and bears. Travel in luxury with a certified hospitable crew, qualified guides, gourmet food and comfortable accommodation aboard the luxury Mothership.

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Inside Passage Cottages
Whiskey Slough Denny Island BC V0T 1B0 Cell Phone: 587-434-0226Visit Website

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Inside Passage Cottages are located on pristine Denny Island on the beautiful Discovery Coast. We provide an eco-friendly, clean, quiet and safe base from which to experience the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the last unspoiled rainforests on the planet. We have two, recently constructed self-contained properties available for vacation rental: a cottage and a five-bedroom lodge.

The clean and cozy cottage is suitable for two guests, or a small family, and has a fantastic view of Whiskey Slough. It also features a fully-equipped kitchen with full-sized fridge and stove, three-piece bathroom with shower, queen-size bed, satellite TV, and wireless internet. A freezer is available for your use. The cottage rents for $175 per night. Newly available in 2016 is our five-bedroom lodge for the bigger groups, at $250 per night.

Enjoy the serenity of the Discovery Coast area and the spectacular scenery it boasts. Leave the stresses of the modern world behind you and find inner peace in this unspoiled, coastal paradise. Enjoy long, relaxing walks and explore the tide pools that team with colour and life. Adventures in the magnificent Great Bear Rain Forest area include salmon and sport fishing, kayaking and boating, eco-tours, diving, and hiking.

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Photo of Spirit of the West Kayaking
Spirit of the West Kayaking
P.O. Box 569 Heriot Bay Quadra Island BC V0P 1H0 Home Phone: 250-285-2121Home Fax: 1-888-389-5736Work Phone: 1-800-307-3982Visit Website

Biographical Info

Kayaking British Columbia is the ultimate way to view BC’s abundant wildlife.

We want you to fall in love with kayaking and our unique coast, and our passion shows in everything we do. Choose among several professionally-guided 4-8 day trips for all experience levels around Vancouver Island. ‘Glamping’ basecamp-style with wood-fired hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or expedition-style paddling from camp to camp and paddling between 100s of islands through the Broughton Archipelago, famous Desolation Sound and the wild Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast. Savouring a fresh salmon BBQ in the open air, explore and view fascinating wildlife and wilderness and wake up on remote islands with the sound of the whales. Unique and breathtaking.

Our adventures are for everyone and are designed to cater to all levels of experience and abilities. We take care to introduce you to the sport in a fun and safe manner. All that we ask is that you welcome adventure with an open mind and are able to laugh and have fun when encountering the unexpected. Our groups are small, ranging from 8 to 13 people, depending on the trip, in order to provide you with the best experience possible. We provide everything you need for a once in a lifetime kayaking adventure. We provide high-quality fiberglass kayaks, paddling equipment, camp cookware, eating utensils, and camping gear.

Our guides take care of you for the entire duration of your tour, prepare delicious, organic and local meals, and have extensive training and experience in sea kayaking and in sharing the natural and cultural history of the area.

During the Northern Hemisphere winter, we also offer kayaking trips to the glacier-fed South American wildlife paradise, the Chilean Patagonia Archipelago, and multi-day escapes to sun, sand, remote beaches and the warm crystal clear waters of the Bahamas. Please contact us for all details of these amazing winter getaways!

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