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Every day aboard the Maple Leaf, a meticulously maintained 108-year-old schooner, was an adventure.Kevin J. Smith

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Ursus americanus kermodei, the rare subspecies of black bear with a recessive gene that gives it a coat as white as a polar bear’s.Kevin J. Smith

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The population of Spirit Bears is stable, but small. Researchers put the number between 100 and 500.Kevin J. Smith

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About one in 10 of the area’s black bears are born with white fur.Kevin J. Smith

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When a huge black bear emerged from the forest downstream, it was almost ignored. There is no doubt who is the star of the Great Bear Rainforest.Kevin J. Smith

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You’ve got to dress for the weather – shore excursions occur rain or shine.Kevin J. Smith

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The yacht drops anchor off beaches laced with wolf tracks. Zodiacs put us so close to sea lions that we choke on their pungent stink. (Thousands of kilograms of fish processed through tonnes of sea mammal does not have a pleasant odour.)Kevin J. Smith

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Bears forage for salmon in the river but pay little attention to human visitors.Kevin J. Smith

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We’d all come to experience deep nature in the 6.4-million hectare wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest, a largely road-less tract of forest that sweeps up B.C.’s mainland coast.Kevin J. Smith

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The Maple Leaf waits offshore for its passengers to return.Kevin J. Smith

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