Skip to main content

1 of 10

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

Kevin J. Smith/Maple Leaf Adventures

2 of 10

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/Maple Leaf Adventures

3 of 10

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

Kevin J. Smith/Maple Leaf Adventures

4 of 10

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

Kevin J. Smith/Maple Leaf Adventures

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 10

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/Maple Leaf Adventures

6 of 10

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

Kevin J. Smith/Maple Leaf Adventures

7 of 10

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/Maple Leaf Adventures

8 of 10

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

Kevin J. Smith/Maple Leaf Adventures

9 of 10

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/Maple Leaf Adventures

10 of 10

The Maple Leaf waits offshore for its passengers to return.

Kevin J. Smith/Maple Leaf Adventures

Report an error Editorial code of conduct