What to expect when you take part int he 2017 UNBC Adventure Tour “Northwest Grizzly Bear Discovery Tour”. Adventure and exploration as we view and photograph Grizzly Bears in their natural habitat in remote locations throughout Northwest BC. We use Jet Boats, Ocean Boats, and float planes to access some of this regions most inaccesible bear viewing areas. Don’t miss this opportunity of a lifetime June 6-10, 2017. Tour starts in Terrace, BC.
The jet boat is one of the most versatile modes for transporting guests into remote and otherwise inaccessible locations. These boats have alot of horsepower that allows us to carry 5 guests per boat and move them up rivers to amazing places with incredible scenery. Most of our tours utilize jet boats for a portion of the trip as we navigate larger rivers like the Skeena and Fraser and then smaller tributaries of the Skeena and rivers off remote ocean inlets. Navigating up and down rivers provides an exhilarating experience as you never know what is around the next corner. They are great for photography as they can be stopped quickly and held in place to allow guests to get that shot of a lifetime.
As we made our way down the Skeena River through some of the rivers most notorious rapids like ‘the “Hornets Nest” and “Beaver Dam” we rounded a bend on the river and through one last set of rapids as the jet boat rolled it’s way through the last set prior to our visit with the local First Nations the Gitsegukla. The name Gitsegukla means ‘People of Segukla’. Segukla or ‘sharp-pointed’ being the name of a nearby mountain. There are no shortage of Segukla’s in this part of the world.
As I backed off the throttle and glided out way to shore the first glimpse of the local community was evident. A couple rows of children were there to greet us as well as many other community members dressed in their traditional regalia. Our guests were not sure what to expect as was I before we arrived but we were all a little overwhelmed at the greeting. We were directed where to put the boat into shore by one of the elders and as soon as the anchor was secured I began my exit of the boat but was quickly motioned to remain aboard ( Maybe the captain should be the last leave). Elder Vern Milton greeted us and asked us to remain aboard until the “Welcome Prayer” and Songs were performed. Vern’s prayer was followed up by the children singing and elders dancing. Our guests were then allowed to depart the boat as we made our way through rows of children singing one by one.
August 1-6, 2017
Hazelton – Port Edward, BC
Join us for a one a kind journey as we jet boat 200 km of the amazing Skeena River from Hazelton to Port Edward. You will not find a tour like this anywhere else as the guests overnight in a different accommodation adjacent tot he river each night.
This five day experience will retrace the travels of the sternwheelers that navigated the Skeena River from Hazelton to Port Essington in the early 1900’s. You will join a small group of 10 guests boarding two jet boats to begin a 300 kilometer journey along the Skeena River, through the coastal mountains before arriving at Port Edward. Much of the time will be spent floating the river without the engines running allowing you to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of the river on this trip of a lifetime!You will eat, sleep and breathe early Skeena River history for five days on the river, while gaining knowledge about the region from a variety of guest speakers and first nation’s communities. Historic sights of interest will be visited and discussed as your group navigates through some of the most scenic landscapes in the world. This journey will provide photographers with some very unique picture taking opportunities. You will spend all five nights in accommodations adjacent to the Skeena River.
DAY 1 – HAZELTON TO KITWANGA
The first day of the trip will begin in the community of Hazelton where we will have a “meet and greet” breakfast which will include introductions and a discussion of the tour itinerary. Your first stop is the aboriginal historic site of Ksan. From there, you will board one of two jet powered river boats and begin your voyage down the river towards the ocean. This section of the Skeena was notorious for its navigation hazards and the difficulty it presented for the Sternwheelers, but this will not be an issue for our modern day jet boat transportation. As you journey down the river, your tour guide will highlight many of the stories from this early period of British Columbia’s history and will identify the associated locations. You will stop at the First Nations community of Gitsegukla or “People of the sharp pointed mountain” where a hereditary chief will provide a cultural tour of the village. Next, the tour will travel to “The People of the Place of Rabbits” or Gitwangak, where another hereditary chief will share their knowledge of the carved house totem poles that date back to 1840. The final stop of the first day will be to visit a First Nations salmon netting and processing site on the banks of the river, below the community of Gitwangak. Your accommodations on this first night will be in unique “wall tents” adjacent to the mighty Skeena River that are erected on cedar platforms with spacious sundecks and commanding views. These deluxe tents are well appointed with quiltcovered queen sized beds, antique furnishings, rugs and oil lamps to lend luxury and romance to a “roughing it” experience. The tour will commence in the community of Hazelton with a visit to the historic village of Ksan, a living museum of the Gitxsan Aboriginal people. The trip will finish in the Skeena River Estuary where you will explore the history of the north coast canneries and fishing villages. The last two nights will be spent in the historic “Cassiar Cannery”, a once thriving salmon cannery recently restored as luxury accommodations. You will complete your journey by retracing the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad route on a return trip to Hazelton by rail.
DAY 2- KITWANGA TO TERRACE
This will be one of the busiest days as the tour will be stopping at as many historic sites as possible. The day will start with a quick stop at Woodcock, which is home to a crumbling RCAF runway adjacent to the Skeena River. Shortly after this stop, your tour will arrive at the present day site of Cedarvale, or Meanskinisht, as it was known in the early 1900’s. With so much to visit, the jet boats will power through some of the most well know rapids with names like “Devil’s Elbow”, “Hornet’s nest”, and “Gig Rapids”. These rapids were the demise of more than one Skeena River Sternwheeler over the
years. The remote “Ghost Town of Dorreen” will be visited, with one of the part-time residents guiding the group through the scattering of buildings and old vehicles that still remain. The once thriving town of Usk will warrant a quick visit, reaction ferry ride, and presentation by a long time resident. The next stop will be Kitselas Canyon, which was, and still is, the most feared section of the Skeena River. Your second night’s accommodation at the Magnificent Yellow Cedar Lodge on the banks of the Skeena River.
DAY 3- “TERRACE TO KASIKS
After a hearty breakfast in the lodge your journey will continue through some of the most scenic sections of the trip as the Skeena River carves its way through the towering, snowcapped, coastal mountains. This day will be taken at a slower pace with more time to explore islands and gravel bars in search of that unique photo or memory. The jet boats will float many portions of the river on this day, allowing time to just take in the awe inspiring beauty. One of the highlights will be a lunch time salmon BBQ on a Skeena River gravel bar. If water levels permit, you will jet boat up one of the many scenic Skeena River tributaries – some of which are known as “The Most Beautiful Rivers in the World”.
DAY 4- KASIKS TO CASSIAR
This segment of the trip marks the tidal portion of the Skeena River. You will boat by some magnificent scenery on this day as waterfalls cascade down from the glaciers and the vegetation and ecology changes to a coastal variety. You will visit Port Essington which is the site of a salmon cannery that operated in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Highlights here include the eerie moss covered grave sites in the cemetery, and the remnants of the historic boardwalk. If the group desires, a stop for a soak in a remote hot spring can be accommodated. The tour will then make its way through the Skeena River estuary before arriving at Cassiar Cannery where you will spend the next two nights.
DAY 5- SKEENA ESTUARY
The last full day on the water will be spent exploring the canneries and fishing communities of the lower Skeena River. The first stop will be the unique fishing community of Osland. The long boardwalk, which is supposedly an extension of Highway 16, and a variety of old fishing boats and cabins will be explored, providing opportunities for photographers to obtain unique photos. The tour will then explore the old cannery locations of Carlisle and Claxton on the south side of the Skeena River. The old pilings, structures and discarded items will again make for some interesting photography. The day will end with a tour of the North Pacific Cannery Historic Site and then back to the Cassiar Cannery.
DAY 6- TRAIN TO HAZELTON
For more information on this tour please contact:
Rob Bryce (250) 960-5982 or Rob.Bryce@unbc.ca
On our Jet Boat Photography Tour in 2015 we had some amazing photographers on the tour. One of these photographers was Colin Franks. He has graciously shared some of his photos from the trip with us. If you want to see more of Colin’s Photos check out his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ColinFranksPhotography/
On all of our educational adventure tours we utilize jet boats for a portion of the trips. The are very versatile and allow us to get our guests to some amazing places that would otherwise be inaccessible. The clip below emphasizes this as we take a group of guests on our Jet Boat Photography Tour up a remote river in search of those unique photo opportunities.
One of the highlights of our Jet Boat Photography Tour and the Skeena River Historical Journey by Jet Boat is the running of jet boats through the historical Kitselas Canyon. Here is some footage of our two jet boats going through the canyon. Don’t miss your chance to explore the canyon by jet boat.
Jet Boat Photography Tour June 5-10, 2016
Skeena River Historical Journey August 5-10, 2016
In looking back and reflecting at some past photos from our Jet Boat Photography Tour I noticed that we had some beautiful days and some amazing reflections of the local mountains and scenery. Here are a few of my favorites.
A jetboat is a boat propelled by a jet of water that is propelled through a corkscrew like impeller that is shot out of the back of the boat. Unlike a powerboat or motorboat that uses a propeller in the water below or behind the boat, a jetboat draws the water from under the boat into a pump inside the boat, then expels it through a nozzle at the stern. The benefit of this is that there is no propeller or leg hanging down below the boat and this allows the boat to navigate very shallow water and get to places it wouldn’t otherwise be able to. We utilize two jet boats with inboard jets to navigate the rivers on this tour. They also make a great platform for taking photos. If you haven’t been on one before it is quite the experience. I still get goose bumps when cruising a new remote river in search of adventure as you never know what awaits around the next corner.
The recently released British Columbia Magazine features the “Super 7” Top BC Tours. The UNBC Photography Tour made the list. The Spring 2015 issue is on newstands now!
Here area few photos of the magazine and the article.