Orcas in Blackfish Sound - August 2014

November 03, 2013  •  Leave a Comment
Hyde Creek Manor Beach House
Port McNeill, Vancouver Island
British Columbia, Canada
August 2014 Photography Adventure
For the month of August 2014, We have rented the beautiful and luxurious Hyde Creek Manor Beach House in Port McNeill, which is located in northern Vancouver Island on the Johnstone Strait of the Inside Passage.  This 4 bedroom, 4 bath home on the water will serve as the base for our wildlife viewing and photography day trips. 
Along with the house we're arranging our custom photography guide boat (licensed, approved, and inspected) schedule so that a dedicated  guide picks us up from the beach at the house to take us out for our flexible adventures in seeing orcas, humpback whales, grizzly bears, sea lions and coastal birds, and maybe even native historical sites where possible. We'll follow the wildlife trail each day according to sightings and our whim.  We can go near or far as we desire and our captain allows. (As some of you know, I spent a week in the area last summer.  We had bad weather, and days without seeing whales, and I still saw and photographed more orcas than I have in the rest of my time in the Northwest combined.  It's amazing.)
Ann and Marcus will be there for most of August.  It's definitely the best trip we've done to share with a non-photographer. Great private house, access to the movie theater in town and plenty of room along the deck to barbecue. The house has internet access for those who need to keep in touch as well.
Port McNeill and nearby Telegraph Cove are the epicenters of the northern Orca resident pods. Over 200 orcas make a home base the Inside Passage area that centers around Port McNeill and the Robson Bight Ecological Preserve. It is the most densely populated orca population in North America.  All of the major nature shows that feature North American orcas are filmed in this area.
Other Wildlife
Humpback whales are also numerous in the area, as are eagles, dolphins, sea lions and black bears.  Northern Vancouver Island is filed with black bears that can be widely seen, including a small one that lives under the boardwalk in the nearby marina village of Telegraph Cove.
Grizzlies in Knight Inlet
Across the strait on the mainland is the Knight Inlet Wilderness.  Discovered by William Broughton, Vancouver's first officer, the Knight Inlet hosts a grizzly population that is protected in a special reserve and fed by an abundant salmon run out of the Queen Charlotte Strait. Biologists estimate there are thousands of grizzles that participate in the summer salmon fest in the inlet.  It's one of North America's premiere spots for grizzly viewing. And we should be able to get there in our privately-guided boat, departing right from our backyard dock.
Anyone who doesn't want to go out on the water for adventure can relax in the house, or walk or drive into downtown Port McNeill, drive to Telegraph Cove, or any of the nearby sights and nature areas to enjoy the day. Unlike camping trips, we'll have lots more freedom to move around and mix things up on this adventure.  Plus, nicer sleeping arrangements.
If you're interested in joining us, we will rent out two bedrooms per week - one with a queen bed, and one with a king bed.  Arrivals will be on Saturdays, departures on Fridays.  You will get one room and places for two on the tour boat for the cost.  
Meals will be coordinated flexibly according to the tastes and timing of each group each week. We will split the variable costs of stocking the house with breakfast and lunch supplies and settle up on the last night. For the sake of variety, we can go to town for dinner together or separately as well as cook at home.  I think we'll play that by ear and see how much we enjoy sharing cooking after long days with lots of sea air.
What it Costs
The fixed cost per bedroom (same whether one or two people) will be as follows.  The cost per bedroom (1 or 2 people) for a week will be either $3,000 or $3,500 depending on your choice of bedroom.
- $3,500 for the king master bedroom per week including Provincial taxes and lodging fees; or 
- $3,000 for the queen bedroom per week including Provincial taxes and lodging fees; and
- This includes five full days of guiding, excluding arrival and departure days. (If you arrive early or leave late, we can also take excellent sight-seeing tours from Port McNeill or Telegraph Cove for 3-4 hours on Saturday or Friday.
What else is included:
- House cleaning
- Taxes and fees
- Guide fees, tips and taxes
- Amazing wildlife
What's Not Included
- Your airfare
- Your rental car if you choose to get one to get there
- Meals (as described above)
- Great timing to make the best images of your life
- Airport transfers from Port Hardy
- Rental kayaks if you'd like to use one
Select a Week
Please let me know promptly if you're interested in booking and which week and we'll hold a room for you if you're serious.  Since there's no camping involved, and we have actual toilets and a roof, this one will go quickly. I'll need your 50% deposit by January 15, 2014, and final payment by May 31, 2014.  Trip insurance is recommended.  If you need to cancel, we'll refund your funds received by that point if we can find a replacement to take your room.
* Saturday August 2 - Friday August 8
* Saturday August 9 - Friday August 15
* Saturday August 16 - Friday August 22
* Saturday August 23 - Saturday August 31 (bonus day this last week)
Getting to Port McNeill
* Drive from Vancouver - about 9 hours of driving up Vancouver Island - after you take the ferry from Tsawwassen over to Nanaimo.  Book ferry reservations for your car well in advance, auto reservations will sell out by June for weekends in August.
* Fly to Port Hardy from Vancouver on Pacific Coast Airlines.  about a 50 minute flight.  You'll switch terminals in Vancouver and Pacific Coast Airlines is at the ass end of the airport on a slow shuttle.  No quick connections are possible.  Give yourself at least 2 hours between landing and your PCA flight to Port Hardy.  (Call ahead to reserve the one cab in Port McNeill to come get you. And call again that same day to remind her that you're coming.)
* Fly to Campbell River from Vancouver on Pacific Coast Airlines, rent a car, and drive the two hours to Port McNeill and sightsee along the way.
Please contact me asap if interested - 510-444-2988 or contact@pacific-landscapes.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Can we bring our pet(s)?  Nope. No pets allowed at Hyde Creek Manor
  2. How about my camper - can I bring a Winnebago?  No campers allowed either.
  3. How many people can stay in my bedroom?  1 or 2.  No exceptions.
  4. Can I go fishing?  Yes, but you'll need to research and obtain your own fishing license online before you leave.
  5. Do I need a passport?  Unless you're a Canadian citizen, or already in Canada, you'll need a valid passport to get to Port McNeill from the U.S.
  6. When is my commitment due to you?  A deposit of 50% is due January 15, 2014 and the balance due at the end of May 2014.
  7. I'm going to the Fehrenbacher Family Reunion.  Isn't this a conflict?  That's one weekend in August.  Work around it.

Links to a Few YouTube Videos from the area:

Telegraph Cove Weekend highlight reel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rik9qF8jeOg

Telegraph Cove visitor reel and some history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKqWXbliw4Q




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