WOW! WOW! WOW! and did I say WOW!
What an incredible adventure. The Great Bear Swim was even better that I could have dreamt and beyond what I could have hoped for.
Here’s how it all went down…
On the morning of Sunday, July 10th, a small caravan of vehicles holding a team of 9 and fully loaded with supplies headed to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. We would spend one night in the remote community of 4,000, camping at Scotia Bay Resort over night, and catch a very early morning ferry to Bella Bella on the central coast the next day.
If you are every looking for a really fun activity while staying at Scotia Bay in Port Hardy, jump into the ocean at 8pm without a wetsuit. It really messes with the locals heads. Might even earn you a few drinks by the communal campfire! Especially since the water was 12 C.
By 5:00 am Monday we were en route to the ferry terminal where we would board the Northern Expedition for a five and a half hour boat road across the Queen Charlotte Strait and through the Inside Passage to Bella Bella on Campbell Island.
One thing for certain, there are a lot of whales out there! This became abundantly clear within our first hour in Inside Passage. Soon after we crossed the strait the ship’s purser announced that there was a pod of humpbacks on the starboard side of the ship. We all ran to the windows or out on deck and could see them playing in the water ahead. It was truly a spectacular sight.
The announcements were fast and furious all the way passed Namu! Oddly, I was not worried about encountering these magnificent cetaceans during my upcoming swim. Over the months I had become at peace with the idea.
Sometime after 1:00 pm we arrived at the port in Bella Bella. Our host and pilot for the expedition, Kevin Heneghan, and co-pilot, Terry Pierce, were waiting at the dock for us. I introduced them to the group, many of whom they had not met before, and we began unloading our vehicle and loading the boat. Although we all packed the least amount of equipment and clothing possible, the activity still took over an hour!
Fully loaded and ready to begin the next phase of our adventure, Kevin pointed his boat in the direction of Drifter’s Cove, and we were on our way to our base camp for the upcoming week.
Drifter’s Cove is a beautiful piece of property on the west side of Denny Island just south of Bella Bella which is on the other side of Lama Passage. There are two hand crafted cabins along with several other structures on the property, including a wood-burning stove based sauna! There is a lovely cove protected by a breakwater that makes for a beautiful entrance to the property and a great place for training.
After arriving we spent time exploring the property and then went for a quick swim. We set up camp, ate a great meal and then setled in for the night.