• What is the minimum age required for an expedition?

Based on our experience, Tide Rip has chosen ten (10) years of age as a minimum required to participate in one of our expeditions. Our tours are generally 8 1/2 hours long, too long for young children.



As our excursions are entirely boat-based, that is a two hour commute each way in addition to three to four hours of viewing (which necessitates being both totally silent and absolutely still), it can prove difficult for youngsters to avoid becoming distracted and restless.  Not only could that jeopardize the chances of seeing a bear, but it could also compromise the experience of our other guests.  Please respect and appreciate our wishes.

  • Are bear sightings guaranteed?

Barn Swallows.

Barn Swallows.

Although we cannot guarantee bear sightings, the vast knowledge and intuition of our Guides based on years of experience and observation will ensure the best viewing potential possible.

The animals we seek to appreciate are wild in every way and although they follow somewhat predictable seasonal patterns of movement and behaviour, they are free to roam throughout their home range.

We can offer this however:  the area in which we operate is somewhat unique, affording the bears protection, optimal habitat and a surplus of quality food throughout the year all of which serve to create bear heaven!

  • How close do you get to the bears?

As certified Guides, we have pledged allegiance to guidelines established by the Bear Viewing Association of BC in conjunction with provincial bear biologists.  In order to ensure your safety as well as the protection of the animals these regulations dictate how we behave in the company of bears.

Dinner is served.

Dinner is served.

For a comprehensive examination of the Best Practices please refer to:   bear viewing best practices

In short, it’s a very difficult question involving many different variables including weather, tides, bear behaviour and the presence of other vessels.  We endeavour to maintain 50 m of swimmable water between ourselves and the animals.

  • When is the best time to come?

Truth be told, there is no ‘best’ time to come.  Each and every season offers it’s own amazing viewing experiences.

In early spring as the winter snow begins to melt, bears emerge from their hibernation dens high on the mountain slopes in a desperate search for food.

Red-throated loon.

Red-throated loon.

The famished bears actively seek out estuarys where they graze nearly every waking hour on nutrient-rich spring sedge grasses and/or forage along the exposed intertidal zone when the tide permits.

Although relatively high in protein, the sedge grasses provide little in the way of calories. Grizzly bears are forced to conserve energy at this time of the year, often draping themselves over anything and everything in the most photogenic way.

During the early spring love is in the air! May and June is breeding season and offers the opportunity to see otherwise large elusive males reluctantly reveal themselves in their pursuit of love. Courtship rituals, mating behaviour and defense of love interests are definitely a spectator’s sport!

As well at this time of the year, the cub-of-year are at their smallest.  Imagine the curiosity and mischief they find themselves in after months of being held captive in their dark, damp dens only to have a second birthing of sorts into a new world full of sensory overload!

Although no one can predict with any degree of accuracy exactly when or how big the salmon run will be for any given year, generally the fish will arrive sometime in early to mid-August. The low tide exposes expansive tidal flats over which the fish must migrate through shallow channels where the hungry mouths of Ursus horribilus await them! This can be a very exciting time of the year because under certain circumstances we can position our viewing skiffs in such a way as to provide front row seats for one of the greatest shows on Earth!

By September the fish have largely entered the river and spawning has commenced. The bears will strategically place themselves at shallow riffle zones or simply patrol the river, looking for foraging opportunities in still deep pools or log jams where salmon carcasses will come to rest.

  • Where is your office and how do I get there?

Our office is situated in Cove Coffee Shop at the end of the boardwalk, Telegraph Cove BC.

Eagle eye.

Eagle eye.

Having arrived from Highway 19, descend down into beautiful Telegraph Cove and find public parking located immediately on your right.  Park your vehicle here.  If you have not prepaid for parking, you needn’t worry about doing so at this time but rather upon return to Telegraph Cove in the afternoon.  Immediately across from the paid parking please note the red building which is the last public toilets before boarding our boats.

Now it’s a matter of obeying your nose!   Follow the smell of fresh-brewed coffee on the western (left hand) side of the Cove.  Please continue down the boardwalk until you see our sign directly across from the Stubbs Island Whale Watching.  Even if you stop to appreciate a bird (or maybe a bear!) along the way, it might take you 5 minutes at a slow amble.

  • Will I get sea sick?

Not likely.  At least nobody has yet.

Common Merganser.

Common Merganser.

Generally it’s the rolling motion of the open ocean that instigates sea sickness.  For the most part our certified Captains navigate the sheltered backwaters of the Broughton Archipelago, a maze of islands and islets, rocks and reefs that afford protection from wind and waves.

That’s not to say that things can’t get a wee bit spicy!  High pressure systems associated with summer can generate afternoon anabatic winds from the Northwest.  If these winds are in opposition to the direction of an ebbing tide one can expect some bumps for part of the journey.  Rest assured though that our Captains are well versed in monitoring the localized weather, interpreting marine forecasts and predicting short term trends to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.

  • What else is there to do in Telegraph Cove?

Northern Vancouver Island could very well be one of the best kept secrets.  Recreational opportunities are abound and limited only by one’s imagination and for the wildlife enthusiast it is paradise!  For a list of Tide Rip-approved ideas and suggestions of hidden nooks and crannies to explore please visit:  what to do on Northern Vancouver Island.

19 Responses to FAQ’s

  1. Veronica Reinhardt says:

    Hi there.
    Organising a trip to Telegraph cove from the UK next summer and really want to do your trip with my family – 5 of us. When does booking open for the summer period as i know you get booked up and our dates are limited. Ideally we want July 19th. Thanks

  2. Rob sheppard says:

    By wife and I will be in the are from 2nd week of March to 1st week of April.
    Do the tours operate during this time period, is it too early to spot bears?

  3. Zjef Beelen says:

    Do you still run the bear and salmon tours? I was on such a trip in 2006 and wonder if it still exists for friends of mine plan to go to BC and I want to recomment this tour to them…

  4. Derek says:

    You bet we do! For an extensive description of our trip and all that it entails please peruse our website at grizzlycanada.com Hope to see you soon!

  5. Derek says:

    I wish we did operate during that period. In fact, I wish we operated EVERY day of the year! Then the Tide Rip Team wouldn’t have to suffer ursal withdrawal symptoms. Instead, like our furry friends, we will still be deep in hibernation.

  6. Derek says:

    Hi Veronica. Our online booking system for 2015 is up and running! For a great trip description, availability calendar and bookings please peruse our website at grizzlycanada.com

  7. John Hunt says:

    As I would be coming from the Uk can you tell me the nearest airport and how far away is that from the moorings?

  8. Lindsey says:

    The nearest airport is in Port Hardy and is about 50 minutes from Telegraph Cove.

  9. Lindsey says:

    There is an airstrip in Alert Bay as well.

  10. tracey says:

    please can you confirm if you have life jackets on board? we have booked a trip on 19th june so would like to know if we need mosquito repellant? thankyou

  11. Derek says:

    Hi Tracey.

    Yes, all of our vessels have Coast Guard-Certified keyhole life vests aboard. In fact, I do believe we have one for everyone?! As far as mosquito repellent, there is nary a blood-sucking insect in heaven! Plus, the use of insect-repellent would contravene our efforts to minimize our impact on the animals, i.e. prohibit the use of perfumes, colognes, deodorants and/ and other strong smelling scents. Hope this helps! Best, Derek

  12. anja says:

    dear all,
    we are planning our trip to the island. friends reccommended your tour. let me ask one question about the weather. do go for the grizzly tour even if the day starts with rain? we plan to stay 2 nights – if we book the tour for the 7th of june and the weather will skip the tour is there a chance to go the next day – or will the weather just be good at that time of the year? hope on your long experience to get a helpful reply. thank you and happy easter weekend. anja

  13. Derek says:

    Hi Anja. Great question. The boat leaves the dock rain or sun, snow or fog. The only thing that will prevent us from departing is wind. Wind is a safety issue. If we didn’t go out in the rain, we’d never leave the dock! It is a rain forest after all. 🙂 Hope that answers your question. We look forward to meeting you. Best, Derek

  14. Hazel & Rob Pentreath says:

    We are visiting from NZ but only have the days 1-3 September2016, but see you are fully booked. Could you let us know if you have any cancellations for one of those days,as we are disappointed to see it is fully booked.

  15. Derek says:

    Sorry to learn of your dilemma. Yes, late July through early September is our busy season and we do book up months in advance. All I can suggest is that you book with one of several companies offering similar day trips from Campbell River into Bute Inlet. I would suggest starting with Discovery Marine Safaris.


  16. Monique says:

    Hi, I have a question about the pregnancy.
    Do you not take anyone regardless how far they are in their pregnancy?
    Or is it ok to go if you’re around 4 months?
    Thanks in advance!

  17. Mike Tarr says:

    I see that most bear tours run through October. Is it the weather that is the limitation in November or the lack of tourists or the lack of bear activity?

    We’re looking at a trip to the island in November and I’m trying to identify what will be our limitations coming that late in the year. I understand that it will be more rainy in most parts of the island at that time.

    Thank you.

  18. Derek says:

    Great question Mike! In fact, it’s a combination of both. By November, we’ve bid our brown beauties farewell and goodnight for the season. The brown bruins have headed for the hills in a desperate search for a cozy den to sleep through the winter. In addition, by November Mother Nature can be a bit tempermental here on Vancouver Island to say the least. By then most tourists are dreaming of warmer climes or dropping powder chutes at Whistler! 🙂


  19. Derek says:

    Thank you for your inquiry Monique!

    Knight Inlet is an infamous body of water. At times, as gentle as a lamb but able to rear an ugly and unforgiving side in a heartbeat. Afternoon sea breeze (anabatic winds) are generated as the warm summer sun heats the land mass forcing cold sea air to rush the shoreline. This phenomenon is amplified given that Knight Inlet is a very long, very narrow body of water (read wind tunnel). If you get those winds in opposition to an ebb tide (especially that of a spring tide), watch out! It’s for that reason that we do not permit people suffering from neck and/or back problems nor expecting women. We could never consciously jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of the precious cargo a pregnant woman is carrying. Hope that answers your question. Best, Derek