The Unexpected Effects of Spring Wildlife Viewing

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Mindfulness is a buzzword in the world of wellness but nowhere are you more present than when you sit silently, expectantly, as you hold your breath, as you wait for a majestic grizzly to appear; or when you become conscious of every ripple in the water, scanning the horizon for the tell-tale jet of water from an orca’s blowhole. Spending time in nature invokes the British Columbia Effect—a relaxing reset that allows your brain to take a restorative vacation.

Vancouver Island | Clint Rivers

Have you ever been relaxing in a spa and heard birdsong or the gentle flowing sound of a stream? Being surrounded by nature has a calming effect on our bodies, so much so that spas replicate these natural sounds to help keep us relaxed and mindful.

 

Environmental psychologist Stephen Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory (ART) proposes that nature relieves everyday stresses when people explore expansive spaces, and experience softly-fascinating stimuli, such as natural wonders and wildlife. In short, a few days can have a significant impact on the brain. Other researchers claim that the awe we experience in the wild can make us more generous, connected, and humble, altering our outlook on life.

Farewell Harbour Lodge | Ted Hesser

BC's Wild Side

It’s easy to be inspired by an immersive wildlife watching trip, one that puts our brains in a restorative healing state as we notice the wisps of cloud in the sky, the backdrop to eagles soaring above, or the rippling patterns in the water, evidence of hidden marine life beneath the surface. Spring is a particularly enlivening time to visit BC as diverse fauna and flora awaken to a sparkling new season.

View Grizzlies on a Day-Trip Boat Excursion

Many Vancouver Island operators run wildlife viewing boat excursions through the Broughton Archipelago as early as April and May, with some offering reduced spring rates. Get on board and watch for grizzlies waddling out of hibernation off the shores of the Great Bear Rainforest—in Klahoose First Nation’s territory at Toba Inlet with Aboriginal Journeys (out of Campbell River), at Knight Inlet with Tide Rip Grizzly Adventures (out of Telegraph Cove), or in beautiful X̱a̱ḵwika̱n (Thompson Sound) with Seawolf Adventures (out of Port McNeill or Alert Bay).

Fly into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest

Take a longer break and plan for a completely immersive experience by visiting the northeastern tip of Vancouver Island, which offers a gateway to the wilderness lodges of the Great Bear Rainforest, (a remote area of BC that is most often accessed by air or water). Experience new growth in the estuary in beautiful Glendale Cove by visiting Knight Inlet Lodge via a chartered floatplane from Campbell River, or boat-hop from Alder Bay, 15 km (9.3 mi) south of Port McNeill, for a stay nestled on Berry Island at Farewell Harbour Lodge.

Explore on a City-Based Whale Watching Tour

BC’s cities are perched on the edge of wilderness, so you don’t need to go far to reap the rejuvenating benefits of nature. Whale-watching vessels take people onto the ocean to spot orcas, humpbacks, and grey and minke whales, and along the way, they often come across seals, sea lions, porpoises, and bald eagles. Hop on a whale-watching boat from Vancouver or Victoria or take a tour from more remote locations on Vancouver Island or up the BC coast. Then watch, awestruck, as these spectacular cetaceans display their intelligence and grace.

 

The scale of nature can be breathtaking, whether we observe the sheer size of the incredible animals on a wildlife viewing adventure from Vancouver Island, or take in the diversity and richness found in the expansive parks and conservation areas near Vancouver.

 

Featured video/image: Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear, Spirit Bear Entertainment

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Aboriginal Journeys Wildlife and Adventure Tours

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Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park

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Port McNeill

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Victoria

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Tofino

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Campbell River

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