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BEGINS IN: VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

The Enchanted Wilderness of Coastal British Columbia — Wildlife Viewing

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Road Scholar
Program #12401RJ
8 Days | 7 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
This program remains at sea level.

Itinerary for May 26 — Jun 2, 2013

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Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: At Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites in Victoria we understand the smallest detail can make the difference between a good stay and a great stay. Our friendly and knowledgeable Guest Service Associates, Concierge and Guest Experience Leader are all here to ensure your visit with us is enjoyable. Whether travelling on business or leisure, we offer a full service hotel experience, from relaxing in our indoor heated pool or hot tub, to enjoying a perfectly grilled steak or a refreshing cocktail in Vic's Steakhouse & Bar. Explore the services and amenities we offer to make your stay comfortable, relaxing and memorable.

Contact info:
345 Quebec Street
Victoria, BC V8V 1W4 Canada
phone: 800-663-5896
web: www.harbourtowers.com

Room amenities: Complimentary high speed Internet access, working desk, Cable TV, Iron & ironing board, Hairdryer, Voicemail, Complimentary coffee station.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact hotel for current rate
A reduced room rate is available 3 days before and after the program (based on availability) for Road Scholar participants - ask the front desk for the Road Scholar rate when you contact the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, May 26 - Independent Arrivals/Orientation
Arrive To: Independent arrivals to the hotel in Victoria. Check-in after 4:00 p.m. Program Orientation in hotel meeting room starts at 4:30 p.m.

Dinner: Dinner is at 6:00 p.m. at the hotel.

Lodging: Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: At Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites in Victoria we understand the smallest detail can make the difference between a good stay and a great stay. Our friendly and knowledgeable Guest Service Associates, Concierge and Guest Experience Leader are all here to ensure your visit with us is enjoyable. Whether travelling on business or leisure, we offer a full service hotel experience, from relaxing in our indoor heated pool or hot tub, to enjoying a perfectly grilled steak or a refreshing cocktail in Vic's Steakhouse & Bar. Explore the services and amenities we offer to make your stay comfortable, relaxing and memorable.

Contact info:
345 Quebec Street
Victoria, BC V8V 1W4 Canada
phone: 800-663-5896
web: www.harbourtowers.com

Room amenities: Complimentary high speed Internet access, working desk, Cable TV, Iron & ironing board, Hairdryer, Voicemail, Complimentary coffee station.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact hotel for current rate
A reduced room rate is available 3 days before and after the program (based on availability) for Road Scholar participants - ask the front desk for the Road Scholar rate when you contact the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, May 27 - Lecture and Field Trip: Flora and Fauna of Coasta...
Lecture and Field Trip: Flora and Fauna of Coastal BC /Beacon Hill Park/Royal BC Museum

Breakfast: Breakfast at our hotel

Morning: We begin our adventure with a lecture introducing the biogeoclimatic zones of the southern coast of British Columbia and the rich diversity and abundance of native species and habitats. Learn about the identified wildlife; species & ecosystems at risk; wetlands management; commercial recreational wildlife guidelines; and wildlife viewing sites. The second portion of our lecture focuses upon "Flora and Fauna of Coastal BC." Our naturalist leader uses slides to illustrate the species, their habitats and their life cycles. Learn about tides & intertidal zones; beach types; plants and algae; marine mammals; fin fish; intertidal invertebrates & adaptations; intertidal etiquette; creatures of docks and wharves; subtidal invertebrates; seasonal changes in species/migrations; and local field guides. We embark on a Nature Walk to Beacon Hill Park where we are introduced to the "Terrestrial Fauna of Coastal BC" as our naturalist leader uses slides to illustrate the species, their habitats and life cycles. Learn about characteristics of coastal rainforests; common plants and animals, adaptations and associations; old growth vs. second growth forests; wildlife trees; indicator species, soils and habitats; and sensitive environments. Management of wildlife, fish and their habitats is the priority land use but other uses may be permitted. In these areas, wildlife has special priority. .

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Our first field trip is the Royal British Columbia Museum, a place of discovery. Through unique galleries, the Museum showcases the human and natural history of British Columbia and temporary exhibits from other countries and cultures. Authentic artifacts and specimens are displayed in highly realistic settings, giving visitors the experience of another time and place. Docent guides lead us through the three permanent galleries: First Peoples, Natural and Natural History. There is some free time after the museum for those who wish to explore the inner harbor and shops along the charming downtown streets. Be sure to search out Murchies Tea, Rogers Chocolate, Munro Books and Crown Publishing. Victoria's Chinatown is located within an easy walking distance as are the antique shops on Fort Street. City bus tickets are available for those who wish to return to the hotel on their own.

Dinner: Dinner tonight is on your own

Evening: Evening is free for a walk or to catch up on rest.

Lodging: Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: At Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites in Victoria we understand the smallest detail can make the difference between a good stay and a great stay. Our friendly and knowledgeable Guest Service Associates, Concierge and Guest Experience Leader are all here to ensure your visit with us is enjoyable. Whether travelling on business or leisure, we offer a full service hotel experience, from relaxing in our indoor heated pool or hot tub, to enjoying a perfectly grilled steak or a refreshing cocktail in Vic's Steakhouse & Bar. Explore the services and amenities we offer to make your stay comfortable, relaxing and memorable.

Contact info:
345 Quebec Street
Victoria, BC V8V 1W4 Canada
phone: 800-663-5896
web: www.harbourtowers.com

Room amenities: Complimentary high speed Internet access, working desk, Cable TV, Iron & ironing board, Hairdryer, Voicemail, Complimentary coffee station.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact hotel for current rate
A reduced room rate is available 3 days before and after the program (based on availability) for Road Scholar participants - ask the front desk for the Road Scholar rate when you contact the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, May 28 - Fishing and Life on the West Coast/ Whale and Mar...
Fishing and Life on the West Coast/ Whale and Marine Safari on the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Note: Our boat is a covered comfortable vessel with washroom facilities, complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Guests can sit outside or inside. We do not use zodiacs.

Breakfast: Breakfast at our hotel

Morning: Lecture and Slide Presentation: "Life and Fishing on the West Coast" Vivian Johnston is an ex fisher and Fisheries Officer who spent many years on the waters around Vancouver Island as a commercial fisher and later as an enforcement officer. Her stories and pictures will tickle your funny bone and provide a personal insight to life on the West Coast of British Columbia.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon we embark upon a marine wildlife viewing adventure in one of the most spectacular settings on earth, the southern coast of Vancouver Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Our leaders are conservationists and pro-active in working to improve our environment and our natural resources. They are committed to responsible wildlife viewing and abide by the guidelines established by the Whale Watch Operators Association Northwest. Our vessels are equipped with engines that meet or exceed EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards. We join a marine safari that meets the highest safety standards, yet is exhilarating and action packed. The adventure is highly educational and leaves a lasting and memorable impression of local scenic beauty and a good understanding of our marine wildlife eco-systems. View seals, sea lions and marine bird species. Skim the waves with schools of porpoise. Watch majestic eagles soar overhead and come close to nature's gentle giant and awesome predator, Orca, the Killer Whale. Experience the excitement as fins as tall as a man break the surface all around you and these magnificent creatures blow. And, as they dive beneath you, you will hear them, thanks to the Hydrophone technology onboard. An unforgettable 3 hours on the wild side!

Dinner: Dinner tonight at a local Victoria restaurant.

Evening: We return to our hotel to freshen up before dinner then those who wish, return downtown to enjoy the evening exploring the inner harbour and investigating the shops and streets of the Old City.

Lodging: Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The hotel is conveniently located next to shopping, restaurants, a movie theater and all of your favorite leisure pursuits. Nearby is a paved walkway that runs along the Courtenay River and the estuary. The section along the estuary offer excellent opportunities for viewing many species of birds and is a popular place for walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers.

Contact info:
2605 Cliffe Avenue
Courtenay, BC V9N 2L8 Canada
phone: 250-334-4491 xor18007959
web: www.travelodge.com

Room amenities: In-Room Movies, New Releases On-Demand Free In-room Coffee Voicemail Air Conditioning (in some rooms) Mini-Fridge & Microwave (in some rooms) Kitchenettes Pet Friendly Rooms Iron and Ironing board in some rooms

Facility amenities: Free Globe & Mail newspaper in the lobby High-Speed Internet Access Same day laundry service

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Four: Wednesday, May 29 - City Tour/Goldstream Park/Cowichan Bay Estuary/Ch...
City Tour/Goldstream Park/Cowichan Bay Estuary/Chemainus/Hemer Provincial Park

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning we check out of our hotel and load luggage onto our motor coach. Before leaving the city, we will take you on a city tour including Dallas Road, Oak Bay, Uplands , UVic, and Mt. Tolmie where you are presented with a fantastic 360 degree panoramic view of the city, the Islands, and surrounding waters. Our destination is Courtenay on North Vancouver Island but we have much to see and learn on route. Our morning field trip is to Goldstream Park. Our guide will take you on a short walk along the river, through old-growth fir and cedar, explaining the life cycle of the salmon which populate these waters during the spawning period. Board the coach for a beautiful scenic, drive over the Malahat Pass to the quaint fishing village of Cowichan Bay. Again, we will walk along the Cowichan River Estuary and learn about the importance these areas play in marine habitat preservation. On to Duncan and the garry oak Reserve and the Somenos Marsh Bird Sanctuary to Chemainus for lunch and a tour of the murals. In the heartland of the Cowichan Valley, Chemainus was once a mill town home to the largest completely covered sawmill in North America. The Port was one of the first developed in the Pacific Northwest. It was believed that the forestry sector would always thrive, however, during the early 1980s, the industry began to show signs of decline and many jobs were lost. In 1982, a downtown revitalization project was initiated to give a fresh new look to a tired main street in Chemainus and Karl Schutz, a local businessman, came up with the concept of painting history on the walls of Chemainus. Today, there are 38 murals painted on the downtown business walls each painting depicting a moment in the history of the community. We experience this community in a unique way from aboard a covered, open air carriage as we view the murals and learn the fascinating history of this vital and courageous group of people.

Lunch: Lunch at a Chemainus Restaurant.

Afternoon: We continue our travels north by motor coach to Cedar near Nanaimo. Here we will visit Hemer Provincial park. This is a second growth forest donated by the Hemer family to the province. We will walk through the forest and identify the different fauna and birds who call this beautiful area home. Our continued drive North will take us on the Scenic Oceanside Route through Parksville and Qualicum Beach to Courtenay where we will book into our hotel before dinner.

Dinner: Dinner at a Courtenay restaurant.

Evening: Free time to explore !

Lodging: Travelodge Courtenay

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The hotel is conveniently located next to shopping, restaurants, a movie theater and all of your favorite leisure pursuits. Nearby is a paved walkway that runs along the Courtenay River and the estuary. The section along the estuary offer excellent opportunities for viewing many species of birds and is a popular place for walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers.

Contact info:
2605 Cliffe Avenue
Courtenay, BC V9N 2L8 Canada
phone: 250-334-4491 xor18007959
web: www.travelodge.com

Room amenities: In-Room Movies, New Releases On-Demand Free In-room Coffee Voicemail Air Conditioning (in some rooms) Mini-Fridge & Microwave (in some rooms) Kitchenettes Pet Friendly Rooms Iron and Ironing board in some rooms

Facility amenities: Free Globe & Mail newspaper in the lobby High-Speed Internet Access Same day laundry service

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Thursday, May 30 - Discovery Islands Cruise/Bear and Wildlife Viewin...
Discovery Islands Cruise/Bear and Wildlife Viewing/Campbell River Museum

Note: Bring your camera, binoculars, field guides, notebooks and curiosity. Don't forget to dress warm.

Breakfast: Breakfast at our hotel .

Morning: Our focus on this outing is to see bears. Black bears are usually plentiful among the Islands and along the beaches. We also have some hidden coves and estuaries where grizzly bears are often spotted feeding on the new grasses. We set off on our day trip in comfortable, safe, and fast marine vessels for our destination, the Discovery Islands. Before our arrival at areas where we may see bears, our guides will review the requirements necessary to avoid disturbing the shy and easily disturbed animals from their food source. As the snows melt, both black and grizzly bears emerge from their hibernation dens on the mountain slopes and make their way down to feed on the spring sedge grasses in the river lowlands. At low tide the bears also feed along the inlet beaches, eating seaweed and turning over rocks to find crabs, barnacles and mussels. Early May to June 15 is the mating season. Early July is the season of newborn cubs scrambling along beside their mothers as they first explore their wilderness home.

Lunch: Deli pack lunch & snacks available on the vessel throughout the day.

Afternoon: We have planned the vessel trip carefully so that you will experience a circle route and travel to as many seasonal wildlife viewing sites as possible. No matter the season, wildlife is abundant in the wild and beautiful island archipelagos and waterways of this region. You will travel through the exciting Seymour Narrows, Surge Narrows, Hole in the Wall; past Quadra, Cortex, Stuart and Senora Islands; where the Coast Mountains glaciers and ice fields perch high atop the peaks. Wildlife viewings on route could include Orca, Humpback, dolphin, porpoise, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, pelagic birds, otter and mink. This afternoon we seek encounters with bald eagle, blue heron, white sided dolphin, Orca, Minki and Humpback whales, Dall's porpoise, seals, sea lions, mink, otter, deer and wolf to see and learn about their habits. To do this we travel through the Northern Gulf Islands and thrilling tidal rapids that make nutrients and food available for wildlife. Learn about park mandates: management roles: fish farms and shellfish culture sites. See small island communities, lodges, fish farms, shellfish aquaculture sites, logging camps and isolated private homes as we travel this enchanting route. Before heading back to Courtenay, we will explore by coach the city of Campbell River and visit the amazing Campbell River Museum, famous for its collection of First Nations Art and displays explaining early days of fishing, logging, and agriculture in the area.

Dinner: Dinner at Courtenay restaurant.

Evening: Evening is free to rest or explore the community of Courtenay.

Lodging: Travelodge Courtenay

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The hotel is conveniently located next to shopping, restaurants, a movie theater and all of your favorite leisure pursuits. Nearby is a paved walkway that runs along the Courtenay River and the estuary. The section along the estuary offer excellent opportunities for viewing many species of birds and is a popular place for walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers.

Contact info:
2605 Cliffe Avenue
Courtenay, BC V9N 2L8 Canada
phone: 250-334-4491 xor18007959
web: www.travelodge.com

Room amenities: In-Room Movies, New Releases On-Demand Free In-room Coffee Voicemail Air Conditioning (in some rooms) Mini-Fridge & Microwave (in some rooms) Kitchenettes Pet Friendly Rooms Iron and Ironing board in some rooms

Facility amenities: Free Globe & Mail newspaper in the lobby High-Speed Internet Access Same day laundry service

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Six: Friday, May 31 - Deep Bay Shellfish Research Center/I-Hos Gallery ...
Note: Bring your camera, binoculars, field guides, notebooks and curiosity. Don't forget to dress warm.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Expand your knowledge with a Marine Biologist led presentation on the history of shellfish and related industries and how they have developed to now. Learn about the role of research in marine ecosystem health and what every person can do to help. Ask questions, share in discussion, embrace the opportunity to learn. ·Board the Chetlo research vessel built by VIU students for a tour of Baynes Sound. Bring your camera, binoculars, field guides, notebooks and curiosity. Don't forget to dress warm. After the trip return to the field station for a hot bowl of soup with lunch.

Lunch: Lunch at the Deep Bay Research center

Afternoon: Your afternoon adventures begins in the Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Center. Here, a friendly and informative guide will give a brief lecture and show a short video about the famous discoveries made in the local area. Then, it's off into the exhibit galleries to see the actual specimen and reconstructed cast of an Elasmosaur found in the Puntledge river. You'll also see other vertebrate fossils, such as mosasaurs, turtles, and fish -along with the invertebrate fossils of shelled creatures that lived in the warm, shallow ocean surrounding Vancouver Island 80 million years ago. We travel by bus to the town of Comox and the First Nations Reservation to visit the traditional bighouse where feasts and potlatches are hosted. Our local native guide will discuss her experiences with her culture. We will learn about her people's relationship to their environment and the life forms that sustain them. Discover how a people developed and maintained a highly sophisticated culture that survived along this coast for thousands of years without a written language. View the art displayed in totem poles, crest carvings, paintings, and regalia. This is a unique and genuinely moving experience.

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant

Evening: Free evening in Courtenay

Lodging: Travelodge Courtenay

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: At Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites in Victoria we understand the smallest detail can make the difference between a good stay and a great stay. Our friendly and knowledgeable Guest Service Associates, Concierge and Guest Experience Leader are all here to ensure your visit with us is enjoyable. Whether travelling on business or leisure, we offer a full service hotel experience, from relaxing in our indoor heated pool or hot tub, to enjoying a perfectly grilled steak or a refreshing cocktail in Vic's Steakhouse & Bar. Explore the services and amenities we offer to make your stay comfortable, relaxing and memorable.

Contact info:
345 Quebec Street
Victoria, BC V8V 1W4 Canada
phone: 800-663-5896
web: www.harbourtowers.com

Room amenities: Complimentary high speed Internet access, working desk, Cable TV, Iron & ironing board, Hairdryer, Voicemail, Complimentary coffee station.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact hotel for current rate
A reduced room rate is available 3 days before and after the program (based on availability) for Road Scholar participants - ask the front desk for the Road Scholar rate when you contact the hotel.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Seven: Saturday, June 01 - Cathedral Grove/North Island Wildlife Recovery Ce...
Cathedral Grove/North Island Wildlife Recovery Center/Coombs/Duncan: City of Totems

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Our motor coach awaits to return us to Victoria. We check out, load our luggage and we are off. Our first field trip is Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest. Cathedral Grove, home to a wide variety of plant species and wildlife, stretches aver 136,00 hectares of forestland consisting of Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Broadleaf Maple and Balsam Fir. Douglas Fir is the dominating species in this region with some trees estimated to be 800 years old and with the majority ranging from 300-400 years old. Learn about old-growth forests and the sizes, species, composition age class structure. Learn about the wide variation of trees and spacing the accumulation of large dead standing and fallen trees; multiple canopy layers; canopy lapses and under story patchiness; as well as elements of decay such as broken or deformed tops or trunks and root decay. The tops of the trees form a cathedral-like ceiling high above, while the thick tree trunks rise from the floor of delicate fern. Then we're off to Coombs, a farm market and Village where goats live on the roof of the moss covered store. This market sells everything imaginable. After lunch we will give you some free time to explore.

Lunch: Lunch at Coombs.

Afternoon: We continue our travels by motor coach to Errington and visit the Wildlife Recover Station & Educational Centre. This not for profit, volunteer facility receives injured wildlife from all over Vancouver Island and provides the necessary care and medical attention to heal before the creature is returned to the wild. Birds and animals which would be unable to survive in the wild are kept at the Educational Centre for the rest of their lives. We are able to view these animals closely and learn of their habitats, food requirements and physical features. The centre is beautifully designed and offers a wonderful introduction to Vancouver Island's fauna. Next, we travel back through Duncan and view the Totem Poles that make Duncan famous.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Evening: This evening session is program wrap up. Your leader will help with the last minute travel arrangements and early breakfasts. Evaluation forms are turned in.

Lodging: Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eight: Sunday, June 02 - Independent Departures
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Independent Departures after breakfast. Check-out is 11 a.m. Bon Voyage!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
7 nights of accommodations
19 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
9 Field trips

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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