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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
7 Days | 6 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 25 — May 31, 2014

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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.

Facility amenities: Fitness centre, business centre, coin-operated washer and dryer, vending machines featuring beverages, frozen foods and toiletries. ATM on-site.

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 25 - 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.

Facility amenities: Fitness centre, business centre, coin-operated washer and dryer, vending machines featuring beverages, frozen foods and toiletries. ATM on-site.

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 26 - Lecture and Field Trip: Flora and Fauna of Coasta...
Lecture and Field Trip: Flora and Fauna of Coastal BC /Beacon Hill Park/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: 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: 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. An unforgettable 3 hours on the wild side!

Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore the many dining options Victoria has to offer.

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

Lodging: Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Three: Tuesday, May 27 - City Tour/Goldstream Park/Cowichan Bay Estuary/Ch...
City Tour/Goldstream Park/Cowichan Bay Estuary/Chemainus/North Island Wildlife Recovery Center

Breakfast: Breakfast at our 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 local restaurant.

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.

Dinner: Dinner tonight at a local Courtenay restaurant.

Evening: Time to explore Courtenay and enjoy a walk to the Estuary or Downtown.

Lodging: Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites or 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.ca/property/travelodge-courtenay

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 Free Wi-Fi

Facility amenities: Outdoor seasonal pool, free Globe & Mail newspaper in the lobby, Free Wi-Fi, 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 28 - Discovery Islands Cruise/Bear and Wildlife Viewin...
Discovery Islands Cruise/Bear and Wildlife Viewing/Quinsam River Hatchery

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

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: 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.

Lunch: Lunch onboard Vessel.

Afternoon: For thousands of years, the history, economy and culture of Canada's west coast has been inextricably linked to Pacific salmon. Fisheries and Oceans Canada's (DFO) Pacific Region Fisheries Protection Program is responsible for protecting and conserving marine, intertidal, and freshwater fisheries resources in BC and Yukon. The facility and surrounding rivers offer excellent opportunities to view salmon in their natural setting, or being handled at the hatchery.

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.ca/property/travelodge-courtenay

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 Free Wi-Fi

Facility amenities: Outdoor seasonal pool, free Globe & Mail newspaper in the lobby, Free Wi-Fi, 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 29 - Deep Bay Shellfish Research Center/IHOs Gallery a...
Deep Bay Shellfish Research Center/IHOs Gallery and Bighouse/Goose Spit

Note: The Research Center involves a marine vessel trip. Please be prepared for the weather.

Breakfast: Breakfast at our 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. Get your hands wet and play with the creatures in the touch tanks. ·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: Delicious lunch provided by the Culinary Program of Vancouver Island University.

Afternoon: This afternoon, you are given the opportunity to explore Courtenay, before we travel by coach 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 a local restaurant.

Evening: Bring Something Local Night. Enjoy locally produced, wine, cheese,smoked fish, etc., while our naturalist and group leader does a presentation called "From Sea to Cedars" , which emphasizes the role that the Pacific salmon plays on the West Coast.

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.

Facility amenities: Fitness centre, business centre, coin-operated washer and dryer, vending machines featuring beverages, frozen foods and toiletries. ATM on-site.

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 Six: Friday, May 30 - Cathedral Grove/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 a local Coombs restaurant.

Afternoon: After some free time in Coombs, we travel back through Duncan and view the Totem Poles that make Duncan famous. We arrive back in Victoria in time to rest up before our Farewell Dinner.

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. Final evening to explore beautiful Victoria.

Lodging: Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Seven: Saturday, May 31 - Independent Departures
Note: Independent Departures after breakfast. Check-out is 11 a.m. Bon Voyage!

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Independent departures from the hotel in Victoria. Participants can depart at any time as per their travel plans. Check-out is 11:00 a.m.

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 ...
6 nights of accommodations
16 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
4 Expert-led lectures
8 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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