Explore BC

Follow four travel bloggers—two teams of two—on a month-long adventure as they Explore BC and its many unique experiences.

Team Orca consists of Brendan and Rob, hailing from Rocky Mountain House and Ottawa, respectively. Both are seasoned world travellers and this will be the first time they’ll be meeting each other. Team Eagle is Dina and Ryan, a husband-and-wife duo from London, Ontario, who have visited more than 40 countries together since 2009, yet have never visited British Columbia.

Over the course of four weeks this summer, these four bloggers will attempt to experience much of what BC has to offer: everything from white-water rafting and whale watching to gliding and rock climbing; from winery tours and brewery tours to historic museums and aboriginal experiences. Be sure to follow the adventure on our Facebook page and have your say in where they go and what they do!

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18 posts tagged Team Orca

In Burns Lake we were taken on an activity that was right up our alley.  We were hauled up a hill and guided down an amazing downhill mountain bike course.  Although I’m sure we could have taken it easy, that’s not really our style.  We flew down the mountain, ripping around the berms and popping air over any sort of bump we encountered.

Massive props are due to the local initiatives in Burns Lake for setting up something like this.  The trails are world class and, best of all, they are all open to the public free of charge.  If you’re into adventure sport, be sure you check out the downhill mountain biking possibilities in Burns Lake.

Photos and Caption by Brendan van Son - Team Orca - http://www.brendansadventures.com

The beautiful thing about the world is that you never know when it’s going to surprise you.  I was in Burns Lake enjoying a quiet evening… I decided to go for a little stroll with my camera and take some night photos.  Then, out of nowhere, the sky burst to life with an amazing light show.  It was like seeing something from a cartoon it was so impressive.  The green, blues and reds just seemed to dance through the sky.  I have seen the northern lights before, but I have never seen them so powerfully!

Photo and caption by Brendan van Son - Team Orca - http://www.brendansadventures.com

The other day Rob and I hit the river for some fishing out of Terrace, BC.  Even myself, the self-proclaimed worst fisherman in the world, had some luck on the waters and snagged two Chinook Salmon.  Rob, a much better angler than myself, snagged both a Chinook and a Chum.  He also had the fight of his life with what must have been about a forty pound Chinook. Unfortunately, the Chinook was a sneaky one and slipped away.

Even if we didn’t catch anything on the waters the day would have been amazing.  We had great weather, beautiful scenery, and our guide Greg from Nicholas Dean was awesome!!!

Photos and caption by Brendan van Son - Team Orca

From Prince Rupert, we caught a float plane to the Khutzeymateen grizzly bear sanctuary.  It was definitely the part of our trip that I had been most looking forward to.  As a photographer, my favourite subject has always been wildlife.  So to be able to get so close to some wild Grizzly bears was absolutely incredible.

Being so close to such powerful animals is a humbling and exciting experience.  If you are ever in the area, be sure that you take in this activity.  It is one of the truly bucket list in this world.  

Photos and Caption by Brendan van Son - Team Orca - http://www.brendansadventures.com

Haida Gwaii Day 1

Haida Gwaii has always been on my bucket list.  I just never thought that I would get there so soon.  We recently had the opportunity to visit the Queen Charlotte Islands, and I was not disappointed.  The vast natural wonders of Haida Gwaii are seriously impressive, and quite humbling.

On day one of our quick two day visit we took a boat tour down around Louise Island, enjoying some nice little stops along the way.  Here are some photo examples.

Photos and caption by Brendan van Son - Team Orca - http://www.brendansadventures.com 

A humpback whale's fluke A closer look Beautiful British Columbia scenery

Perhaps the only thing more incredible than watching a whale’s fluke pop out of the water before it dives into the ocean is seeing it within the gorgeous Vancouver Island scenery.  Rob and I headed into the waters off of the British Columbia coast from Telegraph Cove with Stubbs Island Whale Watching and were lucky enough to follow around a really active humpback whale.  I managed to get quite of few snaps of the scene.

Photo and caption by Brendan van Son - Http://www.brendansadventures.com

On the recommendation of a local, I headed up to Elk Falls just outside of Campbell River.  The waters above the falls were rushing at an impressive pace which made for great photos, but a little bit of dangerous work.  Anyone who thinks photography is not a dangerous hobby needs to hang out with me for a couple days.  The truth is, that to get a great shot you sometimes need to stick your neck out a bit.  However, there is a difference between taking a small risk and being silly.  These waters could have easily swept me away, but I always remained aware of my surroundings and never took went too far out there.  The results?  Well, I think the photos speak for themselves. 

Today Rob and I went on a historical mail run from Campbell River to some of the more remote nearby islands. The trip with Corilair was absolutely stunning and we enjoyed the company of the pilot Mike. If you’re in the area, we can’t recommend this highly enough. Such a great tour!

Photo and caption by Brendan van Son - http://www.brendansadventures.com

When the fog hangs low in the forests of BC there is a mystic, dreamy look that results.  While the sun is hanging low, the rain forest feels a lot like a scene in a fairy tale.  The beauty of the scene is brought life as the variety of colours dance on the eye’s palate.  Moments like this are amazing; you can feel so far away everything, but so close and in touch with the world.

This image was taken in Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park near Qualicum Beach, British Columbia.

Photo and Caption by Brendan van Son - http://www.brendansadventures.com of #TeamOrca 

As we cruised the highway between Tofino and Port Alberni, I pointed to the road and said something along the lines of “that cat looks like a little bear” to Rob.  Obviously, I was a little bit embarrassed when I realized seconds later that it was a little bear.  In fact, just 10m away was what was either a normal sized bear or a massive cat.  

Anyways, we pulled along the bear and her cub for a couple minutes in complete peace.  I snapped about 50 photos including this one, and then they marched off into the forest unassumingly.  

I’ve seen more than a hundred bears in my life in Canada, but it is still just as thrilling as ever spotting a cub like this little guy/girl.

Photo and caption by Brendan van Son of http://www.brendansadventures.com #TeamOrca 

How did you spend Canada Day?  We spent part of it in the beer gardens in Tofino with some friendly locals! 

#TeamOrca - http://www.brendansadventures.com

The waves crash abruptly into the rocks as my feet dance to avoid the cool chill of the Pacific.  The sea sways rhythmically to the natural beat of the West Coast of British Columbia and as the sun sets off in the distance I look out at the world and think, “Wow, I am from the most beautiful country in the world!”

Happy Canada Day from Rob and Brendan from #TeamOrca

Photo and caption by Brendan van Son - http://www.brendansadventures.com

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an outdoors/adventure type of guy.  However, when it comes to hiking, I think I found the perfect trail… and it doesn’t involve a whole lot of exercise.  

In Nanaimo, British Columbia the famous food is a dessert bar called the Nanaimo Bar.  In town, you can pick up a map and wander around town testing out the variations of the treat.  The snack isn’t only available in food form either; you can pick up a Nanaimo Bar latte or have a Nanaimo Bar martini as well.  Above, I have included an image of a deep fried Nanaimo Bar from a place in town called Pirate Chips.

By Brendan van Son of Team Orce - http://www.brendansadventures.com 

As the pale blue sky is chased away by a deeper shade, and the stars and moon struggle to find their place among the air, a sense of calm settles over Victoria’s Inner Harbour.  A crisp cool chill races from the shore and dances along the fresh air carrying with it the excitement of the night.  I walk along a nearly empty street where the sounds of pub and street music share the same evening tune.  In the distance, a dazzling palate of colours radiates through the dusk blue sky and begs for a photo.  The Empress Hotel, in all her glory, stands strikingly proud in all photos taken of her and deeply entrenched in the history of this great city.

Photo and Caption by Brendan van Son of #ExploreBC Team Orca - Visit http://www.brendansadventures.com/vancouver-victoria-photos/ for more photos of Victoria

Vancouver Island is a dream for gardeners.  Its soils are are so rich I’m sure one could plant a nail and be returned a rail road spike.  

North of the city of Victoria, Butchart Gardens is a maze of beauty, around each corner a new spectacle of blooms and a new gathering of flowers.  Regardless of whether you’re a gardener or not, you can’t help but be left in awe of this place.  The care and love that goes into these gardens can be appreciated by everyone, and there are rarely a guest that walks away from Butchart feeling unrewarded by their experience.

Posted by #TeamOrca member Brendan van Son - http://www.brendansadventures.com

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