With June closing a lot warmer than when it started, Campbell River residents might want to consider getting out on the water and explore the spectacular waters of the Discovery Islands.
And one of the best ways of getting out there is with the Museum at Campbell River and Discovery Marine Safaris.
Discovery Marine Safaris has partnered with the Museum at Campbell River for 14 years bringing the history of the Campbell River area and Discovery Islands to life with their “History on the water” boat tours. The 2021 tour schedule is in place. The first tour started on June 6 and will run every Sunday with the last tour on August 29. Contact the Museum at Campbell River directly at 250-287-3103 for more information or visit their website.
Campbell River is a popular destination for tourism offering a variety of exciting outdoor activities such as whale watching tours and grizzly viewing. The abundance of marine and other wildlife nearby makes it very attractive not just for international but also for local wildlife enthusiasts.
Discovery Marine Safaris was founded in 2006 choosing Campbell River as the permanent location for their fun, educational, ethical, safe, professional whale watching safaris and grizzly viewing expeditions – which they’ve done in partnership with Homalco Wildlife Tours since 2007 on their grizzly bear tours. Those grizzly bear tours have helped put the “Bears of Bute” on the global map.
Discovery Marine Safaris launched their boat at the beginning of June after an 18-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They realized they needed to get back up and running even though they still won’t have the international traveller due to restrictions on entry into Canada. As a result, they’re focusing on the “local” or provincial traveller.
Without the volume of international visitors for a second season, accounting for about 75 per cent of their business, Discovery Marine Safaris recognizes that sharing limited numbers of guests amongst more than seven Campbell River tour operators will be another tough challenge as it leaves every operator in town with a very small piece of the market pie.
“We had to come up with something that is a bit different, helps other businesses as well and most of all, is valuable and fun for our locals to recover from this straining pandemic. It wouldn’t be the first time that changes forced upon us, lead to something really good,” says founding owner Heike Garton. “And finally, we get to operate out of our new location in the Georgia Quay building which is an ideal location for our visitors with a variety of restaurants and shops nearby. AND we can finally be a part of Campbell River’s envied Campbell River collections app which was launched last year even though tourism wasn’t really happening.”
This app helps visitors to find their way around and make their experience fun and rewarding.
“In order to get the business ready for reopening, launch our boat and getting it ready for the mandatory Transport Canada inspection all contributes to the community as we have been spending money for supplies, parts and services again. Let’s hope that our new and existing products will attract islanders to come for a visit and enjoy all that Campbell River has to offer,” adds co-owner Captain Wayne Garton.
While developing some new products for June the Discovery Marine Safaris’ team was mindful of the importance of having something for everyone: yoga enthusiasts (“Samadhi on the sea”), families (Scavenger hunt), couples (for an overnight package incl. dinner, bed, breakfast and a marine wildlife tour) and as soon as we get to reunite with family/staff or friends a customized charter for groups larger than 12 people or even small weddings.
The History on the water boat tours kicked off with a tour of Sonora Island hosted by Museum at Campbell River Promotions and Membership Coordinator, Erika Anderson. Anderson shared her extensive knowledge of the history of the Islands and waterways in Campbell River’s backyard - or more accurately, it’s front yard.
Each historic boat tour is hosted by a museum tour guide providing insight into the region’s colourful history. Some include lunch or dinner stops.
Visit Discovery Marine Safaris’ website for more information: https://www.adventurewhalewatching.com/