This expert-led expedition goes way beyond any ordinary whale watch tour. Kayak with humpbacks and orcas in their natural habitat. Then live and work at a remote biological field station.
|June 24 - July 15||HS||22 days||$6,180||Open|
|July 20 - August 10||HS||22 days||$6,180||Open|
Broadreach combines your thirst for fun and adventure with tangible skill development, real-world educational opportunities and a genuine commitment to service. While on program, you’ll earn documented community service hours and even college credits. It’s what we call “Earn & Learn,” and it’s what you’ll take home as evidence of your many accomplishments. British Columbia Marine Mammal Studies offers 3 college credits through Lesley University. Additionally, students earn 5 hours of documented community service.
This course is a survey of the natural history, biology, behavior, threats and conservation of marine mammals in British Columbia. Coursework will consist of both academic discussions and field work designed to introduce students to the methods and equipment that marine mammal researchers commonly use. Students will be working and studying at a field research station and serving as naturalists-in-training while kayaking the Deer Group Island searching for orcas.
Through service, gain a more meaningful connection to the cultures and communities you explore while taking an active role to address important global issues at the local level. While in British Columbia, work with the Whale Interpretive Center, a leading field research station and a local non-profit on environmental and conservation projects. The projects give you the opportunity to use the methods learned in class to make real-life scientific contributions.
Spend your first evening getting to know each other in Vancouver before transferring to Nanaimo the next day to suit up in your snorkel gear and get up close and personal with the harbor seals of Snake Island. Next, we make our way to Telegraph Cove, a historic fishing village and the heart of Vancouver Island’s whale watching industry. We learn from local naturalists and researchers as we head out on whale watching boats to observe orcas, humpbacks and other marine mammals up close. We are now official naturalists-in-training and must act accordingly. Find your way to the Whale Interpretive Center (WIC) in Telegraph Cove to do meaningful conservation work that will ultimately help increase public awareness of the needs of these incredible creatures and protect their habitats for years to come. If you haven’t participated in bone cleaning or seen the decomposition of a whale specimen, as it ultimately becomes a skeleton, get ready. Our new found knowledge of marine mammals is put to use on a remote island kayak adventure in the Johnstone Strait. Watch for spyhopping orcas. Marvel as your guides lift sea urchins to the surface for you to examine and introduce you to the taste of fresh kelp. Days are spent rattling off species we can now identify with ease.
Settle in at our home for the next few days, a leading field research station nestled in a cove of lush green pines and firs. Here we begin our formal studies of marine mammals with resident faculty and researchers. In the classroom and labs, we learn about oceanography and the ecology of the whales, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins and seals found on Canada’s Pacific coast. In the field and on the water, we witness these magnificent creatures up close alongside marine mammal scientists, getting familiar with the equipment and methods that these researchers use. We conduct our own field studies, learning the significance of each species in the ecosystems they inhabit. Do plankton tows in Broughton Archipelago, comb tide pools, gather data and run marine mammal surveys aboard the Buffer Zone Too. All this hands-on work leads to a deep understanding of these local marine mammal populations and provides you with all the resources needed to conduct your very own research project.
Make your way to Tofino, a small town on the coast where you’ll travel by boat to your second local research station across the Clayoquot Sound. Spend time learning from the station’s professional research and education coordinators about the projects they currently are working on. Head out for grey whale monitoring and participate in plankton tows. Learn about marine mammals’ social structure, mating systems and communication before heading back to the mainland and transferring down to Bamfield, a quiet town nestled beside the Deer Group Islands.
Set off on a challenging sea kayaking expedition to one of the world’s most untouched settings, the rugged Deer Island Group in Barkley Sound. By day, survey the natural history, biology, behavior and threats to the marine mammals that converge in this area. Camp on remote islands at night. Everything you’ve learned about marine mammals comes to life as we spot curious seals, keeping our eyes peeled for breaching whales, schools of Pacific white-sided dolphins and orcas. Make your way back to Vancouver for your final night where, instead of a typical hotel, you’ll be lulled to sleep by beluga whales at the local aquarium. These final days are centered on helping us carry home the philosophy that it’s possible to study the wild without interfering with it. It’s a philosophy we carry with us long after the trip ends.
This was the most amazing, incredible experience and I will treasure every second for many years to come. I’ve made friends from all over the place and learned so much. From whale watching to kayaking to camping in the most beautiful place, every day was an adventure. I definitely didn’t want to leave! If you like marine mammals and being outside, British Columbia is the place to be- and this program is the absolute best way to experience it!
My daughter departed for her trip excited but apprehensive. She came back with a new self confidence and a wonderful set of friends she refers to as her “Broadreach family”. She loved the outdoors experience and enjoyed sharing her knowledge of camping and boating. She formed an amazing bond with the students in her program. The staff was caring and very competent, and the program seemed very safe. I would highly recommend this program if your child is ready to take an adventure and spread their wings.
Some may say spending 3 weeks in the middle of nowhere, stranded in the Canadian wilderness, can be a challenge. No wifi, no electronics, no civilization. Quite the contrary. All you need to have a good time is good friends, positive vibes, and an appreciation for the magnificent world we inhabit. Fortunately, I gained all those and so much more on this incredible journey. I will never forget the things I learned (both academic and life lessons) and the amazing things I’ve seen.
This trip was the perfect means for my daughter to confirm that marine biology is what she really wants to study when she goes to college in two years and has potentially saved our family thousands of tuition dollars spent on the wrong school or wrong curriculum.
If you are interested in marine mammals or even animals in general, then this is the trip for you. I have never seen so many Pacific white-sided dolphins and humpbacks at once! British Columbia is gorgeous and we created memories while kayaking that I will never forget. The lectures/academics were great and should not stop you from doing this trip. We had amazing instructors and I have made so many new friends from all over the world.
This is the third straight year our daughter has gone on a Broadreach trip, and the trips get better each year. Each one has been unique with new deep friendships forged, an amazing learning experience with appreciation for marine life, and a daughter who returned dramatically more self-confident, poised, capable and independent each time. And very happy.
The Marine Mammal Adventure program my daughter went on was a first class experience with wonderful leaders and an experience she will never forget. “One of the best things I have ever done” is what my daughter said upon returning from her trip.
This experience is something I will always remember! I made great friends and we became really close. The camping and out of doors definitely makes you closer to everyone else on the trip. Definitely worth the money! One of the best experiences I’ve had! If you are thinking about going on this trip, definitely go!
Looking back at all my summers on the water, this trip tipped the scale with best ever marine mammal sightings. We seemed to always be in the right place at the right time to see breaching whales or bow riding porpoises.
This trip was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Seeing killer whales, dolphins, seals, and hundreds of sea lions was an incredible sight. Kayaking to the sounds of bald eagles chirping was amazing. I learned so much about marine mammals that I will be sure to bring back home with me.
This trip was an unforgettable experience. It has allowed me to participate in new activities, new friendships, see different parts of Canada and expand my knowledge of marine mammals. Aside from the academics, I also had the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons like how to build a proper fire. Overall, I am grateful that I received this opportunity to participate on this program
This whole trip has been an amazing experience! I’ve learned so much and have found some new friendships and all the adventures have been amazing. Seeing orcas for the first time, both kayaking trips, and the beautiful sunsets we experienced at Salmon Coast Field Station were amazing. Overall, this experience was amazing and I hope I can do a program like this again.
I won’t look at things in my life the same way again. My Broadreach experience has made me appreciate all the things I have, and I won’t take things for granted. I had the time of my life reconnecting with nature and making good friends at the same time.
This trip has been the most exciting, frightening, breath-taking, beautiful, heart-throbbing, insane, life-changing, fun, magical, and crazy experience of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Kirsten loved the trip. It was a very different experience from her Belize trip with Broadreach the year before, which she also loved. They were just different, in her words. Kirsten learned a lot of camping and kayaking skills on the Vancouver trip, found the academics a bit more stringent (so mom was happy!), and delighted in the fact that the group got very close to each other: “bonded” as she describes. This was due in part to the conditions, the amount of down time, and the counselors’ efforts. Kirsten learned tons about the northern habitat and was happy to see so many forms of mammals, even more than in Belize. The trip helped her ferment her desire to continue marine studies, and the Vancouver experience made her realize it does not have to be in a southern location! The only complaint was the camp food and the second guided experience (not Broadreach) was disorganized.
Lia had very positive things to say about the trip. She learned a great deal. She enjoyed the activities (kayaking, hiking, rafting, wildlife watching). The group was very cohesive and bonded well. All good.