There’s another world out on the water beyond the shores of Port Alice in Neroutsos Inlet.
A world where sea otters, arguably one of the world’s cutest animals, spend their days floating and playing in the calm water surrounded by breath-taking scenery.
George Fraser’s new business, Sea Otter Eco Tours, offers people the opportunity to spot sea otters in their natural habitat while exploring the wonders and history of Neroutsos Inlet along the way.
“We saw sea otters, seals, eagles, some deer, and some history,” said Fraser, at the end of a tour of the inlet with the North Island Gazette on July 10. “We saw where the old village was at the mouth of the Koprino River, and we saw Pamphlet Cove where there used to be a hotel that was busy with many people at the turn of the century, but now it’s just a beautiful bay.”
Fraser also takes tourists around to explore the many sheltered bays and small islands in the area, where they can the enjoy the scenery and view wildlife that happens to be out and about, whether it’s eagles soaring up above, or seals laying out on the rocks, or even deer munching vegetation on a remote beach.
While the wildlife is abundant and the scenery is gorgeous, the highlight of the tour is undoubtedly seeing the sea otters. Once hunted to extinction on BC’s Coast, sea otters were reintroduced in the 1960s and have since rebounded being particularly prevalent in places like Port Alice. “It was a beautiful day,” said Fraser of the July 10 tour. “There were lots of sea otters, I don’t know exactly how many, but I’d say at least a hundred.”
Sea otters can be spotted throughout the inlet, floating together in large groups called “rafts” or playfully diving in the water on their own. Fraser said that tourists are often overwhelmed by how many sea otters there are to see, and even “local people that don’t get out on the water, don’t realize they are there.”
Fraser said he would like Port Alice to be known as the sea otter capital of Canada.
“They have sea otters in Kyuquote and those kinds of places, but it’s a long boat trip and you have to say overnight,” said Fraser. “It’s easy to get here. We have the accommodation, and hopefully, as more and more people start coming we might get a hotel again.”
He also said he thinks the tourism industry would bring more bodies into Port Alice and help local businesses. “The tourism industry is huge,” said Fraser, adding, “There are baby boomers retiring every week, so if one per cent decided they wanted to go look for a sea otter or do anything up here we would get a lot of people – It can’t do anything but help.”
Fraser said a visit to Vancouver Island is the trip of a lifetime for a lot of tourists, and they want to see as much as possible, but he’s even getting interest from people who happen to be in the area and just want to come for a day trip.
Sea Otter Eco Tours offers tourists the opportunity to experience and explore the beauty of Neroutsos Inlet and Port Alice while having a look at all of the wildlife that calls it home.
For more information on the tours in Port Alice, please visit seaotterecotours.com