The striking scenic beauty of the Pacific Northwest Â– misty, moody, lush and verdant Â– has long been the defining natural attraction of this region. Here, mountains blanketed in dense forests, their peaks lost under snow and ice and often shrouded in clouds, rise abruptly. A maze of winding waterways and powerful ocean currents meet wild, rocky shorelines where black bears forage and bald eagles nest. Seals, sea lions, whales and porpoise inhabit these waters and dozens of bird species make their homes on rocky cliffs. There are few places in the world that hold so much natural beauty in such concentration. We welcome you on a journey that follows the paths of glaciers, the trade routes of Native Americans and explorers, and the migrations of whales here in the Pacific Northwest.
Day 1: Arrive Friday Harbor, Washington / Embarkation
Upon arrival in Friday Harbor youÂ’ll be met and transferred to your yacht where your Captain and crew will greet you with hors dÂ’oeuvres and champagne. As soon as everyone is aboard, the ship will depart, cruising through the northern islands of the San Juan archipelago, home to orca whales, seals, sea lions, and a wealth of bird life. After a sumptuous dinner your Expedition Leader will provide an orientation to the journey. You will anchor tonight at Reid Harbor on Stuart Island.
Day 2: Victoria, British Columbia & Butchart Gardens
After breakfast, take some time to explore Victoria on your own, visit the Royal British Columbia Museum, and then enjoy a high tea luncheon at the historic and elegant Empress Hotel. From there you'll tour the Butchart Gardens before reboarding the yacht. Tonight you'll anchor in a serene bay in the Canadian Gulf Islands.
Day 3: Petroglyphs & the Harmony Islands
Not far from your anchorage youÂ’ll find some of the best petroglyphs in British Columbia. Degnen Bay is widely known for impressive carvings of animals and abstract designs. The stories behind these petroglyphs have largely been lost, but much work has been done by the Cowichan Nation to trace cultural links to their own history on the island. After viewing the petroglyphs and enjoying some time ashore, youÂ’ll cruise through Dodd Narrows or Gabriola Passage. Your cruising day ends at the Harmony Islands in Hotham Sound. Those who have a zest for adventure may join the crew for a truly natural shower at Friel Lake Falls, a cascade that plummets 1,400 feet before relinquishing its water in a voluminous, sea level spray. A unique experience? By all means! ThatÂ’s what you came for!
Day 4: Coastal Fjords & Princess Louisa Inlet
"Further up and further in!Â” (A quote taken from C.S. LewisÂ’ Chronicles of Narnia series), is the most appropriate description of your course through Jervis Inlet and QueenÂ’s Reach today. You will trace the path of a now vanished glacier, one that reached heights over 5,000 feet thick during the last glacial epoch. These fjords snake through vertical granite mountains, offering stunning vistas at every bend. YouÂ’ll spend a full day winding into the core of the Coast Range, stopping to feel the mist of waterfalls bounding down sheer rock faces. Your destination is Princess Louisa Inlet, considered one of the ten most beautiful locations on earth by Conde Nast magazine. Princess Louisa Inlet, only half a mile wide but walled in by 5,000-foot mountains and stunning in its own right, culminates at the tremendous Chatterbox Falls. You'll anchor in the inlet and explore on foot and by kayak today.
Day 5: Exploring Princess Louisa Inlet
Rising early today will provide you with a chance to see and feel the serene beauty of Princess Louisa Inlet. Whether you choose to hike ashore, paddle a kayak out on the still waters or enjoy the scenery with a cup of coffee on the fly bridge, you will be surrounded by the abounding wilderness and a calming sense of solitude. Later this afternoon you will visit Malibu Club, which is located at the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet. Malibu Club, a large resort-turned-camp, was built in the 1950Â’s as a Hollywood getaway for movie stars and the very wealthy. When it proved too much of a financial burden on the builder, the property was put up for sale and so passed into the hands of Jim Rayburn, founder of the Christian outreach program Young Life. Young Life has operated Malibu Club as a summer camp for high school kids from the US and Canada ever since. You will depart Princess Louisa Inlet this afternoon and make your way to tonightÂ’s anchorage near a waterfall located in Green Bay.
Day 6: Sandy Beaches & Vancouver, British Columbia
Today takes you back into open seascapes and a myriad of quiet islands as you cruise toward Buccaneer Bay. This bay lies between two remarkably different islands, South and North Thormanby Islands. Though nearly connected by a small sand spit, the south island consists of volcanic bedrock and broken areas of growth, while the north island Â– utterly different Â– is made up of fine sand and other glacially deposited materials such as boulders. The forest thrives here. Geologically speaking, this is one of the most interesting sites on the coast, but more importantly these islands provide a lovely anchorage with broad, sandy beaches nearby. YouÂ’ll go beach combing and walking with your Expedition Leader, learning about these different environments as you go. This afternoon you will weigh anchor and cruise south to the metropolis of Vancouver, B.C. You will stay dockside in the heart of the city tonight. The staff can make arrangements for the theater or a movie in Vancouver this evening for those who wish.
Day 7: Roche Harbor, Jones Island & Farewell dinner
You will return to the USA today, your course set for the San Juan Islands. The morning will be spent cruising among the open waters and islands of the Pacific Northwest, and youÂ’ll keep an eye out for orcas and other sea life as you go. After lunch youÂ’ll arrive at the tiny port (better described as a nook) of Roche Harbor, clearing customs upon arrival. Once ashore, youÂ’ll walk to several historic sites, including the grand Hotel de Haro, a beautiful resort hotel that was once a HudsonÂ’s Bay Company trading post and later hosted presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Howard Taft. You will also visit the final resting place of early industrial tycoon John McMillin, founder of the largest lime-producing outfit west of the Mississippi in the early 1900Â’s. His kilns, railroad tracks and mausoleum are testaments to his strong presence here on the island and in Washington State. YouÂ’ll have some time to simply wander on your own around the hotel grounds and through the colorful, single store in this lovely hidden alcove. Later this afternoon youÂ’ll take a walk across Jones Island. Wild deer roam the island, and itÂ’s reported that they frequent a homesteaderÂ’s long-abandoned fruit orchard at the southern end of the island. Tonight you will enjoy a festive farewell dinner while nestled in a picturesque cove.
Day 8: Friday Harbor / Disembarkation
Rise early today for morning kayaking along the shores of Jones Island before you get underway for Friday Harbor. YouÂ’ll arrive just after a hearty breakfast and bid you farewell as you leave to make your connections home.