Summary : Journey by classic wooden boat and sea kayak into the magnificent isles of the Pacific Northwest: the San Juan Islands and Gulf Islands. Visit the delightful historic town of Friday Harbor before you board the Catalyst for an adventure of endless discoveries: Watch bald eagles soar, observe marine mammals and orca whales feeding in the plankton-rich waters, hike through mossy forests, and simply relax on deck with friendly conversation over a cup of hot chocolate.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking
$999,999,999 to $0
Board the Catalyst at Noon at Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. After a brief boat orientation, cruise south down San Juan Channel and the wind-swept coast of Lopez Island watching for spotted harbor seals, steller sea lions and seabirds on the numerous wildlife refuges. Three resident pods of Orca whales feed on salmon in these plankton-rich waters on autumn runs of Coho salmon. Enjoy a kayak orientation and nature hike on seaside trails rimmed with Douglas fir, Western Red Cedar and copper-barked Madrona trees on James Island Marine Park while you keep an alert eye for deer, bald eagles, raccoons, seals, and otters. Alpenglow over Mount Komo Kulshan’s snowy 10,107-foot summit complements your welcome aboard dinner in a quiet cove.
One of the most stunning panoramic views of the San Juan Islands is along the west side of San Juan Island. You will travel along the strait passing by Lopez and San Juan, where the orcas, porpoise and rafts of sea birds feed and anchor in Garrison Bay. Here is the site of the former British Army encampment dating to the mid-1800’s. Now a National Historic Monument the bay boasts miles of trails and shorelines that invite you to explore on foot or by kayak.
Heading out of Garrison, you pass by Speiden Island, where you will spot exotic animals grazing on its steep slopes. Anchor in Reid Harbor at Stuart Island. Most of Stuart is privately owned, but a network of county maintained dirt roads provide access to most of the island. The view from Turn Point Light is breathtaking as freighters and private yachts turn the “corner” into Boundary Pass. Orca whales frequently hug the southwest shore as they seek the shoals of salmon that pass through these waters on their way to their natal creeks, mostly tributaries of the mighty Fraser River. Here you will hike a few trails and paddle either in the bay or around part of the island.
Today is devoted to exploring Sucia Island, and her off-lying satellites. You may kayak to Fossil Cove and enjoy a picnic lunch; and hike beneath over-arching madronas from Shallow Cove to Ewing Point. Sucia has a fascinating history, both geological and cultural. Take the time to get beneath the surface of this beautiful place.
Matia Island, along with Sucia, are the northern most members of the San Juan archipelago. Matia has been the home to hermits and smugglers. With its outlying seal haul-out islets, unique geological and topographical features, you could spend several days here and not yet have seen it all. After a day of paddle and foot borne wandering, return to “Catalyst” for another satisfying dinner.
Up anchor and begin heading back to your home port of Friday Harbor. As you travel south down President’s Channel, keep watch for minke whales, harbor seals and pacific whiteside porpoises. Arrive at Friday Harbor in time to catch an early afternoon ferry back to the mainland.
While this is a planned itinerary, each trip differs slightly depending upon the time of the tidal currents, the weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities, and the wishes of the passengers.
Accommodations aboard the Catalyst; all meals onboard ship; wine and beer; excursions; entrance fees; leadership of crew and local guides; boots; kayaking equipment; and permits, unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary.
The cost of air flights, unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary; airport taxes; passports; visas; immunizations; insurance of any kind; laundry; excess baggage; items of a personal nature; discretionary gratuities; medical costs; costs of hospitalization; additional expenses arising from the delay or extension of a trip due to weather, political disputes, illness, failure of transportation, or other causes beyond control.