Summary : Cast your gaze upon Muir Wood's giant redwoods, hike the hilltops of the Channel Islands, and discover Big Sur's inspirational coastline, as you voyage north to the charming coast towns of the Pacific Northwest. This is Jack Kerouac country: narrate your journey through Monterey and its famous aquarium, Big Sur and her inspirational coastline and San Francisco with her iconic bridge and fabled bohemia. Explore charming and truly authentic small towns and experience life as it used to be “on the road”.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark your vessel and meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. This evening, after settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
Your first stop will be in the Channel Islands National Park on Santa Cruz, the largest of the islands. Using a local catamaran head for Prisoners Harbor and the Central Valley, which despite its name is located on the northern shore. The island used to have a ranch, but is now partly owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy, while the pier, the beach and the eastern part of Santa Cruz Island are owned by the National Park Service. You can view the historic Prisoners Harbor area and search for the endemic Island Scrub-Jay which is generally found in nearby trees or stream-side vegetation, and is especially abundant in canyons and on north facing slopes with oaks. There will be different options for hikes from short to long, from easy to strenuous. Walk up the Navy Road for a short distance to get a nice view from above. The Pelican Bay Trail will head in a northwesterly direction. During the moderate to strenuous hike pass California lilac bushes and be on the look-out for Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, the Island Scrub Jay and the Santa Cruz Island Fox.
Your next stop promises an interesting day on California’s coast. Drive along spectacular Highway 1 to Big Sur south of Monterey. During this full day excursion see Pebble Beach with its gorgeous coastline and homes, stroll quaint Carmel-By-The-Sea, reach the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge and enjoy the area’s secluded beaches, hopefully spotting Northern elephant seals hauled out on land or swimming in the adjacent surf. Lunch will be had in Carmel.
If you prefer to do a half day excursion only, then you can choose to either see the Monterey Aquarium with a VIP behind-the-scenes experience and hear about the Aquarium’s groundbreaking research efforts with marine wildlife, or choose a more active afternoon of hiking or a 3-hour kayaking experience.
An optional excursion will be to play one round of golf at the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Today a full day tour of San Francisco and the Bay Area will take you to Muir Woods and the rolling hills of the Marin County Headlands. On the return to the city of San Francisco you will cross the Golden Gate on the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge. The highlights in San Francisco will include Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf and Haight-Ashbury.
If you prefer to see San Francisco’s highlights during the morning for an afternoon of your own, take the morning excursion to explore eclectic neighborhoods, visit Haight-Ashbury, the Golden Gate Recreation Area’s Land’s End and finish at the ferry Building Market for further independent exploration.
Once Silver Explorer leaves the berth you should be out on deck to pass Alcatraz Island and head out to sea passing under the Golden Gate Bridge shortly before sunset.
During your day at sea, let your lecturers recap the things seen and done in California and prepare you for the natural wonders and historical sites you will see in Oregon and Washington.
Your next stop on this voyage is at the mouth of the Columbia River. Have the option to see Fort Stevens, the only military installation in the continental United States to be fired upon since the War of 1812, in either an in-depth behind-the-scenes visit or doing a bike tour focusing on the historical and geographical attraction, including Battery Russel with its great panoramic views. Another half day excursion will visit the mouth of the Columbia River and from Fort Stevens will continue south to Cannon Beach for magnificent views of an iconic monolith known as Haystack Rock. Alternatively join a tour to Fort Clatsop State Park – where Lewis & Clark spent the winter of 1805-1806 and tour a re-creation of the Fort. Enjoy an interpretive walk through coastal rainforest before enjoying a beer tasting at Fort George Brewery with a special presentation by a Lewis and Clark historian.
In the evening Silver Explorer will start your cruise up the Columbia River.
Rainier is due west of Mount St. Helens and during your morning take the Lewis and Clark Bridge, crossing into Washington to explore Mt. St. Helens Volcanic Monument. This monument certainly is one of the most powerful reminders of nature’s forces, and naturalists will share stories of the drama of the May 18, 1980 eruption – the most deadly and destructive eruption in the history of the United States. You will experience how volcanoes are monitored and what Mt. St. Helens has taught. At the Johnston Ridge Observatory birds-eye views into the still-steaming crater can be had and on a hike diverse birdlife and possibly deer, elk and beavers can be observed.
Silver Explorer will sail downstream to reach the Pacific and head north. Have a leisurely breakfast, attend a lecture, seminar or workshop, and take the time on the outer decks to look for seabirds, dolphins and whales. Relax in one of the lounges, enjoy a cocktail with fellow travelers or read a book in the well-stocked library.
The culinary team will prepare and offer delicious choices using local produce.
Port Angeles is located on the southern side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca opposite Victoria and next to Olympic National Park. To make the most of the day drive to the summit of Hurricane Ridge at 1,598 meters above sea level for stunning views of the Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Interpretive hikes will be offered to spot wildlife in this unique alpine habitat. Afterwards you can either head for an old-growth forest at Lake Crescent and end the day soaking in the Sol Duc Hot Springs, or explore Dungeness Spit beach walking and getting to know about the local shellfish farms, concluding at the Finn River Farm to learn about organic farming on the peninsula with a chance to sample the local wine with light appetizers.
From Washington State’s capital Olympia head west on a full day excursion to see and hike at iconic Mount Rainier in Mount Rainier National Park. After a two-hour drive see Alpine meadows, lakes, waterfalls, old growth forests, all combined with geology and volcanology –the 14,410 foot iconic Mount Rainier is an active volcano.
If you prefer to hike a little closer to Olympia, you can choose to do so at the Mima Mounds, a National Natural Landmark some 30 miles south of Olympia. You will hike a 1.5-mile loop trail through low-growing prairie grasses and learn about the Native Americans who inhabited this area. This half-day excursion will end with a scenic walk through various habitat types out to the tidal flats of Puget Sound at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
Heading north, Silver Explorer will reach the San Juan Islands and Anacortes. Anacortes is the main city on Fidalgo Island and a starting point for a visit to the San Juan Islands. Fidalgo Island is the eastern-most island of the San Juan Archipelago and has an easy access via bridge to the mainland. Of Fidalgo’s 15.4 square miles almost half are public park and recreational lands. The 67 miles of trails throughout Anacortes and Fidalgo Island encompass Mount Erie, four fresh-water lakes, one of the last old-growth forested areas on the coast and a variety of wildlife, including Bald Eagles. This is a place to explore the northern woods at your own or you can choose between a visit Deception State Park for nature walks, continue on to Whidbey Island and Fort Casey State Park, a coast artillery post featuring two 10-inch and two 3-inch historic guns and have a look at the Admiralty Head Lighthouse with sweeping views of Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, as well as visiting Penn Cove mussel farms to sample this local delicacy or to see the wildlife-rich waters of Deception Pass in between the two islands by local boat.
If that is not enough of a workout for you, how about kayaking to see seals, porpoises, eagles and possibly orcas?
During lunch Silver Explorer will relocate a short distance and will anchor between Shaw and San Juan Island for a visit to Friday Harbor. Wander the docks in Friday Harbor during an afternoon of self-exploration and relaxation. Watch at the boats, enjoy a walk down the waterfront, and look for the sculpture of Popeye, a female harbor seal that has been a frequent visitor to Friday Harbor.
After breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Onboard accommodation; onboard meals; butler service; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of complimentary wines, champagne and spirits); all onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table; 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Adventurer, Explorer, View, Vista, and Veranda Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Owner’s Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; optional excursions; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry and spa options, fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Richard Sidey (Bald Eagle), © Daniela Plaza (orcas), © Wolfgang Kaehler (sunset), © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises