Summary : With the towering redwoods of Eureka overhead and flanked by the fertile wooded hillsides of Astoria, this American odyssey is a west coast adventure far removed from the films. Two new destinations of Anacortez and Cypress Island offer exceptional whale watching opportunities, while the beauty of Olympia and Mt. Rainer offer soaring views and a picturesque landscapes.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, 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.
Heading south, Silver Explorer will have reached the San Juan Islands during the early morning. Friday Harbor offers two very different options: either transfer to scenic and historic Roche Harbor on the island’s north coast for a whale and wildlife-watching boat excursion looking for orca pods, Dall’s porpoises, harbor porpoises, minke and gray whales, harbor seals, Bald Eagles, and Rhinoceros Auklets; or discover San Juan’s remote wilderness with a naturalist guide –during the excursion an island winery or lavender farm will also be visited.
Lopez Island is quite rural and has a small village north of Fisherman Bay called Lopez Village. One can explore the village and the surrounding wetlands and parks, see the Museum and enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the island.
From Lopez Island to Anacortes on Fidalgo Island is just a short sail and Silver Explorer will be arriving quite early in the morning.
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.
Pending permission from the Department of Natural Resources take local boats to land at either Pelican Beach or Eagle Harbor for various hikes on Cypress Island. Despite an extensive trail system, the island receives a low amount of trail users and much of the area remains fairly pristine. Another option would be to do a Zodiac cruise around Cypress Island and Strawberry Island in Strawberry Bay.
This evening Silver Explorer will sail south deep into Puget Sound.
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, and 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.
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.
If you would like to be more active, take a long excursion to hike in the Hoh Rainforest, one of the finest examples of an intact temperate rainforest, exploring the rainforest floor and mossy trees, and to paddle through Class II water in the glacier-fed Hoh River.
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.
Heading south your lecturers will take advantage of the time spent aboard to offer talks and seminars regarding the Pacific Northwest.
When not attending a lecture, seminar or workshop, take the time on the outer decks and watch for seabirds. Relax, enjoy a cocktail or any other refreshment and see the landscape go by.
Your culinary team will prepare and offer delicious choices using local produce.
A State Historic Landmark, Eureka, with its meticulously preserved and restored Old Town, will show off its Victorian heritage and will be your starting point for various choices for a morning excursion:
For the birders a birding tour of the Arcata Marsh, Humboldt Bay NWR, and other upland and coastal areas will be of interest; if you like beach hiking, then choose either the Trinidad State Beach for a hike through woods, open bluffs past seasonal wildflowers down to the beach or head for the Samoa Dunes where several stages of dune formation can be seen during your hike.
If you think Eureka deserves to be explored a bit more, than take an Old Town walking tour, including theaters, pubs, antique shops and local coffee houses, as well as a little gem: the Sequoia Park Zoo, the oldest Californian Zoo (and one of the smallest), right next to some magnificent old-growth redwoods.
Since Eureka used to be the center of the lumber trade and redwood forests are still found all around, do some hiking on an excursion to the Redwoods National Park, the Avenue of the Giants (referring to the redwood trees Sequoia sempervivens), and Founder’s Grove with a few very big trees such as Founder’s Tree at 324.99 ft. To see the redwood trees from a different perspective choose the Trees of Mystery and the Sky Trail Gondola. This features a nearly 1/3 mile journey through the forest tree tops via the unique Sky Trail gondola ride. Nowhere else will you have the chance to get an up-close and downward perspective from the tops of redwood trees that measure 100s of feet in height.
During the afternoon Silver Explorer will continue to sail southward and your onboard Videographer will take you back in time when the voyage documentary is screened in The Theatre.
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