The NW Explorations’ dock was buzzing with excitement this morning as five boats readied to depart for Alaska. This nearly 3-week long journey from Bellingham, WA to Ketchikan, AK is the first leg or our annual Mother Goose Flotilla. These boats won’t be back to their home port of Bellingham until the end of August. In the meantime, they’ll have eight separate groups of guests on board experiencing all that the Inside Passage and SE Alaska have to offer. Cheers to the adventures ahead!
Countless hours from dedicated staff have been poured into these boats over the winter. All helping to ensure that the boats run smoothly and that each trip is well planned and executed. Each of our guests have made their preparations as well. Charts have been scoured, routes planned, provisions purchased, and arrangements made so that this trip can occur. With the many months of anticipation behind us, today was finally the day to cast off the lines and leave the dock!
And what a day it was! We rose early to a warm, sunny day. The 80-degree forecast was a welcome surprise for those expecting typical Pacific Northwest spring weather. After waving our farewells, we cruised out across Bellingham Bay and into the San Juan Islands. Mountain views surrounded us as we wove our way through the many islands and narrow passages of the Archipelago.
As we traveled, we saw harbor seals, harbor porpoise, bald eagles, pigeon guillemots, cormorants and even some stellar sea lions (though some of the Patos crew are still sure they saw a walrus)! These massive animals can weigh up to 2,000 lbs. and are very impressive seen in the water.
We crossed through Canadian customs in Bedwell Harbor before making our way to Ganges on Salt Spring Island for the night. The town of Ganges has a great funky, eclectic feel and we enjoyed a nice night there. Each crew spent some time provisioning in town and then most went out for dinner at the local restaurants. I think we will all sleep well after a full first day out on the water!