ALASKA FLOTILLA ‘20 | NW Explorations
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LEG 1: MAY 14-JUNE 8, 2020 – UNAVAILABLE Bellingham, WA to Ketchikan, AK

Pre-board & Check-out after 1pm Thursday, May 14
Provision & Orientation: 3pm Friday, May 15
Depart Bellingham: 8am Saturday, May 16
Disembark by 12pm Monday, June 8

At over 3-weeks long, this leg allows you to truly experience cruising. By the end of the trip, you will be completely in tune with your vessel and your loved ones, living by the rhythms of the tides. This trip takes you on our “West side of Vancouver Island” route. Spend the first two weeks of the trip gunk holing up the West coast of Vancouver Island before rejoining the Inside passage route through northern British Columbia and all the way up to Ketchikan, Alaska. A few of our cruising days will have exposure to the Pacific Ocean; however, our flexible itinerary allows us to make such crossings on the calmest days. This is our skipper's favorite itinerary not just because of the incredible scenery and the lack of boat traffic, but also because of the visits to unique, thriving communities living on the edge of the Pacific. Enjoy this wild, rarely-experienced cruising ground with the comfort and support of our intimate flotilla.

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LEG 2: JUNE 10 – JUNE 21, 2020 – UNAVAILABLE Ketchikan, AK to Petersburg, AK

Wednesday, June 10 – Sunday, June 21
Board & Check-out: 9am Wednesday, June 10
Provision & Orientation: 6pm Wednesday, June 10
Depart Ketchikan: 9am Thursday, June 11
Disembark by 12pm Sunday, June 21

This leg departs from the historic town of Ketchikan. Learn how Ketchikan was established as the “Salmon Capital of the World” as well as the beginning of the last frontier! Along this trip, you’ll explore quintessential small Alaskan towns, like Wrangell and Petersburg, spot plenty of wildlife, like humpback whales and brown bears, and take in the stunning shorelines of the Alaskan wilderness from the deck of your luxury yacht.

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LEG 3: JUNE 23 – JULY 4, 2020 – UNAVAILABLE Petersburg, AK to Sitka, AK

Tuesday, June 23 – Saturday, July 4
Board & Check-out: 9am Tuesday, June 23
Provision & Orientation: 6pm Tuesday, June 23
Depart Petersburg: 9am Wednesday, June 24
Disembark by 12pm Saturday, July 4

Join us aboard our voyage from Petersburg, aka little Norway, to Sitka, the former Russian capital of Alaska. You’ll have the opportunity to go where the cruise ships cannot and will see the natural beauty of this region as well as the lifestyle of those that call Alaska home. Experience captaining your vessel up to the face of one of SE Alaska's spectacular tidewater glaciers, travel through deep fjords with towering mountains on either side, and walk through lush temperate rain forests.

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LEG 4: JULY 7 – JULY 19, 2020 Sitka, AK to Juneau, AK

Tuesday, July 7 – Sunday, July 19
Board & Check-out: 9am Tuesday, July 7
Provision & Orientation: 6pm Tuesday, July 7
Depart Sitka: 9am Wednesday, July 8
Disembark by 12pm Sunday, July 19

Join this adventurous trip along the rugged, west coast of Chichagof Island. Travel to remote anchorages and enjoy the pristine wilderness of SE Alaska from the deck of your luxury yacht. Spot plenty of wildlife, like humpback whales and brown bears, and take in the awe-inspiring Sawyer Glacier.

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LEG 5: JULY 21 – AUGUST 1, 2020 Juneau, AK to Ketchikan, AK

Tuesday, July 21 – Saturday, August 1
Board & Check-out: 9am Tuesday, July 21
Provision & Orientation: 6pm Tuesday, July 21
Depart Juneau: 9am Wednesday, July 22
Disembark by 12pm Saturday, August 1

Join us aboard this voyage from Juneau to Ketchikan where you’ll get to experience native culture, amazing fishing, stunning scenery, glaciers, wildlife and more.

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LEG 6: AUGUST 3 – AUGUST 26, 2020 Ketchikan, AK to Bellingham, WA

Monday, August 3 – Wednesday, August 26
Board & Check-out: 9am Monday, August 3
Provision & Orientation: 6pm Monday, August 3
Depart Ketchikan: 9am Wednesday, August 4
Disembark by 12pm Wednesday, August 26

Go on an incredible boating adventure that begins in Ketchikan and takes you along Alaska’s famed Inside Passage and out to the remote islands of Haida Gwaii. This leg requires open water crossings, long days at the helm and heightened awareness as you navigate narrow passages. The benefit of this intense boating is that you get to experience deep wilderness and thriving native culture unlike anywhere else in British Columbia.

Check out this video from our last visit to Haida Gwaii in 2016.



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Mother Goose Flotilla

Watch as our Mother Goose Flotilla makes its way from Bellingham, WA to Southeast Alaska and back! Our Flotilla runs from July 7th to August 26th, so stay tuned all summer long.

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An Alaskan Charter Boat Adventure

Skipper a private yacht along the stunning shores of the Alaskan wilderness with our exclusive flotilla. Get a front-row seat to the towering glaciers of the Inside Passage, experience Alaskan culture and wildlife, and above all: enjoy pure, unadulterated freedom. Spots are extremely limited, so don’t miss your chance to take the trip of a lifetime.

A New Adventure Everyday

Your flotilla takes you to a new destination every day: enjoy the natural pools of Alaska’s Hot Springs Cove, learn about local indigenous tribes, visit the abandoned Chichagof gold mine, and scope out humpbacks, orcas, bears, and more from the comfort of your captain’s chair. Your itinerary offers some of the most epic scenery in the world, all showcased with the help of your tour’s certified naturalist. Plus, you get to hike, dine, shop, and explore along the way.

With Loved Ones

Time and time again we hear that our flotillas are the most romantic experience in a couple’s life. And we don’t doubt it. Nothing does more for a relationship than some fresh ocean air and a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life—no cellphones, no computers, and no rushing around. Whether you book a trip with friends, family, or your partner—this trip offers the peace, laughter, and adventure you need to reconnect with the people you love, and have a fantastic time doing it.

Unique Wildlife

This flotilla gives you a front-row seat to some of the most impressive creatures in the world. Follow the migration of humpback whales and orcas, watch black oystercatchers while they hunt, see hundreds of endangered 2,000-pound Steller Sea Lions sunbathing on the rocks, and more. Bald Eagles are also a sight to behold—there are only 70,000 Bald Eagles in the world and 50,000 of them are in northern British Columbia and Alaska.

Your Own Luxury Yacht

Enjoy a pristine, freshly-varnished yacht, with high-quality linens, a professional-grade kitchen, and a private sitting area—complete with all the sunsets and glasses of wine you can handle. The icing on the cake? You get it all to yourself. Our fleet of yachts are some of the best in the business; each boat undergoes an extensive 18-page checklist that ensures you get to skipper a near-perfect yacht.

Take Advantage of
Your Personal Crew

Whether you’re a seasoned captain or new to the boating world, the NW Explorations team will make your trip seamless. The lead boat—skippered by a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain—travels with you the entire way with a trained marine technician, giving you tips, training, and keeping your itinerary on track. The NWE team helps with whatever you need: whether it’s finding the best restaurant in town or making sure your boat is stocked with your favorite kitchen gadgets--the team is there to put your mind at ease. Lastly, our certified naturalist will narrate key sightseeing spots, explain the history of local cultures and indigenous tribes, and pinpoint rare wildlife.

Operation is under permit with the Tongass National Forest.
NW Explorations is an equal opportunity service provider.



What’s the difference between a vacation and an adventure? Having the experience of the NW Explorations flotilla team surely helps. Explorations has unmatched expertise in elevating ‘ordinary’ boating into an adventure.

THE SCHAFER FAMILY Returning client for last 2 years

I can say without exception we have never had an experience that came close to matching our adventure. You and your staff were accommodating and gracious at every step of our arrangements. 

JEREMY Returning client for last 8 years

Having chartered both power and sailboats over the past 30 years in the Bahamas, the canals of France, the Virgin Islands, and the French West Indies, I wish to tell you how your staff exceeded all of our expectations and then some.

BRUCE & TRACIE Returning client for last 10 years




The flotilla-style charter offers the freedom and independence of solo barebones chartering while providing support, structure, and community. There are countless chartering companies in the Pacific Northwest and abroad, and many of them offer flotilla or flotilla-like experiences. I was fortunate enough to hop aboard Leg 6 of the Mother Goose Flotilla 2018, one of Bellingham, Washington-based Northwest Explorations’ iconic seasonal adventures. The crew took me under their mother goose wings, sharing behind-the-scenes insights on how an ace flotilla operates. The journey was a sweet taste of that flotilla freedom lifestyle.

- Northwest Yachting

The trip of a lifetime. That’s how everyone described my upcoming assignment to Alaska on a 10-day charter with NW Explorations. After returning I have to say, it was that and so much more… I can now say without a doubt that I wouldn’t have wanted to experience Alaska any other way. The flotilla allows clients to visit the immensely beautiful Alaskan coast independently on a chartered boat, while providing the comfort of guidance from a lead vessel (hence the name Mother Goose) and the camaraderie of fellow charterers doing the same thing.

- PassageMaker Magazine

By joining NW Explorations on one of the company’s guided flotillas, you will be embarking on an adventure with fellow cruisers–and have the comfort of knowing an experienced captain is aboard the lead vessel. Along the way, you’ll hear from the lead boat regarding native culture, local history, and wildlife. Once the flotilla arrives at an anchorage, you have the option of participating in guided on-shore and dinghy explorations, or relaxing in your chartered Grand Banks yacht. NW Explorations is a first-class operation, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Consider the fact that 70% of their charters are taken by repeat customers.

- Lakeland Boating Magazine



Especially for some of the longer legs we offer, guests often fly in and out to join our charter clients for portions of their trip. There are certainly locations along the way where scheduled flights facilitate this happening. In other cases, we must employ the assistance of chartered float planes. There is always a way to make “crew changes” happen along the way!


Each of our legs has a detailed itinerary which will specify areas that have cellular and/or Internet service to help our clients plan ahead if they will need to check in with family or business while away.


The flotilla price includes the rental of the vessel, insurance, moorage fees, and the support of the lead vessel, Deception. The lead vessel has a USCG licensed captain, a marine technician, and a naturalist. Our crew will be there to catch your lines, assist with any maneuvering needs, communicate over VHF on wildlife sightings/important sites, and even collect your garbage & recycling at the end of each day! Fuel and provisions are at the expense of the client as well as transportation costs getting to and from the specific port of call in which your vessel is moored.


Each leg has a detailed itinerary which will specify locations where provisioning opportunities will be available. We do recommend for those legs that originate in Washington or Alaska and cross into Canada shortly thereafter to wait and purchase their fruits and vegetables until they have crossed into Canada. Certain restrictions apply and can change regarding these items.


CANCELLATION FEES: (1) All cancellations must be received in writing. (2) Final payment is due 120 days prior to your departure date. If you must cancel your charter, the following terms shall apply:

Greater than 365 days: Cancellation fee of $150 per week, no proration
- 120 – 365 days: 50% of reservation deposit
- 119 – 90 days: Entire reservation deposit
- 89 – 0 days: Entire charter fee


Each flotilla participant is asked to fill out a Medical & Emergency Form. The purpose of this form is to provide the crew on the lead boat with valuable information to use in the case of an emergency. To the extent that the crew is able to assist, they will make every effort to do so. For those situations that are outside our level of training, we have VHF radios and a satellite phone that allow us to be in constant communication with the US Coast Guard. Although it is not a situation that we anticipate or hope for our clients to have, we are prepared to make arrangements to have guests flown out to receive medical treatment if needed.


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