2021 PNW Summer Flotilla – Day 5 | NW Explorations


2021 PNW Summer Flotilla – Day 5

Port Townsend to Alderbrook

The gorgeous warm weather we enjoyed flipped on us (literally!) and we awoke to a thick fog that brought visibility to near zero. Temperature inversions are a common morning occurrence during the summer in Puget Sound, when moisture near the surface is trapped between cool coastal waters and warm summer air. Captain Downs made the wise decision to have the flotilla wait it out dockside; a nearby sonorous blast from a cargo ship’s fog signal underscored our present situation, and we took comfort in our skipper’s prudence.

Before noon the fog had nearly dissipated, and the remainder was quickly burning away by what promised to be another sun-soaked day. We cast off with fair winds and following seas, and it seemed that only a moment passed before Port Townsend was sinking below the shimmering horizon, with a lengthy voyage ahead of us we were eager to make up for lost time. We certainly had no idea that our late start would be such a blessing in disguise!

About an hour after entering Hood Canal our eagle-eyed helmsman, Scott, spotted the bushy blow and distinctive dorsal fins of an orca pod.  These truly stunning creatures never fail to inspire awe, and we were more than happy to watch the family as they gracefully cut across the surface of the sound: suddenly we weren’t in any kind of a hurry. The pod was identified as T-36A, a family of transient Bigg’s orcas that range from the Puget Sound up to Alaska. It was a real treat to see mother Leland and her oldest daughter Tierna swimming on each side, with the young orcas Kailas and Storm in between them.


We really could have watched the orcas all day, but it seemed like they had places to be so we took the hint and got our screws spinning. The journey down Hood Canal was filled with incredible views of the imposing mountain range and dense forests of the Olympic Peninsula. By the time we were moored at the beautiful Alderbrook Resort the sun was on its descent, and the crews were happy to unwind after a very full day.

P.S. Missed this year’s Princess Louisa Flotilla? Not to worry, there’s always next year! Send us an email to reserve your spot on our 2022 Princess Louisa Flotilla. 

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