2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1, Day 2 – Sidney to Pender Harbour | NW Explorations


2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1, Day 2 – Sidney to Pender Harbour

With a slack tide to meet at Porlier Pass, we all wake early and get the fleet off the docks one by one with coffee in hand and a departure aligned with an exciting float plan. Rising with the sun always feels a bit easier when you know you have such an enticing adventure to look forward to.

As our vessels peel from their slips and putter outside of the marina, Deception lets the last gosling go and we start our 72-mile cruise through the southern Gulf Islands.

Making our way north through Trincomali Channel our eyes are watching the water for any debris or incoming vessels and at the same time our crew on the lead vessel spots swift moving splashes that makes us pick up our binoculars quickly and study the scene. Our entire crew is filled with excitement as we get onto the radio and relay to the fleet a wildlife sighting we have all been waiting for. Coming down our port side headed south we see a pod of Transient Orca with a small juvenile moving rapidly alongside us! Chatting a bit about the different sub-species of Orca we can see in these waters we all cross our fingers that this is just the beginning of many sightings to come.

Porlier Pass was a beautiful passage and as we timed our crossing with the changing tides, in a single file line our boats rode the waves and as they picked we started our way through Georgia Strait now feeling even more well equipped to pilot our vessels and utilize our well-practiced skills.

Veering to port leaving Porlier Pass in our wake we hear a few California Sea Lions letting us know of their presence eye spying them along the dark rocks as we keep their haul out to our starboard side. Specific to the male California Sea Lion, after their breeding season groups will make their way north during the winter as far as Alaska, stopping along the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia on the way in search of feeding grounds. They are always a fun species to spot as we will normally hear them, and even smell them, way before we can see them!

Continuing north, the open waterway of Georgia Strait can be one of our most technical crossings dependent on the weather. However, with the high sun and low winds our 20 nautical mile trek was calm, warm, and quick, making for us keeping our eyes out for any marine wildlife quite a peaceful task.

Pulling into Pender Harbour, the anchorage was beautiful, quiet, and open with little other vessels around. We all made our way into the winding waterways that the harbour has to offer, and each found a stunning spot for the night.

Winding down with dinghy rides exploring the anchorage and time in the sun with our loved ones, the quiet evening made for one that allowed us to soak in and appreciate the journey we had today and look forward to all the adventuring to come. The sunset sent the harbour into a pink glow and as dinner was prepared between each and everyone’s crew, we all cozied in with smiles on our faces and excitement in our hearts for the many beautiful days to come cruising through the inside passage.

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