Desolation Sound 2021: Day 1: Bellingham to Reid Harbor | NW Explorations


Desolation Sound 2021: Day 1: Bellingham to Reid Harbor

We all rose to a gorgeous crisp fall morning in Bellingham, the moon still in the sky and our spirits high. Passengers were able to chat a bit amongst themselves as we readied the 10 vessels to depart, checking and double checking that our sendoff was as seamless as possible. Sure enough, one after the other each skipper was casted off with a big smile on their faces.

Once we were all out of the breakwater, the fleet fell in line with ease, cruising through Bellingham Bay with a stunning view of Mount Baker in our wake. Without a doubt, Bellingham shared with us her favorite aspects of a Pacific Northwest fall morning today, with her blue bird skies, a light breeze, and incredibly calm seas.

Immediately into the bay we were greeted by everyone’s favorite marine mammal, the Harbor Seal! As we rounded Eliza rock off Eliza Island and were able to get a good look at the little water dogs hauled out and peacefully sunning themselves, it didn’t look like too bad of a gig if I do say so myself. Coming through Rosario Strait, Harbor Porpoise caught our eyes as they fed in the tide lines and made a commotion in the wake. Not often do we see Harbor Porpoise causing such a ruckus, but they too must have just been excited for it being such a gorgeous day. As these marine mammals actively feed 20 hours a day on small fish and sometimes squid and octopus, it seemed as though they were taking advantage of the shifting tides, and that it was paying off!

I think the entire fleet would agree on today’s most exciting adventure, our crossing of Pole Pass. Right between Crane and Orcas Island, is a 180-foot-wide and 30-foot-deep channel that brought our fleet to a single file line all while waving hello to the boats that would pass us to our port sides. Our skippers deserve a badge after earning both accolades and confidence getting a taste for boating through the uniquely structured San Juans. After a restful float between San Juan and Orcas we were able to hug close to Spieden Island and chat a bit about one of the most mind-boggling islands we have here in the Salish Sea.

Spieden Island consists of 3 exotic specials of animals that draw the attention of many enlightened boaters. Sitka deer, Fallow deer, and Mouflon sheep were all imported to Spieden when it was used for trophy hunting by taxidermists in the 1960s. Yet, when that business model crumbled, the species spectacularly survived and have been thriving ever since. Thus, getting the chance to cruise by and check out their grazing on island time was a really fun touch.

Once we rolled into Reid Harbor on Stuart Island in the early afternoon, we were all able to drop our anchors with grace. The quick and efficient drops allowed passengers to take some time to themselves, their families and friends, cozying in their new homes for the next 2 weeks and changing the scenery by exploring the cove in their dinghies.

There was a dock for us to take advantage of spending some time ashore hiking, all while getting a feel for the local geography. The sun set with a lovely pink hue and sent us off to our cabins with a joyful energy. It’s hard to wipe the smile off your face when you are surrounded by not only such incredible landscape, but such incredible people to go along with it.

P.S. Is Desolation Sound on your bucket list? We can take you there! Reserve your spot on our 2022 Desolation Sound Flotilla today. 

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