ALASKA FLOTILLA ‘23 | NW Explorations

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Leg 1: Desolation Sound & Broughton Archipelago: May 8 – May 21, 2023 Bellingham, WA to Port McNeill, BC

Board & Orientation | 3pm Monday, May 8
Checkout & Provision | Tuesday, May 9
Depart | Wednesday, May 10
Disembark | by 12pm Sunday, May 21

This Itinerary allows you to explore the renowned cruising areas of Desolation Sound and the Broughton Archipelago without the crowds of the summer season. This trip will take you to beautiful, secluded anchorages and immerse you in the unique culture of the area both past and present. Not to mention that you are traveling through the home waters of both the Southern and Northern Resident Killer Whale pods!

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Leg 2: The Great Bear Rainforest: May 23 – June 5, 2023 Port McNeill, BC to Ketchikan, AK

Board & Orientation | 5pm Tuesday, May 23
Checkout & Provision | Wednesday, May 24
Depart | Thursday, May 25
Disembark | by 12pm Monday, June 5

Along this trip, you’ll explore the lush wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, marvel at the glacially sculpted landscape, soak in the Bishop Bay Hot Springs, have dinner at the local pub in Shearwater and end your trip in Ketchikan, Alaska’s “First City.” The Great Bear Rainforest is home to the incredibly rare Kermode or Spirit Bears. These completely white black bears are elusive but incredible to see. Throughout the trip we’ll spot plenty of other wildlife, like humpback whales and bald eagles and take in the wild, stunning shorelines of the Inside Passage.

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Leg 3: Glaciers of Southeast Alaska: June 7 – June 20, 2023 Ketchikan, AK to Petersburg, AK

Board & Orientation | 5pm Wednesday, June 7
Checkout & Provision | Thursday, June 8
Depart | Friday, June 9
Disembark | by 12pm Tuesday, June 20

Join us aboard our voyage from Ketchikan to Petersburg, aka little Norway. You’ll have the opportunity to go where the cruise ships cannot and will see the natural beauty of the 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, traveling through deep fjords with towering mountains on either side, and walking through lush temperate rain forests.

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Leg 4: Glaciers of Southeast Alaska: June 22 – July 5, 2023 Petersburg, AK to Sitka, AK

Board & Orientation | 5pm Thursday, June 22
Checkout & Provision | Friday, June 23
Depart | Saturday, June 24
Disembark | by 12pm Wednesday, July 5

We’ll begin our trip in the authentic Alaskan fishing town of Petersburg, aka “Little Norway.” This trip provides you the unique experience of spending 10 days in the heart of SE Alaska’s wilderness without stopping in another town until we arrive in our final destination, Sitka. Enjoy the pristine wilderness of SE Alaska from the deck of your luxury yacht. Along the way, we’ll spot plenty of wildlife, like humpback whales and brown bears, visit a tidewater glacier, a natural hot springs and spend time taking in the beauty of Alaska at a slower pace.

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Leg 5: Glaciers of Southeast Alaska: July 7 – July 20, 2023 Sitka, AK to Petersburg, AK

Board & Orientation | 5pm Friday, July 7
Checkout & Provision | Saturday, July 8
Depart | Sunday, July 9
Disembark | by 12pm Thursday, July 20

Join us aboard this voyage from Sitka to Petersburg where you’ll get to experience amazing fishing, stunning scenery, glaciers, wildlife and more. We’ll visit natural hot springs and secluded anchorages-perfect for crabbing, kayaking, fishing, dinghy rides and beach walks. Cruise to one of SE Alaska’s remaining tidewater glaciers and cap the night with ancient ice in your glass and new friends around the table.

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Leg 6: Quenitessential Southeast Alaska: July 22 – August 4, 2023 Petersburg, AK to Ketchikan, AK

Board & Orientation | 5pm Saturday, July 22
Checkout & Provision | Sunday, July 23
Depart | Monday, July 24
Disembark | by 12pm Friday, August 4

This trip takes you up close to one of SE Alaska’s remaining tidewater glaciers, provides an unforgettable wild bear viewing experience at Anan Bear Observatory, introduces you to the rich culture of the Tlingit people, and gives you a glimpse of small town Alaska life. Travel the shores of SE Alaska and take in the stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and friendly towns.

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Leg 7: Haida Gwaii: August 6 – August 30, 2023 Ketchikan, AK to Bellingham, WA

Board & Orientation | 5pm Sunday, August 6
Checkout & Provision | Monday, August 7
Depart | Tuesday, August 8
Disembark | by 12pm Wednesday, August 30

Join us aboard an epic 23 day adventure from Alaska to Washington. This leg of our Alaska Flotilla visits several "must see" destinations on Haida Gwaii, one of the most beautiful archipelagos in this part of the world. As you cross back into Canada, you'll enjoy visits to many popular cruising spots before crossing back into the United States for your finally two stops, Friday Harbor and our home port in Bellingham. This is a definitely one to have on your bucket list if it isn't already.

UnforgettableEXPERIENCES

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.

Experience
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.

Connect
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.

See
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.

Skipper
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.

Memorable

QUOTATIONS

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
Boat

GALLERY

Featured

MAGAZINE REVIEWS

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
Common

QUESTIONS

1 ARE THERE PLACES WHERE MY GUESTS CAN JOIN AND/OR DEPART, OTHER THAN AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF THE CRUISE?

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!

2 WHERE CAN I EXPECT TO HAVE INTERNET?

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.

3 WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF THE TRIP? IS FUEL EXTRA?

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.

4 HOW DO I PROVISION?

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.

5 WHAT IF I NEED TO CANCEL?

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 $500 per week, no proration
- 120 – 365 days: 50% of reservation deposit
- 119 – 90 days: Entire reservation deposit
- 89 – 0 days: Entire charter fee

6 WHAT HAPPENS IN AN EMERGENCY?

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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