Wild coastlines, whales, and wilderness aboard the Safari Quest

Overview

The coastlines of Washington and the San Juan Islands are a charming world apart, filled with fascinating wildlife. Sleepy little towns are perfect stopovers for tasting fresh-caught oysters after exploring the harbors and bays. On this eight-day cruise you’ll sail from Seattle, crossing into Puget Sound, Deception Pass, and the Salish Sea, discovering islands, mossy beaches, and dripping rainforests. Climb to the top of Mount Constitution for incredible views of the San Juan archipelago, kayak alongside rocky cliffs, and watch for whales and eagles from the deck of the Safari Quest which carries just 22 guests into the tiniest nooks of this unique wilderness region.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Day 1
Embarkation, Seattle, Washington

Seattle was founded along the shores of Elliott Bay. Today, set sail via either the historic Hiram M. Chittenden Locks or picturesque Shilshole Bay and cruise along the city's shoreline before dropping anchor in a tucked away cove.

Day 2
Salish Sea / Deception Pass

Wake up surrounded by the wilderness of the Salish Sea. Today, there are many opportunities to investigate this sea-salty playground of islands. A guided kayak reveals local inhabitants—sea stars, anemones, jelly fish, perhaps even inquisitive harbor seals. Walk along a curiosity-rich intertidal zone or stretch your legs on a mossy hike. And tides and current permitting, sail through swirling waters of Deception Pass. Cap off your first day of adventure with a front-row view of the sunset from the bow.

Day 3
Lopez Island / San Juan Island

You’ve landed in one of the most scenic areas of the Salish Sea. The rocky outcroppings of Lopez Island play host to harbor seals—and it’s also orca territory. When kayaking, keep your eyes peeled above and below the surface. Join your expedition team on deck searching for whales, seals, and sea lions as you cruise through the myriad San Juans—no two islands are the same. Drop anchor near San Juan Island—the second largest landmass in the archipelago—to explore tide pools and skiff or kayak into hidden coves, as conditions permit.

Day 4
Orcas Island

Your Captain navigates through the islands to your basecamp at Orcas Island—for a day of play where the options are unending. A local favorite, hike Mt. Constitution—it’s the highest peak in the San Juan Islands (2,409 feet high) and has a mind-blowing view of the archipelago. If you’re interested in skiff exploration or more paddling, the kayaks and paddle boards are up for grabs. You might also visit the charming community of Eastsound—it’s nestled above Fishing Bay and been around since the late-1880s.

Day 5
Sucia Island

The treats keep coming! With no paved roads or even ferry access, enjoy your day on picturesque Sucia Island—total year-round population of four—a Washington State Marine Park filled with hidden coves and bays. You feel a million miles away from it all, exploring the intertidal zone with your guides, hiking across the island, and kayaking in a protected bay. Weather permitting; there’s even a barbeque ashore.

Day 6
Captain's Choice

Make it an ideal morn by kicking it off with an early soak in the on-deck hot tub, a paddle along the shores of the Olympic Peninsula, or both! Your Captain sets the course today for explorations in the rain shadow of the Salish Sea. You may find yourself hiking deep into the mossy, towering old growth of the Olympic Peninsula or beachcombing for anemone and hermit crabs along the shores of Puget Sound. Or perhaps, a chance to kayak and paddle board, investigate bird rookeries, or search for whales in the Sea’s rich emerald waters.

Day 7
Olympic National Park

Hike (or snowshoe if the snow is still there!) in Olympic National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—surrounded by rainforest, old growth forest, and top of the world 360 degree views. Your trek at Hurricane Ridge takes you across fields of sub-alpine flowers in warmer weather and snow-covered hills in the colder months. On a clear day, you can see Canada across to the Straits of Juan de Fuca. This evening, wrap it up with a Farewell Dinner and slide show highlighting your week’s adventures.

Day 8
Seattle / Disembark

This morning, cruise into Seattle either via the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks or at Shilshole Bay. After breakfast, the Captain and crew bid you a fond farewell.

Highlights

Highlights

Transit the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks or cruise the Seattle waterfront
Kayak, paddle board, and skiff in island channels formed by glaciers
Explore Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its rainforests and 360 degree views
Hike in old growth forests, state parks, and to the top of Mt. Constitiution
Watch for whales, orcas, seals, sea lions, eagles and sea birds

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $4295  
Arrive: Seattle, Washington
Depart: Seattle, Washington
Lodging: 7 nights aboard a 22-passenger expedtion vessel
Meals: All meals aboard ship included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Sea Kayaking, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Hiking / Trekking, Whale Watching, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

8-day cruise, wildlerness and coastal explorations
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