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Exploring British Columbia and the San Juan Islands

Exploring British Columbia and the San Juan Islands

At a glance

Duration: 8 Days/7 Nights

Coverage: Seattle to Vancouver

From: $4,690

Season: September - October

Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Zodiacs

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Lindblad Expeditions in Partnership with National Geographic

Discover the powerful wilderness and warm charm of the Pacific Northwest over a wide-ranging week in the San Juan Islands and British Columbia. You’ll venture to spectacular, remote islands and sail through channels that teem with sea life, plus you’ll visit charming towns and First Nations heritage sites. This National Geographic Sea Bird voyage sails one-way between Seattle and Vancouver allowing ample time to venture far north into Alert Bay, including Victoria and the Robert Bateman Centre, with remote stops in the San Juan and Gulf Islands, and deep in the fjords of British Columbia.

This San Juan Islands and British Colombia travel expedition will enable you to:

  • Kayak, hike, and expedition landing craft cruise the wildlife-rich coasts of Desolation Sound and the Gulf Islands
  • Learn the histories of First Nations people through their art and powerful dance performances
  • Search for killer whales in the region where they’re most reliably found in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Enjoy a private evening event at the Robert Bateman Centre in Victoria

Discover the Wildness of the San Juans & British Columbia

Sail among the more remote San Juan Islands in places ideal for kayaking, exploring by expedition landing craft, and hiking where seals, sea lions, river otters, bald eagles, and killer whales are often seen. Venture to the Gulf Islands, a rich archipelago in the Strait of Georgia, perfect for active exploration and rich in wildlife. Go through Desolation Sound, on the north end of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, a mecca for kayakers with its calm, sheltered waters and outstanding natural beauty. Explore its isolated bays and islets by kayak and then hike its meadows and lush green forest trails.

First Nation Cultures of the Region

In Alert Bay you’ll make your way to the U'Mista Cultural Center, home to a stunning collection of potlatch masks created by the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples. In the Big House see the Tsasala Cultural Group bring the stories of their people to life through a powerful dance ceremony.

Visit charming towns & museums

Enjoy a guided tour of Friday Harbor’s Whale Museum, with its fascinating collection of artifacts, artwork, and whale skeletons. Or choose to walk the picturesque town’s streets, mixing with locals in the art galleries, coffee shops, or pubs. And in Victoria, there’ll be a chance to tour private gardens, take a bike ride and call at the Robert Bateman Centre to take in the definitive collection of his incredible natural history artwork.

Travel in excellent company

Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, a historian, a geologist/naturalist, plus a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor and a wellness specialist. Their knowledge and passion for British Columbia & the San Juan Islands is the key to your once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We hiked, we kayaked, we swam, (it was so warm we jumped in for no more than 3 seconds), we made new friends, we ate, we learned, we loved every minute of it.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

Venture to the remote corners of the Pacific Northwest’s wild archipelagos to kayak, hike, and search for wildlife including killer whales, seals, and bald eagles. Then delve into the First Nation’s heritage and charming, picturesque towns along the coast on a perfectly paced voyage.

Day 1 — Seattle/Embark

Arrive in Seattle and transfer to National Geographic Sea Bird to begin your expedition.

Day 2 — Exploring the San Juan Islands

Today we’ll visit the more remote of the San Juan Islands, an archipelago in northern Washington State perfect for kayaking, exploring by expedition landing craft, and hiking. Search for seals, sea lions, river otters, bald eagles and other marine mammals. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Friday Harbor

Explore Friday Harbor, a picturesque town on San Juan Island. Visit the Whale Museum, with its fascinating collection of artifacts, artwork, and whale skeletons. Stop in at small shops and galleries. Later, we’ll search for orca whales on our way to British Columbia. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Victoria, British Columbia

TClear into Canada in the charming city of Victoria and choose from several tailor-made options to explore based on your interests. Visit private gardens, bike along the waterfront, stroll through Old Town or peruse the collections at local art galleries. In the evening, enjoy a private reception at the Robert Bateman Centre while taking in the incredible collection of paintings. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Exploring Gulf Islands

Wake this morning among the Gulf Islands, a rich archipelago in the Strait of Georgia, and a yachter’s paradise. We’ll take our pick of perfect spots to kayak, hike, and search for wildlife. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Johnstone Strait/Alert Bay

Sail through Johnstone Strait, one of the foremost viewing areas for killer whales in the northern hemisphere. In the afternoon, we’ll land in Alert Bay and make our way to the U'Mista Cultural Centre, home to a stunning collection of potlatch masks created by the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples. We’ll then walk or ride to the Big House, just a short distance away where the Tsasala Cultural Group puts on a dance and the performers explain the story of the dance movements. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound, on the north end of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, is a mecca for kayakers and small yachts. It’s easy to understand why, with its calm, sheltered waters and outstanding natural beauty. By kayak there are many isolated bays to poke into and islets that beckon for exploration. On land there are meadows and forest trails for hiking. Tonight, enjoy Captain’s Farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Vancouver

Vancouver is British Columbia’s largest city and the major port for all of western Canada. It lies in a stunning setting, surrounded almost completely by water, with snowcapped mountains rising vertically from its very backyard. After breakfast, disembark the ship for connecting flights home. (B)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Exploring British Columbia & the San Juans Itinerary Map

Dates & Rates

Dates Ship Direction 1 2 3 4 5 Single 1 Single 2
Sep 15, 2018 National Geographic Sea Bird Seattle to Vancouver $4,690 $5,390 $6,690 $7,040 $8,090
Sep 22, 2018 National Geographic Sea Bird Vancouver to Seattle $4,690 $5,390 $6,690 $7,040 $8,090
Sep 29, 2018 National Geographic Sea Bird Seattle to Vancouver $4,690 $5,390 $6,690 $7,040 $8,090
Oct 6, 2018 National Geographic Sea Bird Vancouver to Seattle $4,690 $5,390 $6,690 $7,040 $8,090
Oct 13, 2018 National Geographic Sea Bird Seattle to Vancouver $4,690 $5,390 $6,690 $7,040 $8,090
Oct 20, 2018 National Geographic Sea Bird Vancouver to Seattle $4,690 $5,390 $6,690 $7,040 $8,090
Sep 21, 2019 National Geographic Venture Seattle to Vancouver $4,990 $5,690 $6,190 $6,990 $7,790 $7,490 $8,540
Sep 28, 2019 National Geographic Venture Vancouver to Seattle $4,990 $5,690 $6,190 $6,990 $7,790 $7,490 $8,540
Oct 5, 2019 National Geographic Venture Seattle to Vancouver $4,990 $5,690 $6,190 $6,990 $7,790 $7,490 $8,540
Oct 12, 2019 National Geographic Venture Vancouver to Seattle $4,990 $5,690 $6,190 $6,990 $7,790 $7,490 $8,540

Included in Cruise Fare

  • All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar
  • All meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated
  • Air transportation where indicated as included
  • Shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • Use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available)
  • Gratuities (except to Egyptologists and ship’s crew)
  • Taxes and service charges
  • Services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff

Not Included in Cruise Fare

  • Air transportation (except where shown as included)
  • Extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees
  • Scuba diving (where available)
  • Meals not indicated
  • Baggage/accident/travel protection plan
  • Items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, e-mail, and laundry
  • Gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion

Ships

National Geographic Sea Bird

National Geographic Sea Bird

National Geographic Sea Bird can reach places inaccessible to larger ships due to its small size, yet each comfortably accommodates 62 guests in 31 outside cabins. The feeling, we’re told, is often compared to that of a large private yacht, with everyone integral to the adventure. Accessibility means freedom. Our captains have decades of sailing experience in the regions we explore. They know when and where to navigate so that you feel the places we visit are all ours. View ship details...


National Geographic Venture

National Geographic Venture

National Geographic Venture is the perfect ship to explore British Columbia and beyond. Designed with over 50 years of expedition heritage, National Geographic Venture is able to explore the same remote locations we’ve sought out for decades while setting a new standard in comfort and style. She features step-out balconies (available in 22 of the 50 spacious cabins), plus 6 sets of connecting cabins for families and groups; a Sun Deck bar, and a designated mudroom for expedition gear.View ship details...

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