Canada Inside Passage cruise

Sample 12 Day (11 Night) Itinerary – Seattle to Ketchikan, AK

For those who love to see ‘whats around the next corner’ this trip is for you. Our days are governed by the ebb and flow of the tide and you will  quickly slip into boat mode as we leave civilization behind.  Discovery’s cruises are very opportunistic in nature and with no set schedule we can make the most of wildlife encounters along the way. 

Overview

  • Explore scenic waterways accessible only on a small boat cruise
  • Skiff and shore excursions to search for wildlife
  • Watch for Humpback whales, Orca (Killer Whales), Pacific white-sided dolphins, Porpoise, Sea Lion, Bears, Bald Eagle & more
  • Anchor in secluded bays and visit remote communities
  • Hike in a temperate rain forest
  • Visit a natural Hot Springs
  • Kayaking and beach combing
  • Trip begins in Seattle and ends in Ketchikan, AK

Route Map

Watch for marine life!

“Discovery’s cruises are highly opportunistic and can be interrupted at any moment by Humpback Whales, Orca (Killers Whales), Dalls Porpoise and other marine wildlife.

Orca whales can be seen at any time of year.

Orca whales can be seen at any time of year.

Please keep in mind: While cruises follow the general route described weather, tides and wildlife encounters will at times determine the evenings destination. This spontaneity is one of the joys of small ship cruising and offers a wonderful variety for our return guests.

Things to do in Seattle

  • Visit Pike Place market
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass by the Space Needle
  • Museum of Flight
  • Lake Union Park waterfront and Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
  • Seattle Underground Tour
  • Great restaurants for lovers of fine food

Day 1 – The journey begins!

Welcome aboard Discovery (10am) and depart Seattle. The breeze carries with it an air of freedom and the scent of adventure as Discovery clears the Ballard Locks that connect Seattle’s Lake Union to the salt water of Puget Sound. Relax on board this afternoon as we cruise towards the San Juan Islands.

Day 2 –  San Juan Islands to Nanaimo, BC

Wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and take a stroll on deck before breakfast as Discovery gets underway. We’ll cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca and cruise through the San Juan Islands, a beautiful archipelago of over 450 islands, rocky pinnacles and beaches. Keep a look out for Orca Whales that frequent this area. We’ll time the tide later in the day and sneak through Dodd Narrows just south of Nanaimo (on Vancouver Island) where we’ll clear Customs and tie up for the night.

Day 3 – The Strait of Georgia

Today we’ll make tracks north cruising in the Strait of Georgia that separates Vancouver Island from the mainland. This passage is 150 miles long and varies in width from 11.5 to 34.2 miles wide. Our distance travelled today depends somewhat on wind and tide (if its with or against us) and Captain Swanson will choose a pretty harbor marina at which to overnight allowing guests time to get off the boat and explore.

Day 4 – Desolation Sound to Teakerne Arm Provincial Park

Georgia Strait narrows and a myriad of interconnecting tidal passages and inlets mark the beginning of a more remote region of British Columbia dotted with islands and marine parks. We’ll wind our way through the swirling currents (which on the ebb and flood can generate whirlpools and standing waves) of Desolation Sound into Teakerne Arm and drop anchor in a secluded cove beneath a waterfall that spills from a lake high above. It’s a beautiful place to kayak and/or skiff ashore and hike.

Day 5 – Johnstone Strait, Robson Bight (Orca Whales) to Blunden Harbor

Our route up Johnstone Strait to Blackfish Sound and the Broughton Archipelago today takes us right past the famous rubbing beaches where Orca Whales congregate each summer to feed and socialize. Ocean currents support abundant marine life in the surrounding waters here so keep a look out also for Humpback Whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Porpoise, Seals and a variety of sea birds.

Day 6 – Cross Queen Charlotte Sound to Pruth Bay (Cookout and Beach walk)

This morning we will round Cape Caution to the east of Vancouver Island’s northern point and cruise to one of our favorite anchorages in Fitz Hugh Sound. We’ll skiff to shore and hike through coastal forest to a driftwood littered beach. Explore the beach and rock pools or join us on a longer guided hike to West Beach. It’s a great spot for a campfire and cookout this evening as the colors fade and the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.

Day 7 – Shearwater

Today begins at a leisurely pace. There is time to put kayaks in the water or explore the inlet by skiff before weighing anchor. Then it’s a short cruise to the remote community of Shearwater where we will dock amongst fishing boats and yachts at the small marina. The locals you meet dockside have many interesting stories to share or pop up to the Pub and relax on the patio.

Day 8 – Princess Royal Island & the Great Bear Rainforest

The scenery over the next few days brings new meaning to the phrase “getting away from it all”. Narrow passages, deep fjords and cascading waterfalls form part of the majestic landscape of British Colombia’s northern coastal fringe. You’ll feel like you’re in another world here. Dense rainforest, rich river estuaries and salmon streams provide habitat for Wolves, Brown Bear, Black Bear and the elusive Spirit Bear. Our anchorage tonight lies tucked beneath snowcapped mountains and we’ll spend a few hours exploring (by skiff or kayak – your choice) and looking for wildlife in the meadows and rivers at the head of the bay.

Day 9 – Channels & passages, tide and current, Hot Springs anyone?

Relax and watch the scenery go by as we cruise between forested islands navigating from one channel to another. This afternoon we have the option to anchor by a natural hot springs and go for a soak or continue on to another pristine bay where keen kayakers have another opportunity to paddle and the potential to spot bear on shore.

Day 10 – Prince Rupert (or anchorage at Dundas Island)

We’ll make our way toward the coast again today and cruise to Prince Rupert a port city and transport hub at the western terminus of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Day 11 – Cross Dixon Entrance to Alaska’s gateway city of Ketchikan

We’ll make an early start from Prince Rupert this morning and take a shortcut through Venn Passage, a small channel marked by a dozen or so buoys and range lights, to Chatham Sound that opens into the waters of Dixon Entrance. We need to clear customs on arrival in Ketchikan and there will be time for a quick stroll before one last dinner onboard Discovery.

Day 12 – Farewells and disembark in Ketchikan

Disembark after breakfast.