Article by our passenger Stacy Shearman on the Inside Passage

We would like to say THANK YOU to Stacy Shearman who wrote a wonderful review of her cruise with us this past summer. Her trip was our Southbound Inside Passage Cruise that began in Ketchikan, Alaska and ended in Bellingham, Washington.

I hope you enjoy!

-Christine

Customer Review of a cruise aboard the David B

Trip #294 Recap – May 6 – 17, 2017 – Canadian Inside Passage

Trip #294 – Northbound Bellingham to Ketchikan Trip Recap

Twice a year the M/V David B relocates from Bellingham to Alaska – Northbound in May and Southbound in August. It takes us 12 days in total and there is a lot to see and do along the way. Here are Captain Jeffrey’s highlights from this year’s Northbound trip through the Canadian Inside Passage.

Day 1) 06 May – Bellingham to Garrison Bay
After a little delay to handle some customs paperwork, we were off. Beautiful weather, and a quiet anchorage with an evening class about Tides and Currents.

Day 2) 07 May – Garrison Bay to Nanaimo, BC
On to Canada, with lots of help steering and operating the boat. We ran Dodd Narrows a little early, just for fun.

Day 3) 08 May – Nanaimo to Tenados Bay Desolation Sound
An early start and long day of crossing the Straits of Georgia, but with perfect weather and Orca whales just before we got to Desolation Sound. Lots of discussion of cruising boat types and what people liked and a little about bouys thrown in. No other boats could be seen from our anchorage.

Day 4) 09 May – Tenados Bay to Cordero Channel Cove
We didn’t need to leave to early to make our Yulculta Rapids time so there was time for a beautiful hike to a lake, then on through the rapids, also a little early, and very swirly.

Day 5) 10 May – Cordero Channel to Blind Bay Lodge to Pearse Islands
No time schedule again, but lots of miles to make. We stopped in at Blind bay lodge to go for another walk, then headed up Johnstone Strait. More discussion of route planning and currents. Had Pearse Islands anchorage to ourselves.


Friendly Squirrel at Blind Channel

Day 6) 11 May – Pearse Islands to Alert Bay to Blunden Harbor
Made a morning stop at Alert Bay to visit the native cultural center, then on across Queen Charlotte Strait to a quiet anchorage by ourselves again.Several guests went kayaking in the beautiful early evening light. Sunsets are already noticeably later.

Day 7) 12 May – Blunden Harbor to “Amy’s Fancy Cove”
Early morning start for a very smooth crossing of Queen Charlotte Sound, with beautiful sun and a light breeze from astern. Amy chose the evening’s anchorage, a tight little cove with the tree branches right to the water’s edge, which were alone in, again. Sea Otters, shearwaters and Jaegers along the way.

Day 8) 13 May – Fancy Cove to Bottleneck Inlet
A late morning start, and lots of navigating through narrow tree lined passages. Everyone who wanted to has had some time at the helm, with J. taking us through Reid Passage and H. going through Jackson Narrows later in the day.

Day 9) 14 May – Bottleneck Inlet to Butedale to Coghlin Anchorage
Always the required brief stop at Butedale, which is slowly crumbling into the forest, lots and lots of waterfalls, then Whales! Humpback whales lunge feeding right off Kingcome point. Of course, we were alone in the anchorage.

Day 10) 15 May – Coghlin Anchorage to Kumealon Inlet
D.drove the boat for the entire day, through Grenville channel. There was kayaking and skiff rides before dinner. We happened to be at the reversing rapids at the Lagoon just before slack water, so we came back in the skiff with better raingear and cameras and got to explore the lagoon for the first time. Again, by ourselves, and a great toast to Christine on her Birthday.

Day 11) 16 May – Kumealon Inlet to Brundige Inlet
Left early, and drove through Prince Rupert, just as 2 ships were maneuvering to and from the dock, lots of discussion of passing situations etc. Very seldom have we been in Brundige by ourselves, but once again, for our last night, we were alone.

The Skiff at Kumealon Inlet

Day 12) 17 May – Brundige inlet to Ketchikan, AK
One last early morning start, and a good chance to see how the new Tin Hat was in bigger seas, probably three to five feet, and as expected, much more comfortable than before. Just as we were approaching Ketchikan, the welcoming committee of bald eagles and whales showed up. J spotted the whale first, and we were able to turn and watch for a couple minutes before we headed into town, the trip a complete success!

If you would like to book a trip on our Southbound 12-day trip, we still have spots available. Just email Sarah@northwestnavigation.com for more information.


Last Minute Discounts for Alaska

We still have a 8 spots available for Alaska Trip #302 – July 30 to August 6 from Juneau to Petersburg. Here is a sample itinerary. Since we are just over two months away, I am able to offer a 20% discount on this trip. Normally this trip price is $5,900 per person, but with the discount you save over $1,000 for a discounted price of $4,720. Contact Sarah@northwestnavigation.com for details and to make your reservation.

Not ready for Alaska? Consider the San Juan Islands. We still have plenty of spots available once the David B returns from Alaska in August. Just look at our Schedule and then email Sarah@northwestnavigation.com to reserve your spot today!

Dalls porpoises riding on the David B’s Bow

Small Ship Cruise Alaska Wildlife WatchingSomething I look forward to every year when we are running trips on the David B are the occasional visits by Dalls porpoises. These mid-sized sea mammals that looks deceptively like baby killer whales love to surf bow wakes. We often see them in the Inside Passage and Alaska. Usually they are foraging for fish, but sometimes, they turn their attention to the David B. It begins with seeing their characteristic rooter-tail splashing a ways off, and with surprising speed, they soon rush up alongside of the boat, and then they begin jockeying for the prime spot just in front of the boat’s stem. It’s a thrill to watch their speed and their agility.

Here’s a little complication of a few of the amazing experiences we’ve had with surfing Dalls porpoises.

1/1

Verney Falls in August

A black bear waits at Verny Falls for salmonWhen we enter Nettle Basin on our Southbound Inside Passage cruise between Ketchikan and Bellingham, we always hope we’ll find bears at Verney Falls. In mid-August the salmon come home to spawn here and the bears come for the feast.

Nettle Basin, at the base of the falls will be alive with hundreds of splashing salmon. Sometimes we’ll kayak right up to the waterfall to watch eagles, ravens, and bears feeding on the salmon. It’s exciting to watch bears fishing but I’ve often found myself more mesmerized by the great schools of salmon that gather in the pool at the base of the waterfall. When they jump, it sends a splash of water on to me and my kayak and as they swim their fins cut the surface like sharks.

There’s a lot of energy packed into in this small space. It’s nature’s raw energy of life and survival. I find myself rooting for both the fish and the bears, and I root for the eagles and the ravens too. It’s easy to get caught up in the drama at the waterfall, it’s why we like to come here.

-Christine

Watching whales in the Inside Passage

Whale watching on a 12-day inside passage small ship cruise
Humpback whales at Dundas Island on a 12-Day Inside Passage Cruise

On the second day of one of our southbound Learn to Cruise trips, we came across these two humpback whales foraging near the shore of Dundas Island. As they foraged we stayed a respectful distance to make sure we didn’t disturb them, but we were close enough that with binoculars and a good camera lens we got to see the individual markings on their flukes (tails) when they dove.  When they surfaced, we could see the baleen in their mouths that they use to strain the fish or krill that they were eating.

humpback whale watching on a small ship cruise in the Inside Passage and Great Bear Rainforest
Humpback whales with mouth’s wide open

It was fascinating to watch. The whales would often surface close to shore and my guess is that they were probably using the rocks underwater to help school their prey. We stayed with the whales for 20-30 minuets before heading on to Prince Rupert. Besides these two humpback whales we saw two others, several harbor seals, lots of different sea birds, and many bald eagles.

-Christine

Project Management Mastery – The Inside Passage Project

New Project Management Course Offered on the David B

Captain Jeffrey Smith | M/V David B | Learn to Cruise | Inside PassageCheetah Learning Services has partnered with Northwest Navigation Co, to offer a unique new project management certification course. This course, Project Management Mastery – The Inside Passage Project recognizes that a long voyage requires a large amount of planning and strategy and yet it encapsulates all the concepts of Project Management with a strong emphasis on Risk Management and Team Building. The course is a 12-day voyage through the Inside Passage to Alaska and takes place aboard the Motor Vessel David B.

The instructor, Captain Jeffrey Smith will guide participants in learning to make real time decisions, and to play a part both as a member of the technical team producing the deliverables but also as a manager assessing the execution of the project/voyage as well. Cheetah Learning Service’s founder Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT, and Northwest Navigation’s Captain Jeffrey, developed the Project David B at the float in ButedaleManagement Mastery – The Inside Passage Project after Ms. LaBrosse attended his Learn to Cruise – Passage to Alaska course.

The concept behind Project Management Mastery– The Inside Passage Project is to utilize the skills that Captain Jeffrey Smith has acquired over 20 years as professional mariner in the context of project management so that the participant learns to engage his/her skills in planning, sourcing, risk management and team building.

Program Details

Project Management Mastery – The Inside Passage Project – 12-Days – Northbound
Dates:
May 7-18, 2016 – Bellingham, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska
May 6-17, 2017 – Bellingham, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska

Project Management Mastery – The Inside Passage Project – 12-Days – Southbound
Dates:
August 11-22, 2016 – Ketchikan, Alaska to Bellingham, Washington
August 10-21, 2017 – Ketchikan, Alaska to Bellingham, WashingtonLearn to Cruise the Inside Passage Project Management Course for PUDs

Credit: – 60 PDU or 6 CEU

Tuition: – $6200 USD

About Cheetah Learning Services:

Cheetah Learning – Headquartered in Carson City, Nevada, Cheetah Learning has training centers around the world and is a proven global leader in Project Management Performance Improvement and Project Manager Professional Development. Cheetah was founded in 1999 with the commitment to enable people to achieve significant bottom line improvements, fast.

I heart the David B

David B at Wood Spit on an Alaska Small Ship Cruise
Sand drawings at Wood Spit on an Alaska cruise

Our guests love the David B! Since we only take six guests on the boat per cruise, we work hard to make sure your time onboard the David B is unique, authentic, and special. I think that’s what makes our cruises in Alaska, the Inside Passage, and the San Juan Islands, so different from small ships that carry 50 or 60 passengers is that we get the time to know you as a person. On the David B, you are not just another passenger on another trip. We really do care about you and we really do hope you’ll join us!

-Christine

The David B is in WoodenBoat Magazine!

The David B in Wooden Boat MagazineWhen we first stared Northwest Navigation Co. and bought the David B in 1998 we often dreamed of seeing her restored. We also hoped that someday there would be an article about the David B in WoodenBoat magazine as that magazine has always been a source of inspiration. This was especially true during the toughest times of restoring the David B when the end seemed impossibly out of reach. When things were difficult we’d often pull out our favorite copy of WoodenBoat – issue #140 Feb/Jan 1998 which featured the restoration of a boat called the Eda Frandsen. Its owners had done a beautiful job rebuilding it, and just prior to her relaunching a fire nearly destroyed her. Somehow, that didn’t deter the Eda Franden’s owners and they kept going. Their story helped inspire us. If they could rebuild an old wooden boat (twice) and get through major obstacles, then we could too!

So, seventeen years later Jeffrey and I have finally made our dream of seeing the David B in WoodenBoat magazine come true. Just yesterday Issue #242 Jan/Feb 2015 arrived in my mailbox. As I tore open the packaging, I felt both the joy of accomplishment and the fear of criticism as I flipped through the magazine to my article. There it was on page 72. The head of the article has a beautiful picture of the David B at anchor in Fords Terror from one of our Alaska cruises a few years back. I scanned the article and hoped I still liked it. I did. The rest of the pictures were restoration photos. I sometimes forget how much work we did during those first years and reading the article reminded me of how far we’ve come with the David B  and how far we will continue to go as we spend our summers cruising in the Inside Passage and Alaska.

A New Season Begins

 



Sticking to it-

When we bought the David B in 1998, we knew that we’d be battling a lot of uncertainty. First we needed to rebuild the boat, a project which we initially thought would take two years, but instead took eight. Then we needed to learn how to run our business, get people’s attention, and fill up trips. At times figuring out how to get people to find us and come cruising with us has seemed like an impossible task. We struggled through the economic downturn by doing whatever we needed to do to keep advertising, paying the bills, and taking care of the boat.

Finally going into our ninth season, the David B is mostly full, and it looks like we’ll have our best season yet! We attribute this to our wonderful passengers who keep coming back and keep sharing their “secret getaway” with their friends and family, and that everyday that we’ve had the David B, we’ve stuck to our plan of offering the best nature cruises in the San Juan Islands, Inside Passage and Alaska. We still have a few spaces left for this summer, so hop on over to our website and have a look at our 2014 schedule.

A New Season-

David B Small Ship Alaska Cruises from Bellingham WAIt’s springtime and the David B is looking fantastic and we are getting more and more excited about our upcoming season. Over the winter we have been busy making the David B better than ever with several big improvements. The first is that we moved the exhaust from the back of the boat to the port side. This lead to the second big improvement — no exhaust pipe through the dining table!

To fill the space where the exhaust pipe used to go we commissioned a local artist/boat varnisher, Annie Patrick to create a new inlay piece for the dining table. She’s done an amazing job!

Below is a sneak peak at our first test-fitting of the inlay artwork. We can’t wait for you to see it in person!

David B Small Ship Alaska Cruises from Bellingham WA

Cruise Ideas in the Works-

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be meeting with a Bellingham winemaker and a local dive master for a couple of new and exciting trips in the San Juan Islands! We’re just starting to put our heads together on these cruises and we’ll have more information by mid-May. If you are interested in either a wine appreciation cruise or a scuba mothership cruise. Let us know! 

Something New-

Josh McInnes Alaska CruiseWe’re very excited to announce a special Alaska cruise for next summer 2015. We’ll be hosting Killer Whale researcher Josh McInnes as a guest naturalist aboard the David B. While we’ll be shifting the focus of this cruise to spend more time with whales, we’ll still be hiking, kayaking, tidewater glacier viewing, and looking for bears.

This trip will sell out.

For more information email us today!

Josh is currently working towards a graduate degree on transient killer whale. He is very interested in foraging and diet studies and the ecological relationship exhibited by prey. Besides conducting research, Josh has been a whale watch guide throughout British Columbia and was recently interviewed for the upcoming documentary Fragile Waters. He is also conducting independent research on killer whales with a small group of volunteers. We’re looking forward to having Josh on board and to the new insights on killer whales he brings through his research. We hope you’ll join in on this new trip.

As always,feel free to call us toll-free call at 877-670-7863or send an email.We’d love to hear from you!

Christine & Jeffrey Smith

Don’t miss the boat! Call 360-201-8184 or email us to book your space.View our 2014 schedule.

Read the award winning story about how Captain Jeffrey and Christine rebuilt the M/V David B
Cruising on theDavid B

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