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Preparations for a New Year

David B in Glacier BayThere have been a handful of times we’ve waited out a storm while tucked into some comfy cove. As the storm blows through, the gusts of wind pull on the anchor chain and the boat swings. Sometimes a gust will blow so hard it yanks the boat with a big shake. As the storm rages, we shelter at anchor and watch the wind speed. We check to make sure the anchor holds. We wait. We watch. We play cards. We bake cookies. We ride out the storm.

Eventually the wind calms, and the skies begin to clear. This past year has felt like one long storm that won’t ever let up. At times we’ve wondered if our figurative anchor would hold. But now there are days where it feels like the storm is just beginning to ease and the skies are starting to clear. Sure, there are still big gusts out there that can blow us around but that won’t stop us from planning for this new year.

Our 2021 season is scheduled to begin on April 22 with our sold-out northbound Learn to Cruise from our home port in Bellingham to Ketchikan. As we look ahead we’re excited to once again see we have a busy season in front of us. Over the last few months, we’ve been working on lots of big and small projects. Jeffrey recently completed a realignment of the engine and replaced a couple of bearings on the thrust shaft. Next month, we will be hauling out and we plan to have a new rudder installed, so in some ways it all seems normal. But the virus is still with us and it’s still a consideration as we plan for the new season.

We are updating our COVID-19 policies regarding vaccinations, travel to the boat, hotel stays, deposits, and reservations. We’re hoping that vaccines will be widely available so that people who want to travel with us can be vaccinated. Nevertheless, we might have to fall back on the COVID-19 policies we put into place for the 2020 season, which we found to be effective. Because the situation continues to change rapidly we will continue to keep you informed.

In the meantime, we will continue to prepare for 2021 and we look forward to seeing you in the near future.

Stay well,

-Christine

PS – If you have any questions about any of our trips in Alaska, the San Juan Islands, or the Inside Passage, send Sarah, an email or give her a call at 360-474-7218.

Video Highlights from our 2018 Northbound Learn to Cruise to Alaska Trip

We love the Inside Passage. It has beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife. From our homeport in Bellingham, Washington, the Inside Passage is a maze of narrow channels, steep fjords, and a wonderland of waterfalls. Every year we offer this trip to people looking for a chance to learn the ins-and-outs of the Inside Passage, from the best anchorages to timing open water crossings, and tidal rapids. If you think this sounds like something you’d be interested in check out our Learn to Cruise webpage.

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