Sailing aboard the S/V Nawalak is about escaping the crowds and exploring the quiet beaches and pristine islands of the northwest. In our tours, we share with you, the gems and secrets we’ve discovered in our 30+ years of sailing these amazing waterways.
THE SAN JUANS & GULF ISLANDS
Tours begin and end on Orcas Island
The unique beauty and sunny weather of Washingtons San Juan Islands have been famous for generations. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, the nearly 200 unique islands get about half the rainfall of Seattle. The alluring charm of this archipelago is expressed both in its natural landscapes, and its diverse wildlife – above and below the water. Grass and moss carpeted hillsides give way to graceful madronas and sculpted firs. Wildflowers fill the meadows in spring and early summer. The occasional sand or gravel beach is punctuated by whimsically shaped sandstone, beckoning the kids to explore. Rich emerald waters yield fish for the grill, crab and prawns for a shore-side feast. Three groups of orca whales call the islands home during the year, chasing the salmon that migrate through. Eagles perch in shore-side trees, and a variety of seabirds cruise the bays and channels, diving for fish. Protected park land abounds with several islands devoted entirely to the marine explorer. A large variety of trails provide great opportunities for discovery. A sunny overlook, a hidden cove, a quaint one-room school house, or an abandoned lighthouse are among the myriad treasures to be found. Local artists galleries, restaurants, and elegant resorts with spas lend variety on the bigger islands.
With a two hour sail to the north, the Canadian Gulf Islands take up where the San Juans leave off. Similarly beautiful in topography and weather, they provide a quieter, even more relaxed experience. Myriad peaceful coves, madrona-clad sandstone bluffs, and mossy woodland trails invite adventurers. As in the San Juans, many sandy beaches lay thickly fringed with white shells; the telltale evidence of ancient village sites of the seafood eating Coast Salish people. Relax with us in a protected anchorage while one of the famous sunsets caps another memorable day. For more information, see our schedule or our information request page.
Highlights of this tour can include:
. mild, sunny weather
. great hiking
. orca whale watching
. salmon fishing
. interesting seaside villages
. restaurants, local artist galleries, shops
. variety of marine parks, protected areas
GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST/INSIDE PASSAGE
Sailing beween Orcas Island and Bella Bella BC
Endowed with a vast, intricate web of islands, bays, and waterways, one could spend a lifetime exploring here. These tours focus on the portion from the San Juans through the Gulf Islands, and into the Great Bear Rainforest, or the reverse.
Feel yourself easing into a simpler, richer life, as you sail deep into the homeland of the grizzly, whale, wolf, salmon, and the culture that lived in balance with them for thousands of years. The vibrant, healing beauty of this little-known treasure speaks directly to your soul. We bring you to the beautiful, less-traveled areas of the Great Bear Rainforest-Inside Passage-away from the crowds, and the other charter companies!
As we head north from the San Juans we begin to enter the enchanted land of the Gulf Islands, with elegantly sculpted sandstone shorelines and white shell beaches. Heading further north we soon behold the majesty of Desolation Sound – thought by many to be the premier yachting destination in the Northwest for its scenic fjords, mountains, warm water, and serene lakes. From there we enter the intricate Broughton Archipeligo-visiting ancient abandoned First Nations villiage sites with totem poles lying on the forest floor, and thousands of years of layered shell midden clearly visible. Then we truly enter the ancient, primal wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest-the last large stand of coastal temperate rainforest left on the planet. With towering granite peaks, spectacular fiords, lush, untouched cedar forests, and myriads of wildlife, this is a rare nature experience that will indelibly transform you!
Highlights of this tour can include:
. wildlife watching– humpback, orca, and porpoise and dolphins, grizzly and black bear, occasionally wolves
. visiting ancient native sites
. warm saltwater swimming (Desolation Sound)
• excellent sailing
• visiting remote seaside villages
© 2016 Emerald Isle Sailing Charters.
All rights reserved.
Photos © Emerald Isle Sailing Charters or © Ian McAllister. All rights reserved.
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