Northwest Explorations, the full-service adventure yacht company in Bellingham, Washington, just announced that they still have some openings left on their flotillas in Alaska this spring and summer.
For many years, the company has organized flotillas up the Inside Passage to Alaska, but the border to Canada is still closed because of the Covid pandemic. If the border reopens, Northwest Explorations will hold a cruise to Princess Louisa starting June 18, and another to Desolation Sound on Sept. 24.
But for now, it is organizing cruises that do not leave the state of Alaska. The first, from May 18 to May 31, is from Ketchikan, which has a big airport, to Sitka, offering some of the best cruising in Southeast Alaska. The itinerary includes some remote wilderness anchorages and visits to quintessential Alaska fishing towns, including a stop at Myers Chuck (which is so small that it really isn’t a town), where you definitely want to order one of the homemade sticky buns delivered to your boat in the morning.
The boats still available for that leg are an Offshore 64, Grand Banks 52, Grand Banks 47, and three Grand Banks 46s. Northwest Explorations offers private charters in addition to its flotillas, and its fleet includes a variety of powerboats. But it specializes in Grand Banks; indeed, it says it is the only authorized Grand Banks charter company in the world.
Other legs of the Alaska flotillas this summer go from Sitka to Juneau, then back to Sitka, followed by a circumnavigation of Baranof Island (leaving from Sitka and returning to Sitka), and another trip up to Juneau.
The flotillas are popular among veteran and less-than-veteran cruisers because they offer safety in numbers. They are planned and led by experienced captains and crew from Northwest Explorations who have done this many times before. You cruise in a group, with planned stops every night and excursions on shore that highlight the best of the natural beauty of this part of the world.
If you haven’t cruised in these water before, I highly recommend one of Northwest Explorations’ flotillas or private charters as a good way to start. For openers, the cruising grounds there are simply beautiful; I’ve gone over most of this territory in a variety of boats, including Grand Banks (although I somehow missed the sticky buns during my stay in Myers Chuck).
I also have a high regard for Northwest Explorations. I chartered a Grand Banks there, a sistership to my own boat in Connecticut, for a cruise in the San Juans several years ago, and the entire experience could not have been better. Read more: