Georgia Strait and the Gulf Islands

Sep 12, 2017 - National Geographic Quest


The Gulf Islands are just a bit north of America’s San Juan Islands. Sitting in the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains, this area gets severely less rain than its western sister islands, but remains cooler in the summer and winter than the San Juans. These islands are geologically of interest – they are made of sandstone that has been folded over itself and lifted out of the sea.

Wallace Island is a linear strip of land situated just past an inlet boasting an incredible array of currents. These boiling, twisting, shifting bodies of water make for a very interesting navigation through the narrow passage.  National Geographic Quest’s Captain Graves did an amazing job carefully putting the ship exactly where he wanted her, and we safely anchored at our intended destination. Upon our landing, conditions were excellent. The sun was shining and jackets shed, exposing skin in great need of vitamin D. Hikers took off from the landing, going a variety of directions. The long hikers headed out towards the point, a 2.5 mile hike to a fantastic view.  Medium hikers meandered in the same direction, taking time to enjoy a long forgotten old store, which has since been marked by travelers visiting the island. Short hikers took off the other way, towards a promising “Princess Cove.” The most intrepid among guests, staff, and crew, decided to bring their swimsuits ashore to enjoy the phenomenal weather, if time would allow. At the culmination of each hike, a few people took off their light hiking gear and waded (or jumped) into the Salish Sea. This water is about 48 degrees Fahrenheit, not balmy but nice for a warm summer day.

Hot, cool, or somewhere in between guests made their way back to the ship’s cozy quarters, to prepare for the trip’s final Recap. With a drink in hand and a smile on their faces, they watched and listened as the natural history staff offered final notes to the beautiful area in which we’ve been sailing. 

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About the Author

Alyssa Adler

Undersea Specialist

Originally from Oregon, Alyssa has always had a strong relationship with nature and the outdoors. In search of a life full of adventure, she found her passion for the ocean while studying at Oregon State University. She graduated in 2012 with a B.Sc. in marine biology, a minor in chemistry, and a PADI divemaster certification. The year following graduation included extensive traveling and diver training, gaining experience in Greece’s Ionian Sea, the Caribbean waters of Honduras and Bonaire, and the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.

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