Our final day of exploring the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest! It has been an incredible journey and we took a final chance to fill our memories and camera cards to capacity. An exploratory day, we began by arriving to Wallace Island. An islet not far from Nanaimo, British Columbia and a Canadian provincial park we landed ashore at the dock and took walks along the trails to discover some of the old resort history there. Some were fortunate enough to see mink and otter, while others were quite happy to find sea stars in the intertidal area. The afternoon saw National Geographic Venture reposition to De Courcy Island where a final opportunity to kayak was offered, as well as walks ashore. It has been a beautiful adventure and the Pacific Northwest has certainly worked its way into everyone’s heart.
National Geographic Venture
We concluded our expedition in the Pacific Northwest by exploring picturesque Sucia Island, one of the many islands that make up the San Juan Archipelago. Comprised entirely of sedimentary rock and nearly entirely forested, it provided a perfect setting for our last operations of the week. Setting out in almost all directions on the well-manicured trails of this State Park, and from the driftwood strewn beach, we launched our kayaks in the protected waters of Shallow Bay. Still others set out by Zodiac to examine the many nooks and crannies of the shoreline and witness the current and windswept seas bringing productivity to the fish and birds that call these waters home. After wrapping up our morning outings we set out in search of wildlife, cruising the many channels that wind their way through the various islands in the Salish Sea. As luck would have it, we came across a group of 9 Biggs (transient) killer whales. These largest members of the dolphin family are common in these waters but are constantly on the move in search of prey such as harbor seals, porpoises, and Steller sea lions. It would appear this tight-knit family group had just recently made a kill as they were being very playful at times, breaching, tail lobbing, and spy hopping, as well as rolling along the surface in close contact with each other, likely portioning their recent kill. It was a truly grand performance and an iconic and fitting conclusion to our expedition in this rich and diverse area of the world.