West Redonda Island and Desolation Sound, 10/12/2022, National Geographic Venture
National Geographic Venture
Today was a gloriously sunny, beautiful day in the Salish Sea. We spent the morning cruising to West Redonda Island, on the lookout for our next adventure. We found an inlet and came upon swarms of moon jellies swimming in the calm, protected waters. We began our hiking adventure to Black Lake, where we took in the serenity of the calm lake water and captured the beautiful fall-colored reflections.
After our morning adventures, we continued our travels north with stunning weather and mountainous scenery. Just east of the Campbell River, a lone humpback surfaced and proceeded to lunge feed in the rich waters. As the sun was setting, a pod of northern resident orca whales came to join the hunt and proceeded to feed on the autumn salmon run near the opening of the river. They worked together to provide for all pod members, including the young calves, who were busy exuberantly breaching out of the water. Another wonderful day on National Geographic Venture, complete with a picturesque sunset and whales frolicking in the sea around us.
Elisabeth grew up in the beautiful blue and green wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. Her love of animals and nature developed from a childhood of traveling the world with her family, and adopting homeless animals, but it was after first experiencin...
On our final day aboard National Geographic Venture , we visited Sucia Island and explored its incredible geology and fossils. Formed through thousands and thousands of years of sediment accumulation from glacial silt washing downstream, Sucia Island is home to stunning sandstone sculptures and fossils trapped in time. Located on the northern part of the San Juan Islands, Sucia Island is home to various marine mammals and seabirds alike, with harbor seal haul-outs, gulls, and great blue herons galore. The morning was spent kayaking and taking Zodiacs around the “dirty” waters that give the island its name. Despite the rain, spirits were high, and the feeling of adventure and excitement continued as it has all week. Too bad we will not be back soon to discover all the fungi and mycelium networks that flourished from today’s rainfall! Our afternoon and evening featured hiking to Fossil Beach to observe traces of the ancient life that once thrived in this region. With emotional and pun-filled recaps, a final delicious dinner, and one last trip down memory lane during our guest slideshow, we couldn’t have asked for a better voyage to complete our Pacific Northwest itinerary. What a treat!
After days of sunshine and warm temperatures, the “raincoast” delivered some authentic fall weather today. The day started with a thick fog as we cruised into Friday Harbor and cleared Customs. By the time we reached Lime Kiln Lighthouse on the west side of San Juan Island, the fog had lifted, giving us picturesque views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca with Vancouver Island silhouetted along the horizon. We were able to tour the gorgeous lighthouse that, in addition to still being operational, serves as an interpretive spot for the southern resident orca whales that frequent the area. In recent years, this unique population of whales has shrunk to 73 individuals due to a variety of reasons, especially decreased salmon populations. In the evening, two members of the Center for Whale Research came aboard to discuss their most recent findings and what must be done to ensure that these intelligent and charismatic animals continue to populate these waters for generations. The San Juan Islands are also home to a little-known piece of U.S./U.K. history. Known as the Pig War, a nonviolent confrontation over the border took place between the two countries. It was settled after much dispute. For twelve years, American and British camps occupied opposite sides of the island until an arbitrator ruled in favor of the Americans, and the border was drawn in Haro Strait, west of San Juan Island. The sites of the two camps are now national parks, and the eerie fog that drifted up the treeless hills added to the overall environment, reminding us that, despite the dry weather, fall and Halloween are right around the corner.
National Geographic Venture docked on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in Victoria, British Columbia just after 8:00 a.m. this morning. The capital city of British Columbia was named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and, at the time, British North America. Founded in 1843, it is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. Known as the “Garden City,” Victoria enjoys a mild maritime climate and is famous for both public and private gardens, which help keep it consistently ranked in the top twenty cities worldwide for quality of life. During the ‘Secret Garden’ tour, guests explored the British Royal Family’s grounds and immaculate gardens. Stunning redwood trees greeted us upon entry, soaring to the sky. The final two gardens were viewed after a recharge stop for coffee and pastries. Time only permitted a maximum of two activities, and there were plenty to choose from. A local historian led a walking tour through downtown Victoria, highlighting the importance of the buildings around us and how they came to be. Some guests donned helmets and saw the city by bicycle, ending at the area’s tallest totem. Still others enjoyed Victoria with a First Nations cultural tour, eating bannock and smoked salmon with Sharon. While staff joined in the fun by touring the city in the morning, the undersea team had a different idea for the afternoon. It seemed no Lindblad dive team had ever explored the underwater area just outside of town. The only barriers to penetrating the waters of Victoria turned out to be time and travel. To overcome the travel barrier, our dedicated dive team pushed a cart nearly a mile to the breakwaters in hopes of helping our guests understand a bit more about what is going on beneath the water in Victoria. While the secrets of what was seen will stay a secret until tomorrow, I can tell you it was a rather incredible scuba dive! We did our best to help everyone conserve a little energy for the cherry on top of our whirlwind visit: a private cocktail hour and viewing of the Robert Bateman Gallery. Robert Bateman has been a longtime friend of Lindblad expeditions, even hosting guests in his private home in the early days. While sampling some delicious sparkling rosé and munching on mushroom-topped chickpea cakes, guests were dazzled as they learned more about the artwork and the artist.