Cruise the Sheltered Waters of the Salish Sea, the World's Best Place to See Orcas
In the inland channels of the Salish Sea, marine life flourishes. Pods of sleek orcas cruise in search of salmon off our bow. Seals break the surface to watch us with bright eyes as we paddle kayaks alongside. Humpback whales breach into the air, landing with a mighty splash.
Along this maze of protected sounds and fjords, thick forests blanket coastal mountains in deep evergreen. Bald eagles perch atop firs and cedars to survey the scattered islands, strewn like emeralds in the sapphire sea. Though an international boundary crosses it, the Salish Sea is a single ecosystem that includes Washington’s San Juan Islands as well as Canada's Gulf Islands and the Strait of Georgia. Aboard our small expedition ship, journey into this wild realm that is the ancient home of the Coast Salish people who have lived in harmony with its natural bounty for millennia.
- Active AdventuresKayak, hike and cruise by expedition landing craft to explore rocky coastlines and observe rich marine life in the San Juans, Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound
- World's Best Orca WatchingLook for plentiful orcas in Johnstone Strait off Vancouver Island—the best place on the planet to see them, often at close range
- Experience Coastal CultureComplement your nature immersion with the art, stories and dance performances of First Nations peoples in Alert Bay, and enjoy BC's British heritage in delightful Victoria
Sail with the World Leader in Small-Ship Conservation-Focused Cruising
We’re proud to offer this journey as part of a worldwide slate of Adventure Cruises through our partner Lindblad Expeditions. Nat Hab joined forces with Lindblad in 2016 to expand our mutual collection of nature adventures. Founded in 1958 by Lars-Eric Lindblad, the company pioneered eco-conscious expeditions for “citizen explorers" and today is the world leader in conservation-focused small-ship cruises.
- Small Ships for Closer Nature Encounters
Lindblad's expedition ships offer an intimate, up-close experience of the intricate coastline and myriad islands of northwest Washington and southwest BC The small size of our expedition vessel —the National Geographic Sea Bird, carrying just 62 guests — grants us access to narrow fjords and secluded bays that big cruise ships can’t reach, while full stabilization and state-of-the-art technology provide supremely safe passage. Guests also enjoy personal encounters with naturalists, guides and crew.
- Tap More than a Half-Century of Maritime Expertise
As pioneers in commercial expedition cruising, Lindblad draws upon more than 50 years of experience, assuring a safe and thorough immersion in the world’s wildest and most remote natural marine environments.
- Travel with Experts Who Are Northwest Nature Specialists
A knowledgeable team of interpreters will vastly enhance your appreciation of the natural and cultural history of this region that's so rich in both. Each voyage includes a senior Expedition Leader,
assistantExpedition Leader, a team of veteran naturalists, an undersea specialist, expert guest speakers, a video chronicler and a wellness specialist. You'll hear from a diverse slate of speakers including wildlife biologists, marine scientists andhistorians. A photo instructor certified by National Geographic is also on board to help you get outstanding photos of the verdant landscapes and wildlife.
- Varied Off-Ship Activities Offer New Adventures Every Day
A slate of adventures led by naturalist guides reveals the magnificent scenery and abundant wildlife of the Salish Sea region. Motorized expedition landing craft
provideshore access, while a fleet of 24 double sea kayaks allows an eye-level look at marine life including seals, otters andorcas. The kayaks are top of the line for quality and stability, and even beginners will find that maneuvering them is not difficult—and instruction is provided. The Sea Bird also carries stand-up paddleboards for a quiet experience of calm coves and channels. Natualistguides also lead hikes and nature walks ashore.
- Exploration Tools Provide an Immersive Experience
In addition to Sea Bird's expedition landing craft, kayaks and paddleboards, the ship travels with a suite of additional tools that bring the experience of nature even closer, in exceptional detail. Via hydrophone, listen to the vocalizations of orcas and humpback whales, with real-time transmissions of their eerie, high-pitched sounds broadcast through the ship. An undersea specialist will dive often to shoot high-definition footage of creatures that live below the surface, including colorful nudibranchs, plant-like crinoids and mysterious fish with antifreeze blood that thrive in these cold waters. A Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) capable of diving to 1,000 feet parts of the undersea world inaccessible to any scuba diver. A video microscope further helps Sea Bird's naturalist staff explain all elements of the environment, including tiny organisms that are the building block of the marine ecosystem.
- We’re Committed to the Planet
Natural Habitat Adventures is a standard-setter in eco-conscious travel. We were the world’s first 100-percent carbon-neutral travel company. And we continue to break ground in adopting practices that help protect our global environment. Because of our concern for the environment, we are pleased to partner with Lindblad Expeditions for our Adventure Cruises, a company that shares our values and commitment to the planet.
- Natural Habitat Adventures is WWF's Travel Partner
Because of our environmental commitment and the outstanding quality of our adventures, World Wildlife Fund has chosen Natural Habitat Adventures as its worldwide travel partner, a designation we’re very proud of! When you book your Lindblad Expeditions cruise with us, a portion of your trip fee supports WWF.