The Salish Sea & Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
The Salish Sea is a magical world – and one of the most biologically productive and beautiful regions on the planet. Snowcapped peaks ring a richly productive inland sea that is fed by dozens of salmon-bearing rivers and the cold Pacific ocean that sweeps in twice every day.
Chains of hundreds of mediterranean islands strew across it. Some islands grow cacti, some great rainforests, and others host white shell beaches and meadows of wildflowers. The waters are critical habitat for a huge diversity of fish, marine mammals, invertebrates, birds and marine plants.
It is one of North America’s rarest and most endangered landscapes: temperate, diverse and home to the largest salmon runs on the continent. And it visibly showcases a fascinating geological history of tectonic shift, ice rivers and melting rock.
The abundant marine life has supported humans here since time immemorial. The Salish peoples have used and know every inch of this world, and evidence is everywhere, from pretty shell midden beaches to clam gardens or arrowheads in fields, to stories and today’s villages. On some trips we are fortunate to have a Salish storyteller on the crew, who shares the original names and stories of the land with our guests.
The region inspires artists, artisans and culinary pioneers and is known for its food and wine and also for its role in the renaissance of craft beer in North America.
It inspires us, too, in all of these ways, which is why we operate boutique expedition cruises here.
Some people think they’ve “done” the Salish Sea or Gulf Islands if they’ve visited Victoria and Salt Spring Island. They’ve seen only the tiniest, most human-impacted snippet. Our trips leave off where the road ends …and delves into an odyssey through geologic and human timescales, alongside sculpted sandstone shorelines, moist rainforests and eagles soaring along rocky bluffs….