The Inside Passage stretches for more than 1,000 miles, but numerous fjords, bays, and coves give it many more miles of shoreline; for example, the section that borders Canada’s British Columbia has more than 25,000 miles of shoreline. Here’s what to watch for as you cruise through.
The Georgia Straight, part of the Salish Sea, lies between Vancouver Island (not to be confused with the city of Vancouver) and the mainland of British Columbia. At least 15 miles wide at all points, the strait has the feeling of an inland sea. Depending on when you cruise, you might spot great blue herons; bull kelp, which has amazingly long stalks that can grow up to two feet per day; or black oystercatcher birds with bright orange bills.
At the north end of Georgia Straight, ships sail into Discovery Passage and on to the Johnstone Strait, a narrower strait that threads between the eastern edge of Vancouver Island and the coastal islands of British Columbia. Be sure to watch for a pod of about 150 orca whales that live in the strait during the summer.
North of Johnstone Strait, your ship will sail through Queen Charlotte Strait, which is more open to the Pacific, and into Queen Charlotte Sound. If you’re on a smaller ship, you might explore FitzHugh Sound and part of the beautiful Dean Channel.
Then, it’s on to Hecate Sound, which lies between the mainland and Haida Gwaii (islands of the Haida People, formerly known as Queen Charlotte Islands). The islands have been the heart of the Haida Nation for more than 17,000 years, with rich traditions of sailing, weaving, carving and jewelry making.
At the Dixon Entrance, you’ll say goodbye to the Canadian portion of the Inside Passage and continue into the Alaskan portion, sailing toward Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau and Glacier Bay.
To explore itineraries that will sail you through the Inside Passage, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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