Marine Link Tours Sailing Routes
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Red - Broughton Island Archipelago Area
After departing Menzies Bay, the Aurora Explorer makes her way north through Seymour Narrows, Discovery Passage and Johnstone Strait calling at isolated villages and camps along the way. Passengers enjoy spectacular scenery and unparalleled wildlife viewing that often includes porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions and eagles. This route takes us through Chatham Channel, past Minstrel Island, and into the endless maze of channels and islands that form the Broughton Archipelago. With freight opportunities dictating our actual “ports of call”, the Aurora Explorer often travels deep into the coastal fjords, branching off from the Broughton Archipelago into Knight Inlet, Kingcome Inlet, Wakeman Sound, Mackenzie Sound and Drury Inlet to complete her freight deliveries. Knight Inlet, the longest and most spectacular of all of our coastal fjords, represents all that is majestic about coastal British Columbia. Whenever freight volumes allow, traveling past Cascade Head (where a waterfall plunges over 800 feet directly into the ocean), passengers are given the opportunity to view towering granite cliffs rising directly from the shore into magnificent hanging valleys with 4000 metre peaks forming a snowcapped backdrop. With patience and keen observation, mountain goats may be seen on the granite ledges, and grizzly bears and black bears can be seen feeding on spawning salmon at the numerous river deltas. Occasionally, the Aurora Explorer has the good fortune to visit the more distant and isolated Seymour Inlet system. This routing takes the Aurora Explorer through the narrow confines of Schooner Channel that lead to Slingsby Channel, Nakwakto Rapids and the legendary “Tremble Island”. Returning home, the Aurora Explorer makes every effort to stop near the historical first nations villages of Mamalilaculla and Karlukwees. Near the end of our adventure, the Aurora Explorer is known to be a regular visitor at Yorke Island, the sobering historical military site that housed WW II artillery defenses.
Sample Itinerary: actual routing will be determined by freight available at time of sailing.
Purple - Discovery Islands
The Aurora Explorer departs Menzies Bay and typically cruises northward through Seymour Narrows. Passing over the infamous “Ripple Rock”, she works her way up Discovery Passage into the maze of islands and mainland inlets, with possible stops in Loughborough Inlet, Cordero Channel, Blind Channel, Phillips Arm, Sonora Island and Stuart Island. The Aurora Explorer may then cruise up spectacularly scenic Bute Inlet with stops along the way, possibly reaching the head of the inlet, where the Homathko River and the Southgate River both empty into opposite sides of Waddington Harbour. The upper reaches of the inlet provide a vista of steep granite bluffs, numerous hanging valleys, cascading waterfalls, glimpses of the Homathko Ice field near Mt. Grenville (3109 m) and other glaciers in the surrounding mountain ranges. When the salmon are running the Aurora Explorer often stops at world famous Orford River to view the Grizzly Bears feeding at the mouth of the river. Freight deliveries usually take us into Toba Inlet and the Desolation Sound area, often providing us with opportunities to explore Teakerne Arm, Mittlenatch Island, Savary Island, Copeland Islands, Mansons Landing, Spilsbury Point on Hernando Island, and other places of coastal interest before returning home to Campbell River via Cape Mudge on the Southern tip of Quadra Island.
Please Note: Passengers are reminded that the Aurora Explorer is an actual working freight boat. Delivery of freight and the securing of additional freight opportunities will dictate the routing and the timetable of the vessel. While every effort is made to provide time in the schedule for our guests to disembark from the vessel for sightseeing, exploring or other recreational activities, such stops are not guaranteed. Actual cruise routing as described above may vary depending on freight opportunities, weather conditions and tidal restraints. Conditions of Carriage apply. Please refer to the reverse side of the cruise application form that will be mailed to persons making a booking.
Annual Weather and Conditions and Best Times to Go:
March, April and May - cooler weather but the waterfalls and snowcaps are spectacular. Less fog and few bugs.
June - usually warmer; can be wet and foggy. Better weather for exploring and getting out and about with the longer days of sunlight.
July and August - lounge out on deck and soak up the sunshine, however there may be fog at times. Best months for spotting whales and porpoises.
September - usually reasonably warm, may be some fog; harvest moons at the head of inlets may be spectacular. Best month for viewing bears.
October - cooler; waterfalls and snowcaps return, mists and colours of autumn provide contrasting west coast vistas.