Archipelago Cruises have been on my radar since many years ago when I listened with excitement to an enthusiastic recounting of friend’s sunset journey with Toddy and Alan. At the time, we were exploring the Broken Group Islands off Ucluelet, and as a result of four wonderful days kayaking in that beautiful area, I was determined to get in there again, but had wondered about a means that would better suit my husband. Archipelago Cruises’ large yacht was the answer. After years of yearning, in earlyish July 2013 we were at last on board and heading down Ucluelet Inlet past places off the beaten track that are now on our next road trip’s must-do list. En route to the archipelago, a grey whale was busy foraging and allowed us plenty of photo ops from a respectful distance. Further on, a family of orca was snuffling through seaweed in search of lurking salmon. On entering the Broken Group, our heads were on swivels as we marvelled at these enticing islands, each a treasure and many with shell-midden beaches fronted by almost tropically hued water (on sunny days). Anchored in a pretty cove, we enjoyed a delicious, locally catered lunch served at tables cleverly set out on the upper deck. (Reserve on board enough in advance to ensure your choice of meal.) On the return trip, someone spotted a black bear on a beach. It disappeared into bush by the time others turned to look, but our skipper idled the engine, allowing everyone to hope actually, that the bear would pop out at the next beach--which it eventually did, to a muted chorus of delight and raised cameras. Not long after, we witnessed a tricky sea rescue--of someone's hat, which had leaped overboard in the wind. Toddy and Alan are readily accessible to answer questions or just chat. They provide every comfort and need for their guests. There is lots of room on board for everyone to roam about. This long-awaited exploration with Archipelago Cruises surpassed our imaginings. Other companies offer daytrips from Ucluelet, but I wholeheartedly recommend Toddy and Alan’s enterprise because they own and skipper the well-appointed, very comfortable and sprucely maintained “Raincoast Maiden”, have long and intimate personal knowledge and experience of the region, and allow time in the schedule for guests to thoroughly enjoy whatever might come along.
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