The Aurora sails to two areas of the Inside Passage, The Broughton Archipelago and the Discovery Islands. As the Aurora is a working freight boat, actual cruise routing varies depending on freight opportunities, weather conditions and tidal restraints. Every sailing is unique, and routes can change up to and including sailing day (and sometimes even once the ship has sailed!) There is no guarantee that a specific island or inlet may be visited during a tour.
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 forestry, construction and aquaculture sights, isolated villages, sportfishing camps, wilderness lodges and recreational stops. Passengers enjoy spectacular scenery, wildlife viewing that often includes porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions and eagles. This route takes us through Chatham Channel, past Minstrel Island and up into the endless maze of channels and islands which 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. This could include travelling into spectacular McKenzie Sound, Kingcome Inlet, Wakeman Sounds, Drury Inlet or journey up Knight Inlet passing Cascade Head (where a waterfall plunges over 800 feet directly into the ocean) on this longest and most spectacular of coastal fjords.
Port HardyPort McNeill
Port McNeillSeymour Inlet
Seymour InletBroughton Archipelago
Broughton ArchipelagoKelsey Bay
Kelsey BayLoughborough Inlet
Loughborough InletKnight Inlet
Knight InletCampbell River
Towering granite cliffs rise directly from the shore into magnificent hanging valleys with 4,000 meter (13,000 foot) peaks forming a snow-capped backdrop. With patience and keen observation, mountain goats may be seen on the granite ledges and grizzly bears 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 will take the Aurora Explorer through the narrow confines of Schooner or Slingsby Channels that lead into the tidal rapids of Nakwakto Rapids and the legendary “Tremble Island”. Returning home, the captain and crew make every effort to stop near the historical first nations villages of Mamalilaculla and Karlukwees. Near the end of the adventure, the Aurora Explorer is known to be a regular visitor to Yorke Island, the sobering historical military site that housed WWII artillery defenses.
Discovery Islands Tours
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, Phillips Arm, Stuart Island and Sonora Island. The Aurora Explorer then proceeds up spectacularly scenic Bute Inlet with stops along the way, possibly reaching the head of the inlet, where the Homathko and Southgate Rivers 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 Icefield near Mt. Grenville (3109 m) and other glaciers in the surrounding mountain ranges.
Loughborough InletBute Inlet
Bute InletCampbell River
Campbell RiverDesolation Sound
Desolation SoundToba Inlet
Toba InletJervis Inlet
Jervis InletPowell River
When the salmon are running the Aurora Explorer often stops at the 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, where opportunities may rise to explore Teakerne Arm, Mittlenatch Island, Savary Island, Copeland Islands, Mansons Landing, Spilsbury Point on the Hernando Island, and other places of coastal interest before returning home to Campbell River via Cape Mudge on the Southern Tip of Quadra Island.