Join Captain Ron and Ashley on the Small Ship Zephyr for a multi day cruise in the San Juan islands. We have berthing for up to 10 adults. The Zephyr is a very stout, Pilot and Research Vessel converted to a passenger boat.
Our customizable itinerary includes pickup in Friday Harbor (other pickup locations optional) a multi day cruise through the islands with wildlife viewing, anchoring out in scenic bays, kayaking, nature trail hiking, rides in our skiff looking for Orcas or seals, and of course just relaxing on the boat, taking in the fresh air. We can customize a trip just for you.
Important things to note: For everyone's comfort and safety, Zephyr is a no smoking vessel. Well behaved and supervised children 13 and older are welcome. Despite Washington state's liberal drug laws, Zephyr is on federal waters and is under federal law enforced by the US Coast Guard, therefore recreational drugs of any kind are "zero-tolerance" prohibited. Please, no pets, there is not a place aboard for them to "go". There will be no exceptions to these rules. Thank you for understanding.
We have numerous possible itineraries for our travels and can customize them as well. Bring binoculars and a camera for sure, walking shoes for hikes on the islands if you're up for that, and a jacket for zipping around on our 21' skiff. 5 kayaks are available for paddling. It's possible to see porpoises, whales, eagles, sea lions, and a plethora of other wildlife. Price listed includes time aboard Zephyr, pickup and dropoff in Friday Harbor, fuel, skiff rides and kayaks, plus crew, basic meals and soft drinks. Extended run distances, alternate pick-up & drop-off locations, custom menu, moorage costs at marinas (we normally anchor out, marina moorage can be as much as $250/night) and other expenses will be at additional cost. Alcohol is BYOB, we do not have the licensing to serve alcohol, feel free to bring your own and we will keep it cold for you.
Folks like to ask about boat movement, with concern about sea sickness. Be assured, the Zephyr weighs in at over 130 Tons and movement is minimal. Still, we are on a boat and some movement is expected during transits and while at anchor.
Our nighttime generator is uber quiet, fully enclosed, double rubber isolation mounted and a water filled exhaust for a noise-free sleeping experience.
Our water maker & hot water tank will allow for daily showers for our guests, just not all at the same time.
The heads are water efficient flush toilets.
The boarding ladder and top bunks can be a challenge to climb into for less than agile folks. Zephyr guests should be able and mobile.
Zephyr is equipped with all required USCG safety gear and equipment, including a SOLAS 16 person life raft, modern electronic navigation systems, efficient LED lighting, a watermaker and many other amenities.
Zephyr is also a working vessel, she has recently been at sea working as a range clearance vessel for US Navy Nuclear Submarine sea trials and for DARPA as a research vessel doing science experiments with underwater acoustics. If our calendar is blocked, it is typically because we are under contract.
Originally built for the San Francisco Bar Pilots, Zephyr's job was to safely transport pilots out to the large deep draft commercial ships so they could have a guide with local knowledge direct the crew to bring the vessel in. Zephyr's name then, was the P/V (for Pilot Vessel) San Francisco and she was one of two boats that alternated duty on rotation. In 2001, P/V San Francisco was re-christened R/V Zephyr and given a new mission. After nearly 30 years of faithful service, the SF Bar Pilots donated her to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to be converted into a oceanic research vessel. MBARI spared no expense converting and improving Zephyr for her new mission and added two utility hydraulic cranes to her back deck, two new generators, electronic engine control systems, modern navigational electronics and many other upgrades and improvements. She was also repainted from her original red pilot vessel colors to blue/white. The R/V Zephyr roamed the deep waters off of Monterey bay and even made several long research trips up to Vancouver Island and down to Baja Mexico and into the Sea of Cortez.
The Zephyr is powered by twin Caterpillar D343T 6 cylinder diesel engines. The electrical power comes from one of three generators, our two main gens are John Deere powered Northern Lights 40 Kilowatt units and a third Northern lights 12KW for use while anchored and at night.+ More