Sailing the San Juan Islands with Historian Stephen Dow Beckham

At this time, due to the evolving guidelines and requirements by health officials, as well as entry requirements into individual countries, participants on travel programs sponsored by Lewis & Clark’s Alumni and Parent Programs Office are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to the departure date of their enrolled program. To read more about our vaccination policy, please visit this page.

Cruising the Gulf Islands on the Historic Schooner Zodiac

Dates: September 29 - October 3, 2021

Feel the wind in your hair on a Two-Masted Gaff Topsail Schooner, while Professor Emeritus of History, Stephen Dow Beckham, describes the history of the San Juan Islands and the culture of the first people who live there. Join Professor Beckham, Lewis & Clark alumni, parents, and friends, exploring the magnificent waters of the San Juan Islands aboard the historic Schooner Zodiac!

Guests are encouraged to join the crew, helping to hoist the 7000 feet of sails. Try out the Zodiac’s kayaks or grab the binoculars to see a passing orca. Share stories from your time at Lewis & Clark or compare notes from the day’s adventures while enjoying a delicious meal as the sun sets over the Olympic Mountains.


The Schooner Zodiac, a 160 foot long, two-masted gaff topsail schooner, originally launched in 1924.  While aboard, passengers stay in spacious berths (48 inch bunks) or private staterooms and socialize in common areas for meals and other gatherings. The Zodiac is heated and well ventilated.

Being a vintage craft, guests share close quarters on the lower deck. On the top deck guests enjoy the fresh air, starry skies and more open spaces. The 26 guests, plus the crew share three restrooms. Please take the virtual tour here.

While there are showers aboard the Zodiac, for water conservation purposes, guests are not encouraged to take daily showers. There will an opportunity during the course of the voyage, to take a shower on land.

Standard berths are 48 inch bunks in the ship’s salon and feature a heavy curtain. 

There are two and three person staterooms on the Zodiac. The ship’s staterooms are located both forward and aft and contain multiple bunks, a mirror and a door for privacy. 

One must be able to negotiate stairs and narrow walkways in order to navigate the living areas on the Schooner Zodiac. See the virtual tour here

See the Schooner Zodiac photo gallery here. See pictures from the 2018 and 2019 Lewis & Clark voyages on the Zodiac.

Group Size

18-26 participants.

Standard berths, two and three person staterooms are available for this voyage.

Note- It is important when taking a sailing voyage that you remain flexible to take advantage of the wind for sailing. Should the wind be uncooperative, we will take hikes, kayak, see historic and significant sights, and more.

Included Services

  • Four nights aboard the Schooner Zodiac.
  • While aboard the Schooner Zodiac, all meals and snacks are prepared by the ship’s professional chef using the freshest Northwest ingredients.
  • Use of kayaks and sailing dinghy.
  • Shore excursions to state parks and quaint island towns. 

 Not Included

  • Roundtrip flights and transportation from home city to Bellingham, WA
  • Hotel accommodations before and after the cruise
  • Tip for the Zodiac crew
  • Insurance
  • Any items of a personal nature


Upper Berth, Accommodates 1 Person, $1295 (Sold out for this voyage.
Please fill out this form to be put on a waiting list for a lower berth.) 
Lower Berth, Accommodates 1 Person, $1495 (Sold out for this voyage.
Please fill out this form to be put on a waiting list for a lower berth.) 
Two Person Stateroom, Accommodates 2 People $2996
Three Person Stateroom, Accommodates 3 People $4399

Register here!


Cancellation & Change Penalties
For cancellations made prior to July 1, 2021 all but a $500.00 per person administration fee will be refunded. No refund can be paid for cancellations made on or after July 1, 2021. No refund will be given for services voluntarily not taken or for cancellations during the group itinerary. TRAVEL INSURANCE IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED and often must be purchased within seven days of making your trip deposit. It is available from most insurance companies and travel agents.

Learn more about the Schooner Zodiac.

Learn More about Stephen Dow Beckham:

Stephen Dow Beckham is the Pamplin Professor of History, Emeritus, having taught at Lewis & Clark from 1977 to 2012. Over the years, he taught at the undergraduate college, the graduate school’s teacher education program, and the law school’s Indian law program.

He is known for his work with Native Americans and the American West, especially the Pacific Northwest and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Beckham is a leading authority on Indian law and has been called as an expert witness in many cases nationally involving Indian treaty rights, casinos, reservation resources and boundaries.

Beckham has been honored as the Oregon Professor of the Year, and has been the recipient of the American Historical Association’s Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Earle A. Chiles Award for “contributions to the understanding of the high desert interior of the American West.”

Beckham has authored over a dozen books including:
Requiem for a People: The Rogue Indians and the Frontiersmen (1971)
Tall Tales from Rogue River: The Yarns of Hathaway Jones (1974)
Indians of Western Oregon: This Land Was Theirs (1977)
Lewis & Clark College (1991)
Many Faces: An Anthology of Oregon Autobiography (1993)
Lewis and Clark in Oregon Country: From the Rockies to the Pacific (2002)
Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (2003)
Oregon Indians: Voices from Two Centuries (2006)

Beckham earned his bachelor’s degree in history and biology at the University of Oregon. He earned a master’s degree and PhD in history/anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles.