Sailing the San Juan Islands with Historian Stephen Dow Beckham

Participants are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


Cruising the Gulf Islands on the Historic Schooner Zodiac- SOLD OUT

Dates: September 29 - October 3, 2021

This voyage is currently sold out. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this form. Sometimes people’s plans change. We will let you know if your accommodation of choice becomes available.

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 24 guests, plus the crew share three restrooms. Please take the virtual tour here before registering.

While there are showers aboard the Zodiac, for water conservation purposes, guests are not encouraged to take daily showers. There will be 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.

Possible Itinerary

Note- Sailing vacations are subject to the whim of the wind; the exact itinerary may be modified based on weather and various conditions. Should the wind be uncooperative, we will take hikes, kayak, see historic and significant sights, and more.

September 29 – Guests board the Schooner Zodiac at 10:30 am and set sail from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal to travel into the San Juan Islands. In the afternoon, after anchoring, there will be a happy hour and time for the sailors to get to know one another.
September 30 – Continue the journey, sailing and exploring the San Juan Islands while honing skills as mariners! Voyagers will learn to read a chart, spend time on bow watch and take turns at the helm. There may be small boat and hiking opportunities.
October 1 – A visit to Friday Harbor and Madrone Cellars for wine or cider tasting; guests can choose a flight of either. The reservation is for the patio, weather permitting. Also in Friday Harbor, guests have a shower opportunity.
October 2 – On to Eastsound on Orcas Island and a visit to the Orcas Island Historical Museums. The museum is open to the public from 11 am to 3 pm. Between 3 pm and 4 pm, the museum will be closed to the public and only open for the Lewis & Clark group. After the shore visit, probable anchor at Spencer Spit.
October 3 – We’ll continue sailing and exploring the San Juan Islands, returning to the Bellingham Cruise terminal about 3 pm.

In the evenings, guests will enjoy presentations prepared by Professor Emeritus of History Stephen Dow Beckham

Group Size

18-26 participants.


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. 
  • Wine or cider tasting at Madrone Cellars.

 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

Prices (This voyage is currently sold out. Please fill out an interest form below; we will contact you if your accommodation choice becomes available.)

  • Upper Berth, Accommodates 1 Person, $1295 (Sold out for this voyage.
    Please fill out this form to be put on a waiting list for an upper 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 two person stateroom.)
  • Two Person Stateroom, Accommodates 2 People $2996 (Sold out for this voyage. Please fill out this form to be put on a waiting list for a two person stateroom.) 
  • Three Person Stateroom, Accommodates 3 People $4399 (Sold out for this voyage. Please fill out this form to be put on a waiting list for a three person stateroom.)


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.