NW Explorations - Mother Goose Cruise

Mother Goose

A NW Explorations 46’ (14 m) Grand Banks Classic in front of the Tracy Arm Glacier.

NW Explorations Goes to Alaska

This summer NW Explorations is running another one of its Famous Mother Goose Flotilla cruises through the panhandle of Alaska. These flotillas are a trip of a lifetime for many people because boaters are able to handle their chartered boats, cruise the pristine Alaskan waters, and then rendezvous every night.

The cruise is divided into 7 legs from May 18, 2021, to August 13, 2021. Boats are chartered from NW Explorations and the company takes care of all the details for the charter party. All they need do is enjoy the scenery and operate the boat.

The founder of BoatTEST, Jeff Hammond, has taken his family and friends on the Mother Goose Cruise three times over the last 10 years and highly recommends the flotilla. It is, in fact, the only charter/cruise operation that has BoatTEST’s “Recommended” Gold Seal of Approval. 

For information on availability and price, click here…

The Back Story

NW Explorations has been in business since 2004 and is an unusual combination of yacht management, yacht maintenance, charter, brokerage, and boat handling training courses. And most of these services are employed for the Mother Goose cruise.

The Mother Goose flotilla cruise is the most popular of all of the company’s offerings, and each summer its five charter boats take lucky boaters on wonderful tours of one of the best cruising grounds in the world.

Get Twin-Screw Sea Time

The boaters who charter boats on the Mother Goose cruise do so for all sorts of reasons. First, they all want to experience the thrill of seeing nature as it was created, with a minimal of man-made footprints. But from there, the reasons diverge – some want to spend a spectacular 10 to 14 days with their family or friends…

… others are thinking about moving up to a larger, twin-screw boat…

… still others want to cruise in a trawler in isolated waters, but with the reassurance of the crew of the Mother Goose which can help out if needed.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose

Global warming has hastened the calving that releases the bergs into the channels that lead to the Pacific.

Mother Goose as Concierge Service

We think of the Mother Goose cruise as a floating concierge service that is much better than anything we’re ever experienced at a five-star hotel in London or Paris. Not only does the company arrange for all slips and take care of moorage fees, and insurance, the staff on Mother Goose call taxis, set up excursions and day-trips with third-party vendors for salmon fishing, handle dock lines, hook up shore power, and even shuck oysters for their charter parties, on occasion.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Alaska has fjords, and the granite in the wall behind the boats was covered by a glacier not more than five years ago.


Docking is a non-issue. Even though charters are not familiar with the boats, they are extremely easy to dock.  They are all twin-engine, the Mother Goose captain is always on the dock when each boat comes in to radio any instructions needed to the docking skipper. Some people have told us, that the cruise gave them the best docking instruction they ever got.


Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Our “riding mechanic” and one of the mates were always bright-and-chipper on Johnny-on-the-spot. They stay on Mother Goose with the rest of the concierge service.

A “riding mechanic,” is also aboard the Mother Goose vessel, invariably a technical wizard thoroughly familiar with everything in each boat’s engine room. He’s only a VHF call away, 24 hours a day.

A naturalist, who is also stationed on Mother Goose, explains the most arcane and fascinating aspects of the local flora and fauna.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Our fleet captain (a retired U.S. Navy Commander) and the two mates helped us to tie up. Docking was always a non-event thanks to these three gentlemen.

Two young mates help with tree tie-ups, morning trash collection, fender adjustment, quickly and silently like two darting sea otters, moving silently from boat to boat to secure lines, or to offer a hand with most any chore.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose

Every few days we would meet on Mother Goose for a fill-in on the next few days’ route by our expert and watchful Captain.

Cruising at its Best. The sounds, channels, bays, and straits and fjords teem with wildlife; whales, orcas, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and the national bird keeping an eye peeled for a quick snack. On land, brown and black bears can be seen if you’re lucky. On all sides flowing down from 3,000-foot-high mountains that surround the passage.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
The six-boat Mother Goose Flotilla rafted up in a quiet cove with three anchors out and the sterns tied up to trees ashore. There was nothing to it, as the NW Explorations crew do all of the work.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose

Most of the NW Mother Goose fleet is made up of aging GBs that are in A-1 condition.  Here we see the fleet bunched up getting ready to enter a secluded cove.

Making it All Affordable

ALERT! As we go to press, 24 of the 35 charter legs have already been booked in the five-boat charter fleet. Only 11 are left. By dividing up what would normally be a long, very expensive cruise into 7 legs, NW Explorations is able to make this remarkable adventure affordable. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Mother Goose Cruise


Question #1: What level of boat-handling experience is required?


NW Explorations generally wants charters with twin-engine experience, but that may be in smaller boats. But they also offer boat-handling training courses year-round for people that may need more experience either with one-on-one or group training. Some newbies take a week of training prior to the cruise and by the end of the cruise are fast on their way to being old salts.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Some places on the Inside Passage are remarkably narrow.

Question #2: How rough are the sea conditions?

Most of the cruising is in protected water. And while there are a few stretches open to the Pacific here and there, this is not a problem. Boaters subject to mal de mer will find this Alaska cruise to their liking.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Our first sighting of the Tracy Arm Glacier was thrilling.

Question #3: How far does the flotilla travel each day?

On most days, the boats travel 35 to 45 nautical miles. Typically, start time is at 8am and everyone is tied up or anchored at about 2pm.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
This is Mother Goose with her crew all topside admiring the bergs and growlers.

Question #4: Are the boats difficult to operate?

No. Each charter party gets a thorough walk through the boat, and operational instruction, on the day prior to casting off. Each aspect of the equipment is explained in detail. People familiar with boats should have no trouble grasping it all.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Several days we traveled through water like glass. The boats dock, anchor and raft up.

Question #5: Are the boats difficult to dock or anchor?

As anywhere, the degree of difficulty has to do with one’s experience with twin-engine cruisers.  We have never seen a boat damaged in docking. At every dock, the full crew of the Mother Goose is standing by to take dock lines and tie off the boat, as well as to offer suggestions as to how to approach, if needed.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
BoatTEST founder, Jeff Hammond, with his seven-year-old grandson, who pronounced the 58’ trawler a keeper.

Question #6: Should children be taken aboard?

By all means. Kids love the adventure and wildlife. Just make sure they always wear a PFD.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Our 14-month-old grandson quickly got his sea legs and took his naps in a crib by the engine room door lulled to sleep by the purring of the engine.

Question #7: How was the food?

Charters are responsible for their own provisioning. We discovered that fresh sea food was available in many places, and the anglers in the fleet caught their own. There’s nothing better than fresh fish grilled on the aft deck.

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Alaskan King Crab legs anyone?
Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
We saw whales and orcas, otters, seals, bald eagles and took day trips to waterfalls where the bears hang out feasting on salmon.
Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
A side trip organized by Mother Goose took some members of the flotilla to see bears catch salmon.
Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
There are certain places that seals like to hang out up and down the Inside Passage, and our naturalist seemed to know where to find them every day.
Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Three generations of boaters here enjoying a cruise that none will ever forget.

Question #8: How much does it cost and what legs are still available?

There are only 11 charter legs available on the 2021 Mother Goose Flotilla. Our advice is that if you want to go, you should call NW Explorations TODAY, find out the pricing, or go to their website.

NW Explorations Contact:


Toll-Free: 800-826-1430

Local: 360-676-1248

Charter Cruising to Alaska with Mother Goose
Bon Voyage! (In case you’re wondering, Grampy paid for the charter. This picture explains why.)