Summary : In Southeast Alaska — a land of fjords and islands teeming with wildlife – you can wake to the cry of a soaring eagle, watch tons of ice thunder from the face of a glacier, walk in a spruce forest, and observe lunge-feeding whales. Since 1982, this Alaska tour has explored the magnificent Inside Passage with a small number of guests in the company of naturalists. Walk forest trails to cascading waterfalls, bird watching and identifying wildflowers as you go. Enjoy Zodiac and kayaking forays, and learn about Alaska’s rich Native American heritage. A full day is spent in Glacier Bay National Park.
2017: This trip will only operate aboard the Sea Lion. The same itinerary will operate aboard the National Geographic Quest on different dates.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
Just-Released Offer Receive round-trip airfare.
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$5,890 to $8,590
Arrive in Juneau, and before embarking the ship, stop by the Alaska State Museum for an artful introduction to this unique state. Also, visit Mendenhall Glacier, set in the dramatic Mendenhall Valley, located just 12 miles from downtown Juneau. Embark the ship and take the time to settle into your cabin before dinner. After dinner onboard, take a few hours to yourself and explore the port of Juneau.
Voyage into Tracy or Endicott Arm, both spectacular glacially carved fjords. You’ll also pass the Sawyer Glacier, which has been described as bluer than any blue on earth, or the towering Dawes Glacier. If conditions permit, you'll use your expedition landing craft to provide unparalleled up close views of the glacier. Keep an eye out for harbor seals, porpoises and arctic terns.
Search for humpback whales as you head towards the small, true Alaskan town of Petersburg on Mitkof Island. Explore a unique Southeast Alaskan ecosystem, the "muskeg," with stunted trees and carnivorous plants. There is an opportunity for optional flightseeing or bike riding.
These waters are prime areas for both killer whales and humpback whales. It's not uncommon to observe their fascinating behavior — breaching, tail-slapping and variations on feeding — as you fill the deck and listen to the play-by-play from expert naturalists. Explore spectacular bays and inlets, following bear trails and salmon streams. Once ashore, you will have the opportunity to walk along a quiet forest trail. The still waters are excellent for kayaking, offering another option for up close exploration.
Hike, kayak and search for whales in the waters of the Inian Islands. Keep watch on deck with marine mammal experts. Under the right conditions, lower the ship's hydrophone to listen in on the whales' communication. After some thrilling whale watching, cruise Inian Pass in search of playful sea otters.
Spend the entire day amidst the coves, fjords, tidewater glaciers and majestic mountains of Glacier Bay National Park. See glaciers that end abruptly at the water’s edge and observe them “calving” — tons of ice crashing into the sea — accompanied by an exhilarating, thunderous sound. Mountain goats scaling the peaks, as well as harbor seals, Steller sea lions and puffins are some of the creatures you may observe. A visit to Tidal Inlet may bring the sight of brown bears lumbering up the hillside. A native Tlingit interpreter joins you onboard to share the legend of the area.
Today, nature is your guide as you set forth with the flexibility to take advantage of wildlife and weather conditions. You may stop at an isolated beach to take a closer look at tide pools, beach comb, and hike stunning forest trails. Keep an eye out for old bear tracks worn into the soil as you move from forest to meadow. This area is home to the highest density of nesting bald eagles in the world, so sightings are very common. If conditions permit, you can do some kayaking, always watching for marine and terrestrial life.
After breakfast, you disembark in Sitka, southeastern Alaska’s only oceanfront town. Sitka has a strong Russian heritage, which is readily apparent as you visit the onion-domed St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church. Gaze up at the grand totem poles that line the wooded trails through Sitka National Historic Park. At the Raptor Rehabilitation Center, you have close views of species normally seen at a distance in the wild — bald eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. After your visit, transfer to the airport for flights home. Please note certain departures operate in reverse, making all the same stops. See Reverse Itinerary dates.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary (Sitka to Juneau): 8/20/2016, 8/21/2016, 5/14/2017, 5/28/2017, 6/11/2017, 6/25/2017, 7/9/2017, 7/23/2017
Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Optional Pre- or Post-Trip Extension:
Denali National Park: Discover the wildness that lives at the heart of Alaska; add an inland exploration of Denali National Park to you coastal expedition. With the idyllic North Face Lodge as your base camp, you’ll enjoy special access. From $5,820 per person. (6 Days)
Accommodations and meals aboard ship; shore excursions; use of kayaking equipment; park entrance fees; port charges; group transfers as indicated in itinerary; service taxes; services of natural history staff. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; optional extensions; individual transfers; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, internet, etc.; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Orca Spout, Kayaker, Orcas, Zodiac and Bear, Canoeing, Eagle); © Michael S. Nolan (Bear Family, Seal, Humpback Breach, Ice and Zodiac)