Summary : Experience massive glaciers, explore remote islands home to native wildlife, learn about First Nation cultures, visit longhouses and quietly observe totem poles. Savor local foods of Alaska and British Columbia. Wander amidst impressive Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock forests. Look for bald eagles, bears, and the largest concentration of orcas in the world. Optional Flightseeing to Grizzly Bear Park (British Columbia, not included in price). Travel in the company of experts including a biologist, zoologist and marine biologist.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
Embark the vessel and settle in. You will attend a safety briefing and be introduced to your Expedition Team. Weather permitting you will have a sail-away cocktail on deck.
Explore part of this city founded in 1853 as Sakhalin's first Russian military post. From here drive to Sakhalinsk, the capital of the island. Founded as a small Russian settlement in the 1880’s, the city became a Japanese prefect capital when the southern half of Sakhalin was declared a Japanese colony in 1905; after WWII it was returned to Russia. Highlights include a visit to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Regional Museum housed in an impressive former Japanese mansion, and the bustling market. Celebrate with the locals and enjoy a performance of traditional Cossack song and dance.
Once you have entered Prince William Sound you will be heading for an area first visited by the Harriman Expedition in 1899 and named by the participants for prominent East Coast Colleges. Although the expedition was predominantly male it had been decided to name the tidewater and valley glaciers in a specific way: men’s colleges on the eastern side, women’s colleges on the western side.
On your way out of College Fjord, take Esther Passage. On your portside will be mainland Alaska, while on starboard will be Esther Island. Heading back into Prince William Sound pass the Naked Islands where deer roam.
Cruise the Gulf of Alaska getting closer to Yakutat, take the opportunity to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast. Then scan the waters for whales from the outer decks. Perhaps you would like to know about the different expeditions that have chartered Alaska or want to find out what birds and mammals call this part of the world their home –attend one of the lectures by our experts and specialists on board.
Approach the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, to which Malaspina Glacier and Hubbard Glacier belong. During the afternoon, visit the community of Yakutat and for those interested there will be an optional flightseeing excursion (for an extra fee) to be able to see the Hubbard Glacier from above. This glacier commences in Canada and after some 80 miles terminates in Disenchantment Bay –making it the longest glacier in North America. The ship will sail along the front of the Hubbard Glacier and while cruising watch for glacier calvings.
Visit the small community of Elfin Cove and nearby George Island. George Island was used during World War II to protect Alaska against a potential Japanese invasion and there are remains of the military installations. You can choose to take a hike to discover this area in more detail.
At Inian Island enjoy a spectacular Zodiac cruise searching for Alaska’s emblematic animals: Bald Eagles, Tufted Puffins, Steller Sea Lions, Sea Otters, and Humpback Whales. The Zodiac cruise will permit you to be close-up to the wildlife. During the evening the ship will near Point Adolphus, a well-known area for whale watching. Enjoy an aperitif while you are on the outer decks, looking for Humpback and Minke Whales, as well as Orcas or simply enjoying the landscape.
Today be prepared for an early wake-up call, as you will take a Zodiac cruise to see some Steller Sea Lions and go in search of Humpback Whales before breakfast.
In the afternoon, pay a visit to Petersburg, one of Alaska’s major fishing communities. Although the Tlingit and other indigenous groups have been in this area for centuries, the town is named after a Norwegian that started the first cannery which is still in operation. From Petersburg head south through the very narrow and spectacular Wrangell Narrows. It runs for 22 miles between the islands of Mitkof, Kupreanov and Woewodski.
Ketchikan is a larger town and offers a variety of exciting options. Today you may choose to travel by local boat with a wilderness skills instructor to a remote island where he will lead your small group through an old-growth rainforest and show you a few tricks of the survivalist’s trade. This hands-on experience engages all in tasks like building a shelter, collecting wild edibles, and signaling from the beach. Back aboard the vessel, you can haul sampling pots in search of the elusive (and invasive) Green Crab and other fascinating creatures that inhabit the ocean floor.
Alternatively enjoy exploring the wilderness of Alaska with the chance to spot some local wildlife, catch Dungeness Crabs and enjoy a feast in the comfort of the George Inlet Lodge, an old cannery house built over the fjord on stilts. Learn from local experts about fish traps and hear tales of the fish pirates that would rob the cannery of their fish. During the boat cruise pass an old gold mine and see the Mahoney Glacial Cirque. At the bottom of the Cirque there is a river that is host to bears, eagles, and salmon as well as Orcas, sea lions and seals who frequent the area in search of fish.
Cruise the Inside Passage while heading further inland to Prince Rupert, the “City of Rainbows” and your point of entry into Canada. Prince Rupert’s port is the deepest natural harbor in North America and ice-free all year round. Fishing and lumber were once dominant, but tourism is becoming an important factor. Tour the city with stops at the museum, the North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site, Port Edward and the Capitol Theatre.
There will be an opportunity for an optional flightseeing excursion to the Khutzeymateen Sanctuary. The park's name is a Tsimshian First Nation’s word that means "sheltered place of fish and bears." Established in 1994, the park contains one of the largest populations of Grizzly Bears – about 50 – in British Columbia. The bears are protected from human activity and live freely, though people can observe them quietly from boats offshore.
In the Haida Gwaii, you will learn about the history and art at the Haida Heritage Center where six Totem Poles were raised in 2001. Enjoy totem interpretation, inside exhibits and see hand carved canoes. Explore the community of Skidegate and walk around visiting local homes that sell First Nations art.
Continue by local school bus to Misty Meadows in Naikoon Provincial Park where you will enjoy a guided forest walk before returning to the Skidegate Community Hall for a traditional feast which will include elk stew, Sockeye Salmon, and other local fish such as halibut and cod, dried seaweed and bannock. During the feast enjoy traditional drumming, storytelling and dancing.
Today the Captain and Expedition Leader will decide on the best options for exploration of the Canadian Inside Passage. Search for wildlife both ashore and in the water.
Alert Bay is a small but culturally and historically very rich village on Cormorant Island. The Kwakwaka’wakw are well known for their art, and especially their carvings. Totem Poles and masks are important to their culture as well as dance. At the U’mista Cultural Centre, take a walk into the past and hear about the potlatch system and the ancient way of life. The museum holds a precious collection of masks and artefacts previously confiscated during the potlatch ban from 1884 to 1951. At the Big House, experience traditional First Nations songs and dances.
Later, cruise Johnstone Strait taking in the scenery and looks for orcas. The largest member of the dolphin family, orcas consume up to 500 lbs of food every day using echolocation to hunt.
Located halfway between Vancouver and Seattle, it might not be the largest city, but it is the Capital of British Columbia. The ocean around Victoria teems with wildlife. Join a whale watching program and look for Humpback, Minke and Gray Whales.
Known as the “City of Gardens”, visit of several its parks and gardens. Internationally acclaimed, Butchart Gardens started over 100 years ago and remains privately owned by the family. Other gardens include the Rose, Japanese and Italian Gardens. These gardens have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada due to their international renown. The ship will be berthed opposite the Empress Hotel in the Inner Harbour, making it quite easy to discover Victoria’s many treasures on your own if you so choose.
After breakfast disembark the ship.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Join the Expedition Team on this highly immersive Birding Expedition voyage for an experience like no other, and one that will stay with you long after you’ve returned home. Together with passionate ornithologists, you can enjoy onboard lectures to discover and study a large variety of faraway bird species.
Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee); 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Explorer and View Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Vista, Veranda and Medallion Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; park entrance fees; government fees and taxes; passport and visa expenses; some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars; laundry or valet services; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases, medical care, and spa services; fuel surcharge may apply.