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. Accompany professional photographer David Wright ashore and learn about photography skills in his lectures and workshops.
Activities : 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.
Enjoy the first full day settling in, having a leisurely morning, attending some of the informative lectures that experts and specialists will give about Alaska’s varied history, wildlife and nature and enjoy the comfort and amenities the Silver Discoverer has to offer. Perhaps you would like to learn a new approach to photography and attend a workshop by professional photographer David Wright.
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.
During the morning, approach Annette Island watching for wildlife on the outer decks or attend one of the informative lectures by on-board specialists. One of the topics might be art of the indigenous people of this area. The Tsimshian are famous for their Totem Poles. During the visit of the town, you’ll get to see at least 12 of these emblematic pieces of art and watch a dance performance at their longhouse. Apart from the ceremony, experience the William Duncan Memorial Museum to understand their culture and history, specifically why and when they moved to Annette Island. You can also take one of the many trails around Skaters Lake getting an insight into the different plants used by the Tsimshian.
Located within the Tongass National Forest is the wilderness area and Misty Fjords National Monument. It has been described as an almost untouched coastal ecosystem with outstanding geological features, so be prepared for a broad spectrum of wildlife during the early morning in and around Rudyerd Bay. Look to the air for Marbled Murrelets, which unlike most members of the auk family nest in trees. Brown and Black Bears might be spotted on the ground, and Harbor Seals and Sea Otters in the water.
Ketchikan is one of the larger towns of the area and will offer a variety of exciting options. 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 crab feast in the comfort of the George Inlet Lodge, an old cannery house built over the fjord on stilts. You will learn from local experts about fish traps and hear tales of the fish pirates that would rob the cannery of their fish. Cruise past 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.
Yet another option might be a visit to the Haida village of Kasaan on Prince of Wales Island. Near this small village you would be taking a trail through the rainforest, seeing one of the most outstanding collections of Totem Poles and the only remaining old Longhouse in Alaska.
Running for 22 miles between the islands of Mitkof, Kupreanov and Woewodski, cruise the scenic Wrangell Narrows heading north for Petersburg in the early morning. At Petersburg, pay a visit to 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.
During the afternoon there will be a chance for more lectures about Alaska’s wildlife and history and a photography workshop with David Wright–unless you want to spend your time on deck, looking for wildlife yourself. In the late afternoon, take a Zodiac cruise around Sail Island that will hopefully permit you to see some Steller Sea Lions and Humpback Whales.
Another morning Zodiac cruise awaits us. There are several glaciers to be seen- the North Dawes Glacier is a hanging glacier, while the Dawes Glacier is a tidewater glacier. At Dawes Glacier, you may see calving ice, waterfalls and Bald Eagles that have made the coastal area their home. During the afternoon, cruise Frederick Sound’s very scenic waters and watch for whales.
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. 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.
During the morning, 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.
Cruise northeast to the Gulf of Alaska where you can make out many of the different mountains and glaciers of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. 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.
Cruise the Gulf of Alaska and during the day you might want to be out on deck, scanning the water’s surface for signs of whales. When you are not looking for wildlife from the outer decks, join the lecturers and specialist while they talk about the wildlife and history of Alaska in the theatre. Today would be a good day to sort through the photos taken so far, and perhaps attend a workshop about editing them given by professional photographer David Wright.
Kukak Bay and Geographic Harbor are well-known areas for bear spotting. The Brown Bears feed on sedges and razor clams on the beaches, and will look for salmon in the rivers. To be able to observe them, take a Zodiac cruise along the shorelines in search of good photographic opportunities.
The Chiswell Islands –part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge- will give a last chance to go out in the Zodiacs to get a close-up look at Steller Sea Lions. Millions of birds call these rugged islands their home and you can expect to see Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Whiskered Auklets. Kenai Fjords National Park’s famous Holgate Glacier will be your last chance to hopefully see a calving glacier. Enjoy an aperitif on the outer decks as you leave the area shortly before sunset.
After breakfast disembark the ship.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
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.