Summary : Glacier Bay National Park and remote wilderness exploration highlight this adventure. Spend days cruising among massive icebergs, viewing glaciers, hiking into wildlife-rich forests with cascading waterfalls; kayaking, paddle boarding and riding a skiff along a dramatic fjord; learning about the Tlingit culture; and whale watching. In between exploring Alaska’s wilderness, enjoy life onboard by relaxing in the hot tub and socializing with friends in the lounge.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
$4,995 to $7,995
There’s nothing like a hearty greeting from your crew and some bon voyage bubbly. With all souls settled in on board, you’re underway. From the bow, Southeast Alaska welcomes you with Coast Mountain views.
Reverse Itinerary (Sitka to Juneau): 5/11/2019, 5/25/2019, 6/22/2019, 7/20/2019, 8/17/2019
Lynn Canal or Chatham Strait, your captain makes the call. Either choice, go with the flow. The water is fine. The guides help you gear up, and lead your adventure along rocky outcroppings. Take in the size of this wilderness by kayak or stand up paddleboard. Bald eagles dot the tree tops. Harbor seals bob up and under. Pods of orcas—the largest in the dolphin family—skim along the water’s surface.
What a privilege. At 3.3 million acres—this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve is massive. At Bartlett Cove, a park ranger joins in on your day’s exploration and shares the park’s history. Orange-beaked puffins, guillemots, marbled murrelets are just a few possible sightings. Keep a tally—the list will grow. Arriving at South Marble Island, you can hear and smell ‘em before you see ‘em—it’s a haul-out for sea lions. Watch for mountain goats perched up high around the bend, and—lower along shore—foraging bears. Up bay, glacial silt turns the water a milky white. Observe Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers—one holding steady, the other retreating. Lounging harbor seals laze on bits of bergs. And if time allows, tuck up in Tidal Inlet. End this very full day with your feet up for the sail into Icy Strait.
Nearly to the Pacific Ocean, Icy Strait is remote and wild. The plan? Whales and marine mammals. Spouts and fin slaps are certain giveaways. More rollicking sea lions and birds. But don’t forget to look straight down. Porpoises and dolphins may hitch a ride on the bow wave. And don’t worry about missing any wildlife; it’s a favorite mission of the crew to point out any creatures they spot. Make a break for it and head for a quiet pocket along the rugged coastline. A different sort of wild than the open strait, muskeg leads to forest bushwhacks. Skiff the shore and down along kelp-threaded channels.
Kick off the morning with on-deck yoga stretches (your guides love it when you join them). Meander through glacier-carved fjords along the Chichagof coast. Then stop. It’s a prime time to lower the kayaks and skiffs. Camera in hand, set off on land and sea explorations. Closer inspection by skiff, moss-dripping trees run right down to the water. Any bears in there? With one of the world’s largest populations of bears, it’s possible. Go searching for giant trees and tidal pools; hiking in the Tongass, it won’t take long to find them. Your eagle-eyed guides lead the pack—and pull up the rear. Later, wind along a twisting channel known for dramatic currents. Peril Strait runs 50 miles to Salisbury Sound.
There’s an eerie, enigmatic feeling in these woods. Morning fog catches like cotton balls on trees. The aptly named narrows squeezes to only 300-feet wide in one spot and a shallow 24-feet deep. The shorelines are close and it’s good territory for play. Skiff ashore and hike into the backcountry. Otters float on their backs while working to crack snacks resting on their bellies. Opening at Hoonah Sound, the squeeze is back on. Wind into Neva Strait. Watch the scenery change in the late fading light—from the hot tub, of course.
There aren’t many straight lines along Baranof Island. Its western side is spattered with remote, uninhabited islands. These features mean endless opportunities for adventure – secluded coves, tree-covered islets. Drop anchor, pick your modus operandi, and get going. Kayak, paddle board, or skiff—you’re on the level with curious sea lions and possibly whales. Rocky intertidal zones make for good beachcombing. Turn over a stone or two to see what’s underneath. There are no groomed trails here—get out on a guided hike John Muir would approve of. Toast your voyage with a festive Farewell Dinner and a “photo journal” of your trip. A gift to you, from your expedition team.
Cruise into Sitka this morning over breakfast. Farewell, new friends! Disembark and transfer to the airport.
Due to the nature of the exploration, the itinerary is a guideline and may change in order to maximize wildlife and natural encounters. Variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary (Sitka to Juneau): 6/22/2019, 7/20/2019, 8/17/2019
Transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days; shipboard accommodations; most spirits, wine, microbrews; non-alcoholic beverages; entry fees to national parks/preserves; kayaking; stand up paddleboarding; gear on loan (yoga mats and a limited supply of rubber boots); all meals onboard the ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; items of a personal nature; some premium alcohol; optional gratuities; travel insurance; port taxes and fees; fuel surcharge may apply.