Summary : Explore islands, glaciers, and forests. Kayak in remote inlets that bring you closer to wildlife including eagles, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and seabirds.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking
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Hello, Juneau! First settled in the gold rush days, Juneau welcomes with both small town charm and towering glaciers. Toast to the riches of Alaska as you sail west toward Icy Strait.
Kick start the morning with on-deck stretches and a strong cup of coffee. Energized and snug in your kayak, glide around in remote bays off of Icy Strait through giant bullwhip kelp that can grow to over 100 feet long. Join the gang in a skiff to a rocky outcropping to watch sea lions play. Or, step into mud boots for a forest hike with your top-notch, naturalist guides who have plenty to share about everything Alaska—marine biology, plants, and even geology. On board, soak it all in as you soak in the hot tub.
You’re in for a real treat. A National Park ranger comes aboard to share expert insight. Have your binoculars handy—South Marble Island is a birder’s slice of heaven. Puffins scoot through the water. Guillemots and gulls chatter up the airwaves. The snoozing sea lions don’t seem to mind. More thrills and chills await as you cruise to the far end of John Hopkins Inlet or Tarr Inlet where glaciers calve into the water. Backed by knife-edged peaks, bears forage along the shoreline of Tidal Inlet. Mountain goats too. Back at Bartlett Cove, if time and daylight allow, take a forest hike around the park’s HQ, and say farewell to your ranger.
Stretching 150 miles into the Tongass National Forest, Chatham Strait offers adventure aplenty. Rest assured your captain navigates to the best. Anchor in a remote Chichagof Island inlet. Backpacks loaded and adventure toys lowered (skiffs, paddle boards, kayaks), it’s time to go play. Energy flows as you hike up through moss-covered trees and rain-fed waterfalls. Stick to the water in a kayak excursion, and don’t forget to look above and below the surface. A nosy seal could be watching your every stroke. Beachcomb rocky shores. Tiny creatures cling to rocks. Tonight, take a nightcap to the sun deck and watch the sky.
The jagged arms and fingers of Kuiu Island stretch from 25 to just six miles wide. Salmon streams dot the coastline—and where there’s salmon, there are bears. Despite its slim size, Kuiu Island is home to many black bears, who, like you, love the solitude and open skies in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. From kayak or skiff, scope the intertidal zones of Skanax Bay for these guys. Eagles fish here too, their white noggins give away their perches. Kayak along the Keku Islands or take the pace down a notch with an easy stroll amidst the tide pools. It’s remote, and remarkable.
Humpbacks beeline it here each season to feed on krill, zooplankton, and herring. Watch for whales feasting in these abundant glacial waters. Hang out and enjoy the show. Based on wind and weather, your expedition team has the lineup of adventures all mapped out. Cruise past Five Fingers Lighthouse, Alaska’s oldest light station and The Brothers Islands, where sea lions nap on rocky nobs. Paddle into the deeps of Port Houghton or Windham Bay or head ashore for a hike. Somewhere nearby, carrot-billed black oystercatchers are saying hello. Tonight, toast another big day in Alaska.
Skiffing up Endicott Arm, harbor seals laze around on icebergs. If the tides are right, slip into Fords Terror, the steep walls of this narrow opening streaked with waterfalls. Back in the Arm, gasp at the deep glacier-carved valleys. It’s at the end where you meet the piece de resistance: Dawes Glacier. Blue ice marches down from the Coast Mountains. With a sharp crack, the white thunder of a calving slice makes a mega-splash. Tonight, celebrate with a festive Farewell Dinner and “photo journal” from your expedition team.
Mmmm, fresh baked pastries over one last breakfast. Your crew and new friends wish heartfelt goodbyes. This morning, transfer to the Juneau airport.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; 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.
Transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark day; shipboard accommodations; from-the-vessel activities and equipment such as kayaking and stand up paddleboarding; exclusive activities and shore visits; wellness amenities; gear on loan (yoga mats, hiking poles, and a limited supply of rubber boots); entry fees to national parks/preserves; all meals onboard the ship; most alcoholic beverages; non-alcoholic beverages. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel protection (recommended); items of a personal nature; some premium alcoholic beverages; optional gratuities; port taxes and fees; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © UnCruise