Summary : The rugged and wild Prince William Sound, discovered by explorer James Cook in 1778, offers spectacular adventure in the “Last Frontier.” Home to the densest concentration of tidewater glaciers on the planet, it is surrounded by pristine Chugach National Forest, the second largest in the United States. The sound’s calm, protected waters and over 3,800 miles of coastline offer a vast diversity of wildlife. Marine mammals summer here, including humpback whales and orcas, Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otters. Black and brown bears, moose, and even mountain goats frequent the water’s edge, while over 220 species of birds bring the coastal forest to life. Be one of the few to truly explore this remote and captivating ecosystem. From cascading waterfalls to rivers flush with salmon during the spawn, you’ll leave feeling like you truly know Prince William Sound. Catch a wild salmon and have it prepared on the ship's back deck grill for dinner. Witness calving glaciers up close from the intimacy of a small boat. Explore unspoiled coastlines and trek the forests—create an Alaska story unlike any other.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling
Arrive Saturday in Anchorage, where you are picked up from the airport and taken to the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel. Settling in with the anticipation for your upcoming adventure, you get to take in the first stunning views for what lays ahead. Enjoy your afternoon wandering the area, keeping an eye out for moose and bald eagles. End your evening with a nightcap watching the activity on Lake Spenard and Lake Hood, the world’s busiest seaplane base, and a quintessential method of transportation in Alaska.
After an easy morning in Anchorage and enjoying a complimentary plated Alaskan breakfast, you are picked up by a private shuttle and brought to the small port town of Whittier. Crew members will bring your luggage to your private stateroom aboard Pacific Provider. After a tour of the boat, you’ll meet the rest of the crew for a safety briefing and find out what lies in store for the week. Departing in the early afternoon, the captain will navigate to a hidden cove, where you’ll spend the afternoon and evening exploring ashore or via kayaks. Later, you’ll get to know your fellow travelers over cocktails and a fabulous chef-prepared dinner.
Awake to freshly brewed coffee or tea and take in the magnificent views from the back deck. After a hot breakfast, you’ll board the skiffs to view the massive tidewater glaciers in Blackstone Bay—Tebenkof, Ripon, Lawrence, Marquette and Blackstone, and more! All offer multiple opportunities to see glaciers calve, as well as observe incredible hanging glaciers. You’ll enjoy the action from the skiffs, with hot cocoa (and perhaps a little Bailey’s) to stay warm from the katabatic winds whipping down the ancient ice flows.
After returning to the ship, head north to Ziegler or Granite Bays to spend the afternoon exploring the shoreline or lush woods on the Alaskan mainland. A flexible itinerary means you can take a skiff out in search of salmon, or try your luck dropping shrimp pots in the water. After dinner, socialize in the salon with your fellow guests while enjoying a nightcap served over real glacial ice hauled from the water and pulled onboard, as you discuss the day’s adventures and watch photos from your time at the glaciers.
If you dropped shrimp pots the night before, wake early to gather your catch. After breakfast, come ashore on Esther Island to tour a remote salmon hatchery with experts dedicated to maintaining the critical salmon populations in Prince William Sound—and keep your eyes peeled for bears prowling the shoreline in search of fish.
During lunch, traverse the sound looking for marine wildlife, including humpback whales and orcas. Making your way to Naked Island in the middle of the sound, and search for rafts of sea otters in the kelp, getting up close in the skiffs for that perfect photo. You’ll experience true solitude on the island, recognizing just how small you really are within the overwhelming magnitude of Alaska. After another incredible Chef Dave dinner, end the evening with beachside bonfire, witnessing the majesty of Prince William Sound, far from any sign of humanity.
Wake up this morning ready for adventure, as you cruise towards Valdez Arm, weaving your way through humpback whales feeding on herring and keeping your eyes peeled for transient orca pods hunting in the water. After breakfast, you’ll anchor for a truly wild day on Shoup Bay. Putting kayaks in the water, paddle deep into the bay, beaching the boats where you can come face-to-face with an active, but stable glacier. With no fear of calving, explore the glacier and ice caves at the head of Shoup Bay, including the opportunity to walk right up to the ice and touch it. Getting back in the kayaks, paddle down the inlet and back to the boat for an incredible lunch using fresh local ingredients. Pacific Provider will head south, so you spend the afternoon fishing the remote shorelines for salmon. Catch one—a likelihood—and the chef will prepare it as your sashimi appetizer during cocktail hour!
As you make your way south, be sure to keep a vigilant eye out for humpback whales in this rich summer habitat. Spend the day in Port Fidalgo, with the option of angling for salmon along the remote shoreline. Or choose to spend the day kayaking with sea otters in Two Moon Bay, or hiking along a salmon-choked river and learning about the salmon run—an unforgettable experience with thousands of fish fighting their way up the river. All the while, you’ll be surrounded by majestic bald eagles, and may see bears lumbering about (from a safe distance) as they gorge on salmon in preparation for hibernation. Onboard Pacific Provider, you’ll enjoy your own feast, as Chef Dave creates a gourmet meal from the catch of the day and other local fare.
Anchored off of Hawkins Island and Hichinbrook Island, you’ll end your adventure in spectacular fashion. Taking the skiffs to shore, travel overland to Boswell Bay Beach, on the Gulf of Alaska—a huge and volatile body of water that’s been called the “Cradle of Storms,” and far different from the calm refuge of Prince William Sound. The beach itself is a geological wonder, revealing evidence of the devastating 1964 earthquake, which pushed back the original shoreline more than a mile from today’s waterline. Along the way, watch for local deer, while keeping alert for derelict fishing buoys, some of which have drifted here from as far away from Japan.
Back aboard Pacific Provider, enjoy a final evening of relaxing with your fellow travelers and recounting the week’s adventures with the crew who’ve made the trip you’ve always dreamed of an unforgettable reality.
The next day, arriving in the tiny, remote town of Cordova, you’ll say your farewells after an incomparable week of exploration. You’ll have a little time before catching your flight, so take the opportunity to mingle with locals and shop in this picturesque Alaskan coastal town before your transfer to the local airport where your bags (and preserved fish) await your short flight over the wild region you’ve just explored, and onwards to Anchorage.
Itinerary is subject to change without notice based on navigating conditions. Itinerary subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary (Cordova to Whittier): 8/11/2018, 8/25/2018, 9/8/2018, 5/18/2019, 6/1/2019, 6/15/2019, 6/29/2019, 7/13/2019, 7/27/2019, 8/10/2019, 8/24/2019, 9/7/2019
One pre-cruise hotel night in Anchorage; transfers between airport, hotel, and ship; shipboard accommodations; kayaking; stand up paddleboarding; Wi-Fi (limited); flash drive with photos of your trip; gear to keep (Yeti reusable insulated water bottle); gear on loan (fishing gear, snorkeling gear, wetsuits); all meals onboard ship; non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel insurance; passport and visa fees; gratuities; fishing licenses; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © Offshore Outpost Expeditions