Summary : Make your way to Alaska’s northernmost lands. After meeting the inhabitants of Point Hope, an Inupiat community, go in search of sea ice and its myriad icy forms. Le Boreal will then head south via the Bering Strait and sail along the eastern islands of the Aleutian archipelago, an emerged part of the great Pacific Ring of Fire. You’ll then reach Kinak Bay for one of the highlights of your cruise. It is situated in the heart of the stunning Katmai National Park and Preserve and there is a strong chance you’ll be able to observe grizzlies, as they reign supreme here. The end of your journey will be marked by the discovery of the magnificent Holgate Glacier and its vertiginous slopes.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Board your flight from Seattle to Nome. Transfer to the pier to board the ship. Embark the vessel for introductions to crew and fellow travelers. Settle in to life on board as your voyage begins.
Across the Bering Strait from Alaska, which it almost touches and can be glimpsed when the weather is fine, the town of Provideniya seems to keep a watchful eye over ships heading for the East Siberian Sea. Nestled against mountain peak, Provideniya is the gateway to the Chukotka Peninsula, a polar region as yet unknown to the general public, with striking landscapes and a primitive beauty like no other.
Your captain will sail right up to the limit of the ice, to the edge of the ice floe. Weather conditions and state of the ice allowing, you will be able to go out in a Zodiac dinghy for a unique experience in the middle of these floating slabs of ice. In addition to this grandiose journey through the middle of these floes with their cut and blue-tinged edges, it is also often an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe: birds, seals, and polar bears.
Part of the Earth’s History was written between Alaska and Russia. Discover a unique environment that seems to stretch out to infinity. Lost in the middle of the Bering Sea, the Pribilof Archipelago is made up of four volcanic islands where nature has crafted exquisitely beautiful landscapes. Here, on the islands of Saint Paul and Saint George, you will find majestic volcanoes, lava deserts, and crater lakes, offering travelers a magnificent vantage point from which to observe a fauna composed almost exclusively of fur seals. The archipelago is also renowned as a paradise for birds, especially on Saint Paul, as more than 240 different species of seabirds take flight from the top of its majestic cliff.
During your cruise, discover an exceptional site: Unalaska Island and its port, Dutch Harbor. Located between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, on the Aleutian Islands, Dutch Harbor is the only deep water port in the archipelago. As for the island itself, it offers you unique landscapes: volcanic summits swept by the wind and surrounded by the sea, lush green valleys, sometimes covered with bright summer flowers, sometimes with deep winter snow… Unalaska is not only an island with astonishing nature and very varied wildlife, it is also rich in history, where ancient indigenous cultures and remains from World War II can be seen and their tales be told.
After a short Zodiac journey between the rocks in the company of your naturalist-guides, you will land in this former village of which many vestiges remain. Originally called Ougnagok by the Aleuts, this small hamlet, which was home to some 100 inhabitants in the 19th century, was renamed Delarof, after Evstratii Ivanovich Delarov. While working for the Shelikhov-Golikov Company, he was the first Greek mariner to discover the Aleutian Islands. These days, this small ghost-village now overrun by willowherb is called Unga. When your cruise calls here, you will have the opportunity to visit the Aleutian Islands’ forest and perhaps explore the former gold mine.
In the heart of the stunning Katmai nature reserve, renowned for its bewitching landscapes of rivers and lakes, discover Kinak Bay. This bay is more sheltered than Geographic Harbor. At the end of a narrow passage where strong currents flow, it leads to a few small beaches that are each more charming than the next. You have arrived at Hidden Harbor. Stay alert: a large colony of brown bears reigns here. They love to wander along the coast and dip their paws in the clear currents in the hope of catching a salmon. As for the bear cubs, they prefer to catch seabirds on the beach. Look up and you might spot two or three bald eagles, proudly perched on the cliffs.
Exceptional scenery surrounds you. You are in Aialik Bay, in the heart of a gigantic fjord located in Kenai Fjords National Park. Your ship is heading towards the vertiginous slopes of Holgate Glacier, which is still very active. Regularly, blocks of ice break free from its snout and crash into the water. This phenomenon, called calving, is magnificent to witness. During your Zodiac outing, you will get closer to this ever-fascinating world of ice. In this mineral setting, sea otters and spotted seals will observe you as they bask in the golden rays of sunshine, while gulls and seagulls feast on fish trapped by the ebbing tide.
Disembark in Seward and transfer to the Anchorage airport by coach (approx. 3 hours) for your flight to Seattle.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departures: All departures are French/English
ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
One-way flight in economy class Seattle/Nome in economy class; one-way flight Anchorage/Seattle in economy class; transfer from Nome airport to ship; transfer from ship to Anchorage airport; meals on board the ship; Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; coffee, juice, soft drinks and open bar (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands); gratuities; parka; boot rental; luggage transfer from pier to the ship and vice versa; 24-hour room service (special selection); butler service is included for guests staying on Deck 6. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare other than what is mentioned as included; any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones included; passport and visa fees; travel and medical insurances; personal expenses such as onboard medical consultations and drug prescriptions, spa, internet, laundry and hair salon; other drinks not included in open bar; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Wolfgang Kaehler, © Laure Patricot, © Ponant