Set sail aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea Lion on a remarkable journey to Alaska’s Inside Passage and British Columbia, and experience the extraordinary biodiversity and cultural riches of the Haida Gwaii archipelago. Encounter ancient totem poles, and kayak or cruise in motorized landing crafts along wild shores shrouded with old-growth forest. Continue to the dramatic fjords and inland waterways of southeastern Alaska, on the lookout for orcas, humpback whales, and Steller sea lions. Then listen for the thunder of calving glaciers while exploring the stunning wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park.
Arrive in Seattle in the afternoon and embark our ship. The next day, cruise amid the lush Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia—which runs between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island—and search for some of the many orcas that inhabit these waters.
In the village of Alert Bay, visit the U’Mista Cultural Centre to watch a traditional performance by the Kwakwaka’wakw people and learn firsthand about their culture. Visit Johnstone Strait, one of the Northern Hemisphere’s foremost viewing areas for orcas. Then head north along unspoiled coastline, looking for dolphins, bears, deer, and other wildlife. We’ll stop to explore the area’s many bays and inlets by kayak and on foot.
By special permission, enjoy three days to discover the wildlife and cultural sites of Haida Gwaii archipelago, known as the Canadian Galápagos. Our ship is the only expedition vessel with access to these incredible islands. Visit the magnificent Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, and join a Haida interpreter for a visit to the Haida Heritage Site to learn the meaning behind native artwork displayed at the center. In the town of Old Massett, take part in a traditional dance performance, followed by a feast with local artisans and other community hosts. Gaze up at the totem poles of SGang Gwaay, and experience the archipelago’s rich biodiversity—including a host of endemic species—while exploring by kayak and motorized landing craft.
Spend three days encountering spectacular scenery and wildlife in Alaska’s famed Inside Passage. Explore the forested backwaters of Misty Fiords National Monument by kayak or expedition landing craft. Go ashore to visit the charming fishing village of Petersburg, and explore the surrounding area on a forest walk or on an optional bicycle ride or flightseeing excursion. Cruise and kayak past the glacially carved cliffs of Tracy or Endicott Arm—both spectacular fjords that harbor orcas, humpback whales, and Steller sea lions. See the soaring Dawes or South Sawyer Glacier up close and take a cruise on an expedition landing craft for unparalleled view of sculpted incandescent icebergs.
By special park permit, spend a full day among the enormous glaciers and expansive wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park. A national park ranger joins us to interpret the area geology and ecosystems, and a native Tlingit interpreter will share the lore and legend of the area. Then spend two days kayaking and hiking among incredible wildlife around the Inian Islands and Chichagof Island. Conditions permitting, we'll lower the ship's hydrophone to listen for whale communications. Enjoy a farewell dinner on our final night.
In Sitka, visit Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and see rehabilitated eagles up close at the Alaska Raptor Center. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Seattle, where you’ll catch a transfer home.
Drew Rush is a wildlife and natural history photographer with a passion for following wildlife in national parks around the world. Before embarking on a career in photography, Drew spent ten years guiding on the Snake River and taking people into the heart of Yellowstone National Park in the winter. Since he transitioned into a professional photographer, his work has appeared in numerous international publications and books, such as National Parks magazine and National Geographic: Complete Photography. Drew has a long history of working in and teaching about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Grand Tetons region on several long-term photographic projects for National Geographic magazine. He has also worked on collaborative projects studying long distance lynx migration through Alaska with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as monitoring wolf populations with the U.S. National Park Service. Drew’s images have been displayed at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, and he is represented by Nat Geo Creative.
Drew will join the following departure:
May 11 - 25, 2019
This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.
National Geographic Sea Lion
National Geographic Sea Bird
Please note: The August 2018 and August/September 2019 departures will run in the reverse order, embarking in Sitka and ending in Seattle. The following departures are dedicated photo expeditions: May 5, 2018; and August 27, 2018. Learn more about photo expeditions here >>
Add one of two six-day extensions to Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. Please call for details.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin, add $5,450 in Category 1 and $7,410 in Category 2.
Airfare to/from Sitka or Seattle is not included in the expedition cost.
Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.