Fly from Seattle to Sitka, a unique town with a strong Russian heritage. Visit St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral, a striking testament to Alaska's roots prior to the U.S. purchase of the territory from Russia. Then explore Sitka National Historical Park, where totem poles line serene wooded trails before we embark the ship in the afternoon.
National Geographic Sea Bird/Sea Lion or National Geographic Quest/Venture (D)
Beachcomb, hike forest trails, explore by kayak, or cruise along Admiralty Island, where the massive brown bear is found, along with perhaps the world's highest density of nesting bald eagles. If conditions permit, explore the coastlines of some remote islands by kayak.
Hike and kayak among the Inian Islands, where
an abundance of Steller sea lions and sea
otters reside. We’ll search for whales in the rich
waters of Icy Straits and, conditions permitting,
lower the ship’s hydrophone to listen in on the
Spend the day exploring magnificent Glacier Bay, where enormous glaciers flow from the ice fields far above. Watch and hear glaciers calving as tons of ice crash into the sea. Venture near islets that are home to seabirds such as puffins and guillemots, and look for humpback whales and orcas. Get a firsthand perspective on Alaska’s
indigenous people from a Tlingit cultural interpreter,
who will be on board with us today to
share stories passed down through oral tradition
and art. Later, walk along trails among towering spruce trees.
These waters often make for great whale watching. Look for Steller sea lions stretched out on the rocky islands that dot the channels. Take a walk with naturalists along a quiet forest trail or kayak in the tiny coves in this area. Meet members of the Alaska Whale Foundation—whose work is supported by a grant from the National Geographic/Lindblad Fund—and discuss some of their recent discoveries about the region's marine mammal population.
Discover the small town of Petersburg on Mitkof Island, founded more than 100 years ago by rugged Norwegian fishermen. A visit to Petersburg provides a glimpse of a true Alaskan town and an opportunity for hiking along forest trails. Explore Southeast Alaska’s muskeg, an area
with stunted trees and carnivorous plants.
There is an opportunity for optional flightseeing
(weather permitting) or bike riding. Enjoy a crab
feast for dinner this evening.
Enter Tracy Arm, a spectacular 22-mile-long fjord where waterfalls cascade from towering, glacially carved walls. We maneuver among large icebergs, keeping an eye out for feeding bears on the shoreline and mountain goats on the cliffs above. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.
After breakfast, disembark in Juneau. We'll have time to visit the imposing Mendenhall Glacier and the Alaska State Museum. In the early afternoon, transfer to the airport for the flight to Seattle.