Arrive in Sitka where you will step into the St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and walk through the Sitka National Historical Park, where Tlingit and Haida totem poles line coastal trails. Visit the Alaska Raptor Center for an up-close look at area birds of prey. Later, embark on our ship.
Explore either Baranof or Chichagof Island by foot and kayak. Both of these rugged isles are part of the ancient Tongass National Forest and are home to diverse wildlife, including brown bears and bald eagles. The next day, hike and kayak among the Inian Islands, where an abundance of Steller sea lions and sea otters reside; and search for whales in the Icy Strait. (B,L,D, daily)
By special permission, we’ll have the entire day to explore Glacier Bay, where enormous glaciers are actively calving from towering ice fields. Venture near islets harboring puffins and guillemots, and look for humpback whales and orcas. A Huna Tlingit cultural interpreter joins us on board today to give us a firsthand perspective on Alaska’s indigenous people, sharing stories passed down through oral tradition and art.
Enter Tracy or Endicott Arm—both spectacular fjords where waterfalls cascade from towering, glacially carved walls. Board our expedition landing craft to maneuver among large icebergs, and get close-up views of a glacier. Keep your eye on the coastline to spot feeding bears and mountain goats climbing the cliffs above.
Search for humpback whales as we navigate to the quaint fishing village of Petersburg on Mitkof Island. The following day, cruise amid the glacially carved cliffs of Misty Fiords National Monument Wilderness. Set out by expedition landing craft or kayak to explore stunning forested backwaters framed by snowcapped peaks.
Continue along the pristine coastline, looking for orcas, bears, and other wildlife. Disembark to explore the surrounding bays and inlets by kayak and on foot. As we head south to the village of Alert Bay, visit the U’Mista Cultural Centre to meet with members of a Kwakwaka’wakw community and watch a traditional First Nations performance.
Located in the Strait of Georgia, between the British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands are a kayaker’s paradise. Paddle along rocky coastline and explore some of the many islets that dot these sapphire waters, keeping an eye out for harbor seals and some of the region’s many bird species.
Explore the charming city of Victoria, choosing from a variety of excursions. In the evening, enjoy a private reception at the Robert Bateman Centre. Spend the next day discovering the San Juan Islands on naturalist-led hikes and kayaking excursions, and seek out orcas in the surrounding waters. Gather for a farewell dinner this evening. The next day, arrive in Seattle and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
( Days 12 and 13: B,L,D; Day 14: B)