Check in early at our hospitality location and there will be enough time to explore Juneau on our own. In the afternoon we board the boat with the crew greeting us with champagne and smiles. We sail out of Juneau watching float planes and eagles soaring around us, excited for a week of cruising scenic channels and secluded wilderness. Plan to arrive in Juneau before 2pm. All meals included once onboard.
We awake and look out the cabin window to see views of kelp-lined channels, mist-shrouded forests and jagged shorelines. Every inch of this far northwest corner looks worthy of exploration. If the tides are right, we head out in the skiff with one of our guides for a closer exploration of the rugged shore. We might see seals and sea lions on rocky outcroppings, resting before they disappear in the water to search for food. Whatever we choose to do—wilderness trekking, skiffing or paddling—our expedition team guides the way.
Glacier Bay is a crown jewel of America’s national park system. It covers 3.3 million acres; that’s a tad smaller than the state of Connecticut. Most visitors see the same sliver of the park as everyone else—but not us. We’re going further and exploring parts of the park that 99% of visitors never go to, and we have three days to do it. Taylor Bay’s sea stacks and rocky shores make a good starting point for adventure or hike the outwash field of glaciers winding down from the Fairweather Mountain Range. The cool breeze off the nearby snow and icefields is energizing. We motor over to Dundas Bay, keeping eyes out for bears, humpback whales, and, if we’re lucky, a wolf sighting. Hop in a kayak and explore the bay or take a bushwhacking hike into the forest. It’s our choice to make while discovering Glacier Bay National Park’s outback.
Today our cameras’ memory cards need plenty of room. A national park ranger comes aboard, joining us for our adventures in Glacier Bay. South Marble Island is abuzz with activity. Rare sea birds, black oystercatchers, and orange-beaked tufted puffins can’t be missed. A colony of raucous sea lions adds to the hubbub of the scene along with, perhaps, a distinct aroma. Our vessel tucks into silent Tidal Inlet, the stomping grounds for bears, wolves, mountain goats, eagles and a spectacular scenic backdrop. At the end of the westernmost arm of the bay sits Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers where we might view glacial calving. We’re alert on deck with the ranger and crew as we take it all in.
Find a perch on the bridge with your captain, or with your guides on the bow, and watch for whales and other creatures before tucking into Port Frederick or another inlet in the Tongass National Forest. Any spot’s a good one to pull over and stretch your legs. Hike, paddle, or skiff your way through this remote corner with bears on the shoreline, seals bobbing on the surface, and welcoming boughs of moss in the trees. It’s all yours to explore. Back on the boat, make a beeline straight for the hot tub.
We start the day with yoga stretches on deck to warm our muscles before a day of exploration. We know firsthand—conditions in Southeast change one inlet to the next. Our captain is at the helm and picks just the right spot. Wherever we head, the adventures are as big as the water is deep! So many hidden pockets in the Tongass National Forest. Giving our paddle board skills a glide we watch for big-eyed harbor seals from a kayak or bushwhack into the forest of giants. Our guides know the area’s history and keep it lively.
Haines, tucked beneath snowcapped peaks, is the center of adventure. Today's port stop provides us with activity choices including hiking, biking and rafting. The trails are irresistible and we can go easy or feel the burn while enjoying views that reward our efforts. For a change of pace, a bike ride or scenic float trip might be our option. Our expedition team shares the city’s captivating history and varied past, remnants of which can still be seen today. If we have time, we can follow our own path on a self-led tour. Tonight, it’s a festive Farewell Dinner and a “photo journal” of our trip presented by our expedition team.
This morning we linger over breakfast while cruising into Juneau. It’s time to bid our crew and new friends goodbye. Then it’s off to the airport or begin an overnight stay or land tour. Flights out of Juneau can be scheduled after 11:30am.