The itinerary below reflects a Juneau starting point and ending point in Sitka; however, many departures will operate in reverse, starting in Sitka and ending in Juneau. See our “Dates and Prices for this trip” document to refer to specific direction for each date.
Welcome aboard! We meet the crew, settle in and relax with our shipmates. Within minutes we'll cruise the scenic channels of the Inside Passage. From the bow, Southeast Alaska welcomes us with Coast Mountain views. All meals included once onboard. Plan to arrive in Juneau, Alaska, before 2pm.
Plying the remote waterways of Lynn Canal or Chatham Strait, our captain sets the course for adventure today. We wake up at anchor and kick off the morning with on-deck morning yoga stretches, then slip into a kayak or try out our skills stand up paddle boarding. While we keep watch for harbor seals who frequently play in these protected waters and pods of orcas skimming along the water’s surface, the bald eagles will likely keep an eye on our improving paddling skills from the treetops.
One of America’s crown jewel national parks is ours to explore—Glacier Bay National Park. At Bartlett Cove, a park ranger joins in on our day’s exploration and shares the park’s history. Orange-beaked puffins, guillemots and marbled murrelets are just a few possible sightings today. Keep a tally—the list will grow. Arriving at South Marble Island, we can hear and smell ‘em before we see ‘em—it’s a haulout for sea lions. Perched above we watch for mountain goats, and lower along shore, foraging bears. Up bay, glacial silt turns the water a milky white and we find Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers—one holding steady, the other retreating. Lounging harbor seals laze on bits of bergs, and if time allows we tuck up in Tidal Inlet. We end this very full day with our feet up for the sail into Icy Strait.
We set course for arguably the richest whale waters in Southeast Alaska. Join the captain on the bridge or the expedition team out on deck in search of marine mammals. Camera in hand, we begin our land and sea exploration of these remote reaches. Later we head for a quiet pocket along the rugged coastline. A different sort of wild than the open strait now awaits us; muskeg leads to forest bushwhack hikes or ride the skiffs along the shore and down along kelp-threaded channels.
Today we cruise through glacier-carved fjords along the Chichagof coast. At a perfect spot we stop for adventure. It’s a prime time to lower the kayaks and skiffs and with camera in hand, set off on land and sea explorations. Closer inspection by skiff finds moss-dripping trees that run right down to the water. Keeping our eyes open we look for bears. Because Chichagof Island has one of the world’s largest populations of bears, sightings are certainly possible. We search for giant trees and tidal pools and, hiking in the Tongass, it doesn’t take long to find them. Our eagle-eyed guides lead the pack—and pull up the rear as we look around in awe at the beauty around us. Later, our ship wends along the twisting channel of the Peril Strait, known for dramatic currents, which runs 50 miles to Salisbury Sound.
There’s an eerie, enigmatic feeling in these woods as the morning fog catches like cotton balls on trees. The aptly named “narrows” squeezes to only 300 feet wide in one spot and a shallow 24 feet deep. The shorelines are close and it’s good territory for us to play. Taking the skiff ashore, we might chose to hike into the backcountry or kayak in search of otters floating on their backs while working to crack snacks resting on their bellies. Opening at Hoonah Sound, the squeeze is back on as we wind into Neva Strait. Tonight we watch the scenery change in the late fading light—from the hot tub of course.
There aren’t many straight lines along Baranof Island with its western side spattered with remote, uninhabited islands. These features mean endless opportunities for adventure. The ship drops anchor and we find ourselves in secluded coves and tree-covered islets. Picking our modus operandi, we get going in kayak, paddle board, or skiff being on the level with curious sea lions and possibly whales. The rocky intertidal zones make good beach combing; just turn a stone or two to see what’s underneath. There are no groomed trails here but our guides will take us on a hike John Muir would approve of. This evening we toast our voyage with a festive Farewell Dinner and a “photo journal” of our trip. It’s a gift for us from the expedition team.
We gather for our last breakfast together this morning as we cruise into Russian-influenced Sitka for disembarkation. Transfer to the airport today or begin an overnight stay or land tour. Flights out of Sitka must be scheduled after 11:30am.