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Wilderness Discoveries Tour – Alaska
August 13, 2016 @ 8:00 am - August 20, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
Juneau to Petersburg via Endicott Arm
This cruise offers a diverse experience of Southeast Alaska, from fishing towns to wilderness solitude, from islands to glacial fjords. Our goal is to provide the most remote wilderness experience possible while enjoying the amenities of our wandering home. While we have a general planned itinerary, each trip differs depending upon the time of the tidal currents, the weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities, and the wishes of our clients. This glacial wilderness supports a diversity of wildlife as varied as the landscape. On water there is the probability of sighting humpback whales, Orca, porpoise, and stellar sea lion as well as numerous sea birds. On terra firma we may see black bear, brown bear, and mountain goats. We average three to four hours of running per day, allowing plenty of opportunity for exploring by foot and by kayak. Our routes and anchorages are chosen to give us the best available opportunities to experience the rich and diverse environment of this temperate rain forest.
Docked near downtown Juneau. Passengers are welcome to come on board at 12:30 pm, stow your gear and get familiar with the vessel. WE WILL BE UNDERWAY BY 1:15 pm, headed south down Gastineau Channel and out into Stephens Passage. We will then enjoy a buffet lunch and have an orientation and safety meeting. About a few hours running, our first night will be spent anchored at Limestone Inlet. This evening or the next day will be spent introducing everyone to kayaking. We carry six doubles and three single kayaks. Don’t worry if you have never been in a kayak before, the guide is a trained instructor. The doubles are very stable for the beginner and the singles allow the expert to exercise his or her skills. We may also take a skiff ride up the river to look for bear, jumping salmon and nesting water fowl.
Underway in the early morning hours to make the slack tide across Wood spit and into Endicott Arm. Passengers awake to the heart beat rhythm of the Washington Diesel as we dodge icebergs and wind our way into the fjord. It is twenty seven miles up the Arm to the face of Dawes Glacier where we will linger for awhile to witness the calving and booming of the burgs and view harbor seals and their pups. Then we will make our way to a seldom visited anchorage called Fords’ Terror, comparable to a flooded Yosemite Valley. At Ford’s Terror we will become intrepid adventurers. There are places to explore by foot and by kayak. Surrounded by 5,000 foot granite faces, the mist hanging to the precipices, the vessel suspended in crystal clear water, suspended in time… Today we will kayak through the tidal rapids (at slack water of course) and paddle into the majestic inner fjord.
Waking in the morning we will hike the highlands of Ford’s Terror unique glacial caused ecosystem of alpine, bog and forest and view the raging tidal rapids from above. We will then head out of Endicott Arm watching for bear, moose, wolves, and whales. Tides permitting, we may stop to hike a meadow and explore the woods along the way. Crossing Stephen’s Passage and rounding Point Hugh we will enter Seymour Canal. This 23 mile long inlet is home to the highest concentration of Bald Eagles in SE, and its rich waters support a large population of energetic Dall’s Porpoise. Our destination today is the Pack Creek Zoological Reserve. Pack Creek has been a place where for over 60 years Brown Bears and humans have lived in close proximity, and the bears have had generations to become accustomed to the presence of people. Arriving in the afternoon, we will go ashore until the Rangers go off duty in the early evening. If this is not available we will be exploring another area of Admiralty Island to look for Brown Bear and experience their habitat.
We now head back to Stephens Passage and into Frederick Sound. We’ll continue down the coast of Admiralty Island, keeping a sharp lookout for whales along the route. This is prime salmon spawning habitat, along with the brown bears that come down to the rivers this time of year to feed on them. Entering one of the quiet bays, we’ll have an estuary paddle, allowing the tide to take us into bear territory and at low tide we’ll walk into their home, and learn about their amazing contribution to the forests of SE Alaska.
In the morning we are bound for the Brothers, a group of small islands positioned in the middle of Frederick Sound. Along the way we will be alert for Humpback or Orca whale sightings. This is one of the prime summer feeding grounds for the migratory Humpback and it is a rare transit if we do not encounter a few. We may shut down the engine and just drift, watching them feeding or breaching and listening to their songs with the hydrophone. We will drop the hook in an idyllic anchorage where the sounds of breathing whales, Stellar Sea Lions hauled out close by, or the screech of an eagle, comes drifting across the evening calm. Today we’ll kayak around the islands and explore the open under story of the rain forest or fish for halibut for an evening meal.
Tides being right we’ll explore the tide pools and then head out to view the Stellar Sea Lion haul-out close by where hundreds of the vocal fellows and felines spend their days. If the Humpbacks are out our front door, we will spend some time shadowing their movements. In the afternoon we head south down the sound for Thomas Bay and watch for black bear on the beaches, anchoring at Scenery Cove. We will then skiff across the glacial river to the spit of glacial flour and hike on the extensive glacial moraine that lies at the foot of Baird Glacier to stand on its ice. Tonight is our last evening together as a group, the night of the Captains’ Ball.
A relaxing morning underway eating a late breakfast, sitting on the deck, enjoying the heart beat of the Catalyst’s engine, as we head toward Petersburg. We will be tied up at the dock about ten, time enough to catch the morning flight to Juneau and on to Seattle or to get settled into your room in town so that you can explore this fishing village.
Cost Estimated at $5,000. Deposit – $500 to reserve our space. This trip capacity is only 11 people, sign-ups have already begun for this trip of a lifetime. Please call Debra @ 603-785-1411 or email email@example.com