Northern Passages with Glacier Bay & Sitka
Live Your Alaskan Dream
Skiff, kayak, and paddle board through fjords and inlets as wildlife greets you from land and sea. Explore the wilderness of the Tongass National Forest and Glacier Bay National Park.
- Visit Sitka, Russian Capital of Alaska, a small scenic fishing town with remarkable sights including the Fortress of the Bears.
- Cruise the narrow Peril Strait as the rapid tidal current allows.
- Visit Red Bluff Bay with towering red mountains, waterfalls, and a chance to view brown bears.
- George Island with sights of the Pacific Ocean and an optional hike to an abandoned coastal defense cannon.
- View Grand Pacific, Margerie, Lamplugh and Reid Glaciers
- Whale watching in Icy Strait and Chatham Strait.
- Wildlife searches—bears, sea otters, harbor seals, Dall’s porpoises
- Marble Islands sea lion haulout and puffin rookery.
- Hike and bushwhack in the Tongass National Forest
- Kayak, paddle board, and skiff in glacial fjords
- B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Your day-by-day details
DAY 1 Juneau – Embarkation
After a day of exploring Alaska’s Capital City of Juneau, there’s nothing like a hearty greeting from your crew and some bon voyage bubbly. With all souls settled in on board, you’re underway. The adventure starts now. From the first moment, your expedition team is all hands on deck - looking for the first whales spouts of the week. Out on the bow, Southeast Alaska welcomes you with Coast Mountain views. (D)
DAY 2 Captain’s Choice
We’re in the backcountry. The Tongass National Forest is a vast, infinitely discoverable place. Your Captain and Expedition Leader make the call on where we’re headed today. The seasons and movement of critters dictate every choice we make about location. The waters are calm and inviting. The guides help you gear up and lead your adventures into the woods or along gentler terrain in back meadows and mellow shorelines. By kayak or paddle board, this is your day to get familiar with the water, enveloped in the vastness of Southeast Alaska’s wilderness. Bald eagles dot the tree tops. Harbor seals bob up for air and slip under the water. Spouts from the humpback whale (or orca, if you’re truly this lucky on day one), pepper the horizon line. This is your introduction to Southeast, and it welcomes you in to learn and experience more. (BLD)
DAY 3 Glacier Bay National Park
What a privilege. At 3.3 million acres—this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve is massive. In the calm of the night, the ship’s crew has taken you deep into Glacier Bay National Park. It’s early in the morning – hot coffee and pastries are out in the lounge – and directly off the bow is Margerie Glacier, or Johns Hopkins Glacier, depending on the time of year and ice access. Less than 1% of visitors to the park have the opportunity you are about to have – get on land with, or kayak in front of, a deep blue, mile-wide chunk of ice. The morning is intimate, calm, and inspiring.
Tufted puffins, pigeon guillemots and marbled murrelets are just a few possible sightings. Arriving at South Marble Island, you can hear and smell ‘em before you see ‘em—it’s a haul out for sea lions. Watch for mountain goats, and lower along shore, foraging bears. Lounging harbor seals laze on bits of bergs. (BLD)
DAY 4 Icy Strait
The Pacific Ocean flows into northern Southeast Alaska via Icy Strait. This interface between land and sea is remote and wild. The plan for the day? Whales and marine mammals. The northern coast of Chichagof Island is rugged and filled with life. Spouts and fin slaps are certain giveaways. Sea lions surf in the swell, and birds hover over the water's surface in search of fish. Porpoises and dolphins hitch a ride on the bow of the boat as you move from cove to cove. On land, trees that pre-date the country are tucked just inside the forest edge. Bushwhack through old growth, pausing to appreciate the scope and scale of North America’s Amazon. Skiff along the shoreline searching for intertidal life; paddle along kelp-threaded channels as Stellar sea lions follow your party through blue waters that invoke visualizations of more tropical climes. (BLD)
DAY 5 Chichagof Island
Welcome to the west coast of Chatham Strait – one of the largest, longest, and straightest fjords on the planet. We’re deep within a nutrient highway, and endless coves and glacial fjords draw unsuspecting lines along the coast. Chichagof Island is home to the coastal brown bear – supported by the lush meadows, rich berries, and prolific salmon runs. Each cove and bay hold their very own microcosm of the greater ecosystem – and your guides are getting into the granular details of the connections between place, species, and time. The time of year dictates the destination. Spring meadows are filled with wildflowers. Summer salmon runs bring bears to the freshwater cornucopia of the largest return of nutrients from sea to land on earth. Fall colors in the alders beckon the return of the Aurora Borealis. There’s no “good” or “bad” time to visit this place – every season brings new surprises. (BLD)Ocean
DAY 6 Baranof Island / Peril Strait
Baranof Island is our playground for the day. Glacially carved fjords become more exposed as we approach South Baranof Wilderness. We continue our search for the coastal brown bear and bushwhack up into muskegs that offer sweeping views across Chatham Strait towards Kootznoowoo. Whales transit the coastline in search of schools of herring and salmon that gather here in numbers beyond comprehension. Following the spouts west, we enter Peril Strait – an infamous stretch of water rich in indigenous and Russian history Tight channels and swirling eddies bring marine mammals to the area, here to take their chances at salmon returning to their natal streams. (BLD)
DAY 7 Krestof & Nakwasina Sounds
There aren’t many straight lines along Baranof Island. Its western side is spattered with remote, uninhabited islands - endless opportunities for adventure. Secluded coves, windswept shorelines, and cliffs battered by winter storms provide ample habitat for migratory birds. Drop anchor, pick your modus operandi, and get going. By kayak, paddle board, or skiff—you’re at eye-level with curious sea lions and whales in transit. Rocky intertidal zones are Alaska’s touch tanks – sea stars and edible kelps abound - turn a stone or two to see what’s underneath. There are no groomed trails here—get out on a guided hike that John Muir himself would approve of. Toast your voyage with Captain’s Dinner and a “photo journey” of your trip. A gift to you, from your expedition team. (BLD)
DAY 8 Sitka Disembarkation
Welcome to Sitka-by-the-Sea. A quaint fishing town, Sitka is as endearing as it is remote. Enjoy your last meal onboard and wish farewell to your crew, traveling companions, friends made along the way. Disembark and transfer to the airport or your UnCruise hotel stay or land tour. Not to be missed – a visit to the Raptor Center or a walk through the Sitka National Historic Park. Enjoy your time here, it is a look into life in Southeast Alaska that is honest, inviting, and a perfect bookend to your visit to this corner of the world. (B)
Passport required (non USA citizens). Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur to maximize your experience.