Cruising the 900 nautical miles between Juneau and Seattle offers exhilaration with views of snow-capped mountains, wildlife and birds, waterfalls, tree-lined narrow passageways and surprises at every turn. Whether traveling in May or September, it is an optimal time for cruising with vivid foliage, fewer boats and people, and active bears and other animals foraging along the shoreline. The 15-day adventure offers diverse ways to enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife from the viewpoints of a kayaker, stand-up paddle boarder, hiker, snorkeler, or beachcomber. Along the way, expedition leaders and naturalists enhance the experience with presentations and discussions.
Day 1: Juneau, Alaska / Embark
Welcome aboard! Meet the crew and get acquainted as you set sail for the Chuck River Wilderness.
Day 2: Chuck River Wilderness / Frederick Sound
The Chuck River Wilderness, an animal and bird watcher's paradise, is complete with remote lush rainforest and fresh and saltwater habitat. Kayaking, trekking, skiff rides, and paddle boarding in the Windham Bay area round out your morning activities. Explore Frederick SoundÂ—summer feeding ground for humpback whales. Keep watch for humpbacks, orca, and Stellar sea lions.
Day 3: Thomas Bay / Cascade Creek / Baird Glacier
In Thomas Bay, known for glaciers and rich in gold and quartz, take on the otherworldly Baird Glacier until you stand atop the mile-wide glacier. Choose guided kayaking and a forest trek on one of the scenic Cascade Creek trails. Or go big on the 5-mile hike to the rarely visited Patterson Lake for spectacular kayaking. Hear legends about the areaÂ’s mythical shape-shifting creatures called Kushtaka.
Day 4: LeConte Bay / Ideal Cove / Wrangell Narrows
Glide through the ice-rich waters and steep-sided fjord of LeConte Bay as Â“bergy bitsÂ” roll against the shipÂ’s hull. Natural beauty is todayÂ’s setting for kayaking, skiff rides, and hiking at Ideal Cove. Cruise the winding Wrangell Narrows, known locally as Â“Christmas Tree Lane,Â” where an abundance of bright red and green navigation lights guide you along.
Day 5: Wrangell
Home to native culture, wildlife, and wonderÂ—Wrangell is one of the oldest towns in Alaska and the only one ever governed by four nations. Brush up on your Tlingit culture at Chief Shakes Tribal House for native storytelling. View recently carved totem poles at Kiksetti Totem Park.
Day 6: Yes Bay
Wildlife abounds in Yes Bay and the surrounding Tongass National ForestÂ—humpback whales, orca, porpoise, seals, sea lions, brown and black bears, mink, marten, eagles, and otters. Say yes to a kayak paddle up the bay. Venture out on a wildlife-seeking hike on the scenic Wolverine Creek or McDonald Lake Trails.
Day 7: Misty Fjords National Monument
Representing nearly every ecosystem found in Southeast AlaskaÂ—its steep walls and glacial valleys filled with sea water are a haven for wildlife. By kayak or skiff, glide through Walker Cove soaking in the splendor of this largely forgotten corner of the world.
Day 8: Ketchikan
AlaskaÂ’s southernmost city and Â“salmon capital of the worldÂ” also claims fame to having the worldÂ’s largest collection of standing totem poles. Spend your day exploring the Saxman Totem Village and the notorious Creek Street, once a red-light district. This afternoon, keep watch for eagles on the cruise out of Ketchikan.
Days 9-12: CanadaÂ’s Inside Passage
A birders paradise, sightings of marine life such as orca, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and porpoise will also be high on the list as you cruise intricate waterways and fjords alongside temperate rainforests and mountains. Native influences have shaped these sparsely-populated islands and communities, one claiming fame as home to the world's largest totem pole. Pass the ghost town of Butedale, a former fishing, mining, and logging camp on British ColumbiaÂ’s Princess Royal Island. The US/Canadian border lies a short distance beyond Prince Rupert, BC.
Day 13: San Juan Islands, Washington
The term "gunkholing" originated here and today you'll "gunkhole" close to shore by skiff or kayak and by foot on land. Keep watch on deck for the resident orca pods.
Day 14: San Juan Islands / Friday Harbor
Misty, deeply forested islands dot the seascape of the yachterÂ’s paradise. Explore Friday Harbor, a quaint sailing town and its fascinating Whale Museum. Join the Captain in a farewell toast this evening.
Day 15: Seattle / Disembark
Enjoy a Bon Voyage breakfast before disembarking the ship this morning. Transfer directly to the Seattle airport or arrange for an add-on overnight stay or an extended land tour.