On the Alaska Spring Wilderness and Wildlife Safari, you’ll skirt miles of rugged coastline, taking in dramatic mountain views, pristine old growth forest, and the bountiful wildlife that rely on herring as a keystone species. The shallow draft of the vessel allows passengers an up-close view of stunning estuaries and bays that become spawning grounds for herring. While the specific timing of the herring spawn changes from year to year, guests are guaranteed an exclusive and personalized journey in and around the channels and bays of the Sitka Sound area.
During the days, you may find yourself immersed in whale and other wildlife viewing or on a kayak, paddleboard, and hiking excursions. In the evenings, you’ll enjoy exquisite meals featuring fresh Alaska cuisine while anchored in secluded coves. After a decadent dessert, step onto the upper deck to enjoy the sunset, alpenglow, and stars while listening for the faint sounds of nearby humpback whales and the rustle of eagles settling into their nests. Upon setting sail, you’ll immediately be immersed in the unparalleled natural beauty of Sitka Sound. This itinerary truly has something for everyone: jaw-dropping photography opportunities, birding and wildlife viewing, kayak ventures, and even the possibility of witnessing the spirited and competitive commercial herring fishery.
The Alaska’s Spring Wilderness and Wildlife Safari sails round-trip from beautiful “Sitka by the Sea,” the only Southeast Alaska community facing the open waters of the Gulf of Alaska. When you arrive, our hospitality team will greet you at the airport. Even before stepping foot on the Misty Fjord, you’ll be charmed by our uniquely Alaskan hometown and its rich Tlingit culture, natural beauty, friendly locals, and Russian history. Nestled between the mountains and shoreline of rugged Baranof Island, Sitka boasts incredible amenities and attractions for a small island town. Guests will have an opportunity to view birds of prey like bald eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons at the Alaska Raptor Center, and get up close with many marine species at the Sitka Sound Science Center, a working salmon hatchery and aquarium in a gorgeously renovated building on the historic Sheldon Jackson Campus.
The five-night expedition comes to a close back in our home port of Sitka. Before departing, you will have another chance to enjoy more local amenities including galleries, museums, a local brewery, an award-winning independent bookstore, boutique shopping, an extensive trail system, yoga studios and salons, and restaurants featuring local seafood and ocean views. Finally, we send off our treasured guests with complimentary hotel or airport transport, a renewed spirit of adventure, and a lifetime of memories.
Voyage Highlights May Include:
- Dazzling humpback whale viewing. These gentle giants are famous for their powerful and sometimes synchronized foraging behaviours of breaching, lunging, and bubble net feeding.
- Bays and inlets teeming with herring along with a great variety of additional wildlife including sea otters, stellar sea lions, harbour seals, porpoise, Sitka black-tailed deer, brown bear, bald eagles, great blue heron, belted kingfishers, and more.
- An up-close visit to the St. Lazaria Wildlife Refuge, an offshore volcanic island that is home to a variety of seabird species.
- A chance to step ashore on remote beaches dwarfed by the towering canopies of Sitka spruce, yellow cedar, and western hemlock stands, and further explore the rich biodiversity of the understory, including budding blueberry and huckleberry bushes, salmonberries, and the iconic and medicinal devil's club plant.
- Hiking adventures on one or more of the many beautiful trails near Sitka. These trails include maintained paths or boardwalks through rainforest habitats that feature tidelands, waterfalls, muskeg.
- A visit to the rustic mineral pools at Goddard Hot Springs, where visitors can soak in healing tubs while taking in views of the meadows, tidelands, and islands scattered about Sitka Sound.