Discovery Voyages http://www.discoveryvoyages.com Alaska small ship cruise specialists :: Prince William Sound, Alaska Fri, 14 Dec 2018 14:10:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Contact Form http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/uncategorized/contact/ Fri, 21 Dec 2012 04:57:30 +0000 http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/?p=1429 Tell Us What Interests You
Questions? Call 1-800-324-7602 (+1-907-202-1017 outside the USA) OR Email Us OR simply fill out the form below. We will let you know if space is available on the dates or trips that interest you and answer any questions you have.

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Tell Us What Interests You

Questions? Call 1-800-324-7602 (+1-907-202-1017 outside the USA) OR Email Us OR simply fill out the form below. We will let you know if space is available on the dates or trips that interest you and answer any questions you have.

[contact-form-7]

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Classic Discovery Voyage http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/classic-discovery-voyage/ http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/classic-discovery-voyage/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 20:44:57 +0000 http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/?p=254 The Classic Discovery Voyage samples the natural wonders of Prince William Sound. Years of travel and exploration in the Sound have resulted in a destination list of must-see places. These small ship cruises may be 5-7 days, based on the specific itinerary.

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The Classic Discovery Voyage samples the natural wonders of Prince William Sound. Years of travel and exploration in the Sound have resulted in a destination list of must-see places. This Alaska small ship cruise may be 5-7 days, based on the specific itinerary. Longer trips will linger a little more and explore a little deeper. Wildflower meadows, rainforest trails, calving glaciers, whale watching, photography, shore side hikes, kayaking and a whole lot more await you on this classic encounter with the world-class beauty of Prince William Sound. Look for dates and prices on our calendar.

Full Itinerary

This is a typical itinerary for our “Classic” Discovery Voyage in Prince William Sound, one of our most popular Alaska small ship cruise tours. Please keep in mind that itinerary changes may occur to take advantage of  wildlife viewing opportunities or visit places of particular interest to our guests, or to avoid open water during times of inclement weather. Nights are spent at anchor in any of the Sound’s intimate and protected bays, fjords, or coves. Trip length may vary from this sample itinerary. See the Trip Schedule for length of specific upcoming voyages.

Day 1

Arrive in Anchorage and transfer on own to your downtown Bed & Breakfast (included) for a comfortable night stay. Accommodations offer convenient access to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a network of developed hiking and bicycling trails throughout the Anchorage area. We recommend a walk or bike ride this afternoon or evening, if time allows. The views of the Alaska Range are spectacular! Dinner on own this evening. A great selection of restaurants are within easy walking distance of your B&B. We’re happy to share our favorites.

Day 2

Van transfer pick up by Discovery staff at 10:00am for the scenic ride along Turnagain Arm, known for its tremendous tidal flats and frequent sightings of Beluga Whales. Continue south through the Chugach mountains to rendezvous with the captain and crew in Whittier for a warm welcome aboard the Discovery. While the crew prepares for departure, relax in the Discovery’s cozy salon and enjoy specially prepared appetizers of smoked salmon or halibut spread with crackers, fresh baked breads, fruits, and a plentiful selection of fine beverages.

Leave Whittier in the early afternoon, enjoying lunch while cruising east and south past lush rainforest-clad slopes and past numerous waterfalls. After lunch, we will launch inflatable zodiacs to take us onshore for an easy hike. Return to the Discovery to find an exquisite dinner waiting of local Copper River Red salmon, roasted rosemary potatoes, fresh vegetables, and elegant desserts. A selection of wine and other beverages are available. Meanwhile, the Discovery travels to an evening anchorage in one of the Sound’s many intimate and secluded coves.

Day 3

Mornings aboard the Discovery are usually relaxed with a casual open breakfast served from 8:00 a.m. till 10:00 a.m. works well with guests from various time zones and individual morning routines. Enjoy a variety of warm fresh breads, muffins, rolls, fruits, cereals, warm egg dishes, juices, coffee and tea are all available. Underway in the morning, the Discovery sails through Knight Island Passage and Dangerous Passage towards Icy Bay. Keep your eyes peeled for dorsal fins and blow spouts — some of the Sound’s most frequent Orca and Humpback Whale sightings are found along this route.

Discovery

At midday the Discovery navigates her way through the Nassau Fjord. Several miles of icebergs and brash ice (smaller pieces of glacial ice) lay between the fjord’s entrance and the calving face of Chenega glacier, named after the local native community of Chenega. The massive 200-square-mile Sergeant Ice field funnels ice down a wide mountain valley, forming a mile-long, 200-foot-high wall of ice that topples giant blue chunks into the sea. Calving tidewater glaciers occur in only a few places in the world and Prince William Sound is home to the greatest concentration of them in Alaska. The Chenega glacier, with its daunting size and thunderous sounds, offers a remarkable opportunity to experience firsthand the tremendous natural forces that move these spectacles of nature.

Hundreds of harbor seals make Icy Bay their summer home, using the floating ice as resting platforms and safe places for birthing. The rocky mountainsides around Chenega glacier also support a healthy and frequently visible population of mountain goats. Binoculars serve as helpful aids in sighting these skillful mountain climbers, and the Discovery can provide a pair if you don’t have your own. If conditions are favorable, some guests may enjoy a short hike above the glacier with opportunities to take photographs of the many small ice bergs that have washed ashore. After lunch, the Discovery exits this ice-laden fjord for Bainbridge Passage.  Late afternoon and early evening provide opportunities for more Orca and Humpback whale watching. If successful, we’ll pass this helpful information on to the local whale researchers of the North Gulf Oceanic Society. Enjoy a relaxing dinner while the Discovery travels along Knight Island, into the uncharted narrows of Long Channel for the evening’s anchorage.

Day 4

The unhurried morning routine of relaxed and casual breakfasts allows for flexible wake up times. Traveling northwest through more “sea pastures” fertile with whale watching opportunities, the Discovery cruises toward a noisy and raucous Steller Sea Lion haulout. These entertaining creatures put on quite a display—some show off their graceful water acrobatics while others roar and bellow, or recline lazily upon the large rocky shore. After a short visit with the sea lions, we turn westward toward an impressive waterfall, and lunch is served along the way. Those wanting to stretch their legs can take the short Zodiac ride ashore for a guided hike through the world’s northern-most temperate rain forest, rich with ferns, mosses, and towering Spruce, Hemlock and Cedar.

Later in the day, we travel the remote shores of Eaglek Bay to visit the oyster farm of David Sczawinski. Oyster lovers will enjoy one of the Sound’s most delicious sea products. It doesn’t come fresher than this. Upon leaving Eaglek Bay, the Discovery makes a brief stop near one of the many small islands that are home to a colony of Tufted Puffins, thought by many visitors to be Alaska’s most photogenic seabird. Continuing westward through Wells Passage, enjoy appetizers of expertly prepared fresh oysters and dinner of macadamia-encrusted halibut, complimented by fresh vegetables, fresh baked focaccia, dessert, dinner wines and other beverages. Set course northward to the fringes of College Fjord for the evening’s anchorage and midnight sunset views.

Day 5

Guests awake to a casual breakfast and a day of some of the world’s most spectacular scenery as the Discovery navigates the icy, blue waters of Barry Arm. Harbor seals hauled out on flotillas of icebergs watch as we cruise through these corridors of breathtaking beauty, framed by mountains stretching skyward to nearly 10,000 feet, with glacier after glacier descending the terraced mountain valleys. The Sound’s lush rainforest drapes the slopes in green as streaming waterfalls fall from the rocky cliffs. Listen to the cracks, pops and thunderous roars of the Cascade, Barry and Coxe glaciers while the Discovery, dwarfed by blue and white walls, drifts silently by these actively calving rivers of ice.

Black Oystercatchers

For guests seeking an even closer perspective, the Discovery crew will launch the inflatable Zodiac for a guided exploration of this magnificent area. Touch the impressive face of Coxe glacier, watch the showy Black Oystercatchers strut across the rocky shorelines, sense the presence of the curious Hoary marmots and drink in the bright pinks of fireweed and the intense blues of the alpine lupine.

After lunch, spend time exploring the wonders of Harriman Fjord and Surprise Glacier. Hike along the shore among beached icebergs stranded by the ebbing tide, or possibly an upland hike, offering broad spectacular views of the Chugach mountain range and glacier-valleys. Then the Discovery will explore deeper into the ice filled fjord for a chance to kayak and up to the face of Harriman Glacier. On this journey, you’re entertained by families of playful sea otters foraging the shellfish-rich shallow waters of their favorite feeding ground. As a protected species, these otters exhibit little concern for human presence, instead offering great opportunities for photos and up-close observations. Nature offers few chances to see animals in the wild as “cute” and adorable as these mothers with young pups.

Day 6

Guide-Kayaking

Spend the morning exploring the wonders of Harriman Fjord and Surprise Glacier. Hike along the shore among beached icebergs stranded by the ebbing tide, or possibly an upland hike, offering broad spectacular views of the Chugach mountain range and glacier-valleys.

Then the Discovery will explore deeper into the ice filled fjord for a chance to kayak and up to the face of Harriman Glacier. On this journey, you’re entertained by families of playful sea otters foraging the shellfish-rich shallow waters of their favorite feeding ground. As a protected species, these otters exhibit little concern for human presence, instead offering great opportunities for photos and up-close observations. Nature offers few chances to see animals in the wild as adorable as these mothers with young pups. Enjoy a memorable final dinner on the Discovery while continuing toward the evening’s anchorage.

Day 7

Awake today immersed in a wilderness sanctuary of quiet beauty. This powerful living landscape leaves many of us feeling awed and humbled. Take in the morning light on the deck of the Discovery while enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea. Look out for one more whale as you relax in the main cabin or keep watch on deck in the salty ocean breeze. Lunch will be served while taking in the sights of Passage Canal prior to docking in the Whittier Harbor and your van transfer to Anchorage. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 8

Enjoy breakfast this morning at your Bed & Breakfast. Transfer on own to the airport for departures home, or you may choose to extend your stay in Alaska. If you have the time, we recommend seeing Dave Parkhurst’s Northern Lights show at the Performing Arts Center, or a visit to the Museum of Natural History and Art; or, if you have children, you may find a visit to the Alaska Zoo to be fun and informative (the indigenous Alaskan wildlife at the zoo are all “rescued” animals, taken to captivity only when they could not survive in the wild). Often, there is an outdoor market in downtown Anchorage, featuring Alaskan art and other local goods.

Tell Us What Interests You

Questions? Call 1-800-324-7602 (+1-907-202-1017 outside the USA) OR Email Us OR simply fill out the form below. We will let you know if space is available on the dates or trips that interest you and answer any questions you have.

[contact-form-7]

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Land & Sea Adventures http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/land-sea-adventures/ http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/land-sea-adventures/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:39:14 +0000 http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/?p=360 Discovery Voyages offers a host of Land and Sea options. Our partners in bringing you these trips include Camp Denali/North Face Lodge, Alaska Alpine Adventures, Orca Adventure Lodge, and photo-naturalist Hugh Rose.

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Discovery Voyages offers a host of Land and Sea options. Our partners in bringing you these trips include Camp Denali/North Face Lodge, Alaska Alpine Adventures, Orca Adventure Lodge, and photo-naturalist Hugh Rose. We offer two package trips that are professionally guided and feature glacier viewing, whale watching, abundant sea kayaking, hiking, and photography opportunities, and gourmet cuisine aboard the small ship M/V Discovery.  The first trip is the Grand Alaska Journey, offered in July and August each year, and include a stay inside Denali National Park as well as Fairbanks.  The second trip is the Spring Wildlife & Photography Voyage, offered in April &/or May, which includes time exploring the Copper River Delta during peak bird migration in the small fishing village of Cordova.  Trips can accommodate a variety of activity levels.

We also marry up our standard 3-6 day voyages to make it easier for guests to book additional time with Camp Denali/ North Face Lodge or Alaska Alpine Adventures, however this is not an all inclusive trip package.  We can certainly help you with setting up logistics!  Separate reservations are required.  For more information, see links to individual trip pages below plus Rates and Schedules  »

If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, remember that custom trips and charters are always available.


Glacier viewing in the Zodiak

3 Day Cruise with Discovery Voyage plus 3-4 Night Stay at Camp Denali/North Face Lodge

A trip with this itinerary will require separate reservations with Discovery Voyages and Camp Denali/North Face Lodge.  This is not an all-inclusive package, but rather convenient timelines to be able to experience both Prince William Sound and Denali National Park. Transportation to and from Denali National Park is not included.  Additional nights in Anchorage or outside Denali Park, if required, are not included.  Please contact Camp Denali for information about their lodge, pricing and availability.  We can certainly help you with setting up logistics!  

See the best of Alaska: Take in the highlights of Prince William Sound aboard the small ship Discovery then  extend your Alaskan adventure with a 3- or 4-day stay at Camp Denali/North Face Lodge in the heart of Denali National Park & Preserve. We’ve scheduled many departures this year for this popular land and sea combo. With Discovery Voyages you will cruise Barry Arm with it’s massive tidewater glaciers backed by mountains to 13,00 feet. Explore Harriman and College Fjords, the serene waters of Eaglek Bay and the spectacular Cascade Falls. Watch the antics of sea otters and Dall porpoises and keep an eye out for whales. The 3-Day Classic Discovery Voyage samples the natural wonders of northwestern Prince William Sound while leaving plenty of time for hiking, kayaking, and world-class photographic opportunities. Camp Denali and North Face Lodge are premier wilderness lodges located on family-owned inholdings within the national park and preserve with direct views of North America’s tallest peak. Experience the scenic beauty, wildlife and adventure of this six-million acre national park through guided outings and evening programs that will enhance your understanding and appreciation of the Far North.

 

Information regarding travel logistics 
Reserve your land stay with Camp Denali/North Face Lodge »


Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park

Grand Alaska Journey

The “Grand Alaska Journey”, led by naturalist and photographer Hugh Rose, includes the best of Alaska’s scenery and wildlife. The journey will highlight Alaska’s marine and terrestrial wildlife including the seals, sea lions, sea otters, whales, and bird life of marine ecosystem along with the grizzly bears, dall sheep, caribou, moose and other mega fauna of the interior boreal forest and tundra landscape. Hikes and treks across the varied environments will yield magnificent views of Alaska’s wilderness landscape. The journey begins in Anchorage and the nearby world-famous Prince William Sound on a 5-day voyage aboard the Discovery. From there, travel by road into Alaska’s interior for an intimate 3-day tour of Denali National Park, the crown jewel of America’s National Park system. You’ll overnight deep in the park at a comfortable lodge. The trip concludes in Fairbanks, Alaska’s “Golden Heart City.”

Learn more about our Grand Alaska Journey »


Shooting the Spring shorebird migration

Spring Wildlife and Photography Voyage

The Discovery Spring Wildlife and Photography Voyage is a 13 day land and sea adventure created with naturalists and photographers especially in mind. Spring offers outstanding bird watching, wildlife viewing and photo opportunities throughout Prince William Sound during a season that also offers some of the best weather of the year! The land portion of the trip is timed to coincide with the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival in Cordova, where you’ll stay at the Orca Adventure Lodge. The Copper River Delta serves as a critical refueling station for the migratory birds of the Western Hemisphere, making this a stunning and perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the amateur or professional naturalist to experience the largest gathering of shorebirds in the world. The trip is guided by Alaskan photo-naturalist Hugh Rose whose is generous with both photography tips and natural history insights into this epic migration. The remainder of the trip is spent on board the Discovery, touring the waters of Prince William Sound with plenty of time for more wildlife viewing and photography, plus hiking, kayaking, glacier viewing, fine dining and relaxing in the comfort of the Discovery’s salon.

Learn more about our Spring Wildlife and Photography Voyage »


Backcountry sea to ski vacation in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska

Backcountry Ski Cruise

When we first introduced it, our Sea-to-Ski Adventure was featured in Backcountry Magazine‘s November 2012 issue as America’s first yacht-accessed backcountry skiing experience. It was such a hit with both crew and guests that it’s become a regular feature on our land & sea trip list.  Join Alaska Alpine Adventures and Discovery Voyages in April for this amazing 7-day backcountry ski cruise throughout the Chugach Mountains in Prince William Sound Alaska. Explore and ski hard all day then relax aboard the Discovery with a glass of wine and gourmet meal. Intrigued? View a gallery of incredible photos from 2012 then…

Look for Ski Cruise on our Schedules page for dates and rates »
Go to Alaska Alpine Adventures to reserve your spot »


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Hike and Kayak Voyage http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/hike-and-kayak-small-ship-alaska-cruise/ http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/hike-and-kayak-small-ship-alaska-cruise/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:30:56 +0000 http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/?p=265 The Hike and Kayak Voyage lets you explore the landscape, wildlife and atmosphere of Prince William Sound Alaska from the small ship M/V Discovery with an emphasis on physical activities like kayaking among icebergs and hiking through mountain meadows.

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The Hike and Kayak Voyage lets you explore the landscape, wildlife and atmosphere of Prince William Sound Alaska from the small ship M/V Discovery with an emphasis on physical activities like kayaking among icebergs and hiking through mountain meadows. The Sound’s bays, coves and quiet waterways are as endless as the mountain meadows and ridge lines, and this trip samples richly from these special places. In addition to some energetic exploration, wildlife viewing, sightseeing, and visits to our favorite locations are also incorporated. A moderate activity level is recommended, but not required.  Look for dates and prices on our calendar.

Sample Itinerary for a 6 Day/5 Night Voyage (please note this trip is offered as a 5 or 6 day voyage)

The following includes a detailed itinerary sample of a Discovery Voyage in Prince William Sound. Please keep in mind that itinerary changes may occur, either to take advantage of seasonal opportunities like wildlife viewing, or to avoid open water during times of inclement weather and to visit places of particular interest. Nights are spent at anchor in any of the Sound’s intimate and protected bays, fjords, or coves. Trip length may vary from this sample itinerary. See the Trip Schedule for length of specific upcoming voyages.

Day 1

Arrive in Anchorage and transfer on own to your downtown Bed & Breakfast (included) for a comfortable night stay. Accommodations offer convenient access to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a network of developed hiking and bicycling trails throughout the Anchorage area. We recommend a walk or bike ride this afternoon or evening, if time allows. The views of the Alaska Range are spectacular! Dinner on own this evening. A great selection of restaurants are within easy walking distance of your B&B. We’re happy to share our favorites.

Day 2

Van transfer pick up by Discovery staff at 10:00am for the scenic ride along the Turnagain Arm, known for its tremendous tidal flats and frequent sightings of Beluga Whales. Continue south through the Chugach Mountains to rendezvous with the captain and crew in Whittier for a warm welcome aboard the Discovery. While the crew prepares for departure, relax in the Discovery’s cozy salon and enjoy specially prepared appetizers of smoked salmon or halibut spread with crackers, fresh baked breads, fruits, and a plentiful selection of fine beverages. Leave Whittier, sailing east and south for our first kayaking and hiking destination.

This region serves as a favorite kayak destination, due to the intimate shore side views along both sides of the narrow passage. While enroute, the Discovery crew will orientate all visitors to the use of the kayaks and gear necessary for our first paddle excursion. After everyone is well situated in their kayaks, the Discovery sails ahead and will meet the group in a few hours with a delicious evening meal. After dinner, a shore-side hike reveals a wonderland of tundra pools and vegetation, reminiscent of a Japanese garden. Giant vertical cliffs pour water down their rock faces into streams and ponds. Return to the Discovery and sail for the evening anchorage.

Day 3

Mornings aboard the Discovery are usually relaxed with a casual open breakfast served from 8:00 a.m. till 10:00 a.m. works well with guests from various time zones and individual morning routines. Enjoy a variety of warm fresh breads, muffins, rolls, fruits, cereals, various warm egg dishes, juices, coffee and tea. Underway in the morning, the Discovery sails through Knight Island Passage and Dangerous Passage towards Icy Bay.

At midday, the Discovery navigates her way through Icy Bay’s Nassau Fjord. Several miles of icebergs and brash ice (smaller pieces of glacial ice) lay between the fjord entrance and the massive, calving face of Chenega glacier, named after the local native community of Chenega. The massive, 200-square-mile Sergeant Ice field funnels ice down a wide mountain valley, forming a one-mile-long, 200-foot-high wall that topples giant blue chunks into the sea. This active tidewater glacier, with its daunting size and mammoth sounds, offers a remarkable opportunity to experience firsthand the tremendous natural forces that move these spectacles of nature. There are a multitude of kayaking and onshore hiking opportunities available in this region, and we will decide what activities to pursue depending on the weather and everyone’s preferences.

Hundreds of harbor seals make Icy Bay their summer home, using the floating ice as resting platforms and safe places for birthing. The rocky mountainsides around Chenega glacier support a healthy, frequently visible population of mountain goats; binoculars serve as helpful aids in sighting these skillful mountain climbers. Later in the day, the Discovery exits this ice-laden fjord for Bainbridge Passage.  Late afternoon and early evening provide opportunities for Orca and Humpback whale watching.Enjoy a relaxing dinner while the Discovery travels along Knight Island, into the uncharted narrows of Long Channel for the evening’s anchorage.

Day 4
Discovery with Orca

We have multiple options for exploring secluded bays on the southern end of Knight Island, the largest Island in the western sound. Characterized by undulating peaks and  intricate shorelines,  Knight Island offers some of the regions more “secretive” coves and spectacular mountains. This is a kayakers or small boat paradise. The currents near Knight Island’s southern tip bring fresh seafood into the area, which in turn brings whales, sea lions, and other marine life that follow the food web. The Sound’s most frequent Orca and Humpback Whale sightings are often found along this route, keep your eyes peeled for dorsal fins and blow spouts.  If successful, we’ll pass this helpful information on to the local whale researchers of the North Gulf Oceanic Society.

High, vertical cliffs, and dramatic scenery encircle the bays in this region. Migratory waterfowl make their home in these protected waters, and Bald Eagles soar above in search for food. After the kayak excursion, join the Discovery for lunch while we sail for northern Knight Island and a shore hike, which reveals grand vistas of the Chugach Mountain range bordering Prince William Sound to the north and west. Following the hike, we will head across northern Prince William Sound to a protected and quiet evening anchorage.

Day 5

The theme of a casual morning breakfast continues as the Discovery sails north up a long fjord which houses a tidewater glacier at its tip. Near the glacier, enjoy a kayak excursion that enables you to thread through the many icebergs that have recently fallen from the 200- to 300-foot face of the glacier. Sea otters and hundreds of harbor seals make the inlet their summer home. If you’re quiet and lucky, you can paddle up close to seals resting on the bergs. Arctic Terns, Bald Eagles, and other birds frequent the area, and kayaks serve as a gentle and quiet mode of travel to access this magical fjord.

Enjoy a shoreside hike, which takes you up the hill adjacent to the glacier and opens a tremendous view of this river of ice, bending down through the mountain valleys. This glacier’s terminus has been slowly advancing down Unakwik Inlet while most glaciers globally are receding. The scene for visitors is one where the sides of this massive hundred-foot-plus blue-white face is pushing into the temperate rainforest consisting of not just mosses, ferns, and lichens, but also huge 400-year old western hemlock and Sitka spruce. A short visit here to see this ongoing event is a must. Afterwards relax on board with appetizers. Enjoy the sounds of ice tumbling into the sea, while the chef prepares a fine evening meal and the Discovery turns to head southward again to a quiet evening anchorage.

Day 6

Today’s hike serves as a portage between two bays, traversing a hidden mountain meadow. The beauty of the delicate alpine vegetation encountered on this two-hour walk was described by the early explorer and naturalist Charles Keeler:  “It is with a thrill of pleasure that the traveler encounters one of these secluded meadows hemmed in on all sides by trackless forests or untraveled waterways. Imagine an open glade half a mile in length, with gently undulating surface, and here and there a dwarf spruce or an alpine hemlock, twisted and gnarled, looking in its fantastic shape like the handwork of a Japanese gardener. A carpet of dense moss, in which the feet sink at every step, covers the ground, and here and there are pools of water, imagine the frail flowers, which sway upon their banks. Here grow the golden geum, the dainty little white stars, both the pink-belled and white-belled heathers, the small bunchberry or ground dogwood, the beautiful purple nodding dodecatheon, the waving white fluffs of the cotton grass, and the minute little purple bells of butterwort.”

Kayaking Prince William Sound

While we traverse across, the Discovery sails around to meet us at the head of the next bay. Back on board, we then continue on our journey along the shores of the bay to an impressive, 300-foot-high waterfall.

After a visit to the falls, travel south along the bay’s remote shores to visit the Oyster Farm of Pristine Products. The oyster lover will enjoy a taste of one of the Sound’s most delicious sea products, fresh “Pristine” oysters. We will then sail for Barry Arm with a delicious lunch of fresh seafood served on the way. Travel north through a thin, snake-like waterway, banked by the luscious greens of the Chugach National Forest. Anchor in Barry arm for the evening.

Day 7

Guests awake to a casual breakfast and an exciting day of some of the world’s most spectacular scenery–corridors of breathtaking beauty, sprawling glaciers and a panoramic skyline of mountain grandeur. Harbor seals and sea otters hauled out on the flotillas of icebergs watch closely as the Discovery navigates the icy, blue waters of Barry Arm. The enveloping mountains of this inlet stretch skyward to nearly 10,000 feet, with glacier after glacier descending the terraced mountain valleys. Alaska’s lush rainforest vegetation drapes the hillsides in green as streaming waterfalls fall from the rocky cliffs.

Listen to the cracks, pops and thunderous roars of the Cascade, Barry and Coxe glaciers while the Discovery, dwarfed by blue and white walls, drifts silently by these actively calving rivers of ice. With the retreat of the glaciers, new onshore hiking areas are created, allowing us to walk where perhaps no human has walked since the last glacial advance over 700 years ago. From Barry Arm the Discovery sails to the face of the Surprise glacier, for more glacier phenomenon. Kayak the Southern shores of Harriman Fjord and enjoy a picnic lunch in the grassy meadows prior to a hike up the surrounding hills for a matchless view of Mount Muir, Mount Gilbert, and Mount Gannet rising high from the coastal shores.

Join the Discovery for your final journey back to Whittier. Passing through Port Wells, where you’re entertained by families of playful sea otters foraging the shellfish-rich shallow waters of their favorite feeding ground. As a protected species, these otters exhibit little concern for human presence, offering great opportunities for photos and up-close observations. Nature offers few chances to see animals in the wild as adorable as these mothers with young pups. Lunch is served while taking in the final sights of Passage Canal prior to docking in the Whittier Harbor and your van transfer to Anchorage. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 8
Kayaking Prince William SoundEnjoy breakfast this morning at your Bed & Breakfast. Transfer on own to the airport for departures home or you may choose to extend your stay in Alaska. If you have the time, we recommend seeing Dave Parkhurst’s Northern Lights show at the Performing Arts Center, or a visit to the Museum of Natural History and Art; or, if you have children, you may find a visit to the Alaska Zoo to be fun and informative (the indigenous Alaskan wildlife at the zoo are all rescued animals, taken to captivity only when they could not survive in the wild). Often, there is an outdoor market in downtown Anchorage, featuring Alaskan art and other local goods.

Tell Us What Interests You

Questions? Call 1-800-324-7602 (+1-907-202-1017 outside the USA) OR Email Us OR simply fill out the form below. We will let you know if space is available on the dates or trips that interest you and answer any questions you have.

[contact-form-7]

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Photo Voyage http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/alaska-photography-cruise/ http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/alaska-photography-cruise/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:28:29 +0000 http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/?p=339 our photography tours are designed specifically for the photographer who always wants to linger a little longer than the rest of the group. Days activities focus on photographing in Prince William Sound's magical fjordland!

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Guided by professional photographer Hugh Rose or Ron Niebrugge, our photography tours are designed specifically for the photographer who always wants to linger a little longer than the rest of the group. Days activities focus on photographing in Prince William Sound’s magical fjordland! Over years in the Sound, Hugh and Ron have cultivated a healthy list of “favorite places” that hold a special beauty at certain times of day. It is these locations, along with other spontaneous encounters, that we focus on during this voyage. Keep in mind, all voyages have ample options for exceptional photographic opportunities!  Look for dates and prices for specific trips on our calendar.

Full Itinerary

Our photography tours include a pre-trip orientation and dinner at a local restaurant the night before departure. Since available light conditions and weather will direct our daily activity, this itinerary is far from an exact description, but rather a means to give you a feel for some of the possible places we will visit. Since a year would be too short to try to cover all the photo options available, we will always remain flexible to serendipitous encounters and customize our itinerary as the days and weather unfold. Daily visits to shore will be made for photography as well as shooting from the boat.

Day 1

Arrive in Anchorage and transfer to your downtown Bed & Breakfast (included) for a comfortable night stay. Accommodations offer convenient access to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Meet your guide Hugh Rose for an evening pre-trip orientation and welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2

After breakfast, depart with Hugh via vehicle for a scenic ride along the Turnagain Arm, known for it’s tremendous tidal flats and frequent sightings of Beluga Whales. We will have time to stop for photo opportunities along the way. Continue through the Chugach mountains to rendezvous with the captain and crew in Whittier for a warm welcome abroad the Discovery. While the crew prepares for departure, relax in the Discovery’s cozy salon and enjoy specially prepared appetizers of fresh seafood chowder, salmon or halibut spread with crackers, fresh baked breads, fruits, and a plentiful selection of fine beverages.

Leave Whittier in the early afternoon for Port Nellie Juan, Alaska’s own un-peopled seacoast Yosemite with towering granite mountains, lush rainforest vegetation, countless rivers and waterfalls, and massive thundering glaciers. Upon arrival, the Discovery crew secures a safe anchorage and launches the inflatable “zodiacs” for an “up close” guided exploration of the surrounding shores and colossal tidewater face of the Nellie Juan glacier. Visit with the rich and diverse marine and bird life of Nellie Jaun lake; Harbor Seals, Sea Otters, Arctic Terns, Harlequin Ducks, Surf Scoters, Kittiwakes, and Oystercatchers to name but a few. Step ashore for an “other-worldly” experience of walking about hundreds of huge icebergs, stranded along the lakeside shore by the ebbing tides. Like an outdoor art studio, these sculpted formations exhibit nature’s artistic hand and beautiful forming processes. Return to the Discovery for an exquisite dinner waiting of fresh baked local sockeye salmon, halibut fillet stuffed with crab in cheese sauce, fresh breads, rice pilaf, vegetables, fancy dessert dinner wine and other beverages. Meanwhile the Discovery travels to an evening anchorage in one of the Sound’s many intimate and secluded coves.

Day 3
Whale in twilight

Alaska’s constant summer daylight brings morning light rather early, and the early risers will have opportunities to photography the fjord mountain skylines and glacial faces prior to a casual breakfast. Enjoy warm fresh breads, muffins, rolls, fruits, cereals, omelets cooked to your liking, juices and other beverages. Underway in the morning, the Discovery sails through Knight Island Passage and Dangerous Passage towards Icy Bay. Some of the Sound’s most frequent Orca and Humpback Whale sightings are found along this route, keep your eyes peeled for dorsal fins and blow spouts.
At midday the Discovery navigates her way through Icy Bay’s, Nassau Fjord. Several miles of icebergs and brash ice (smaller pieces of glacial ice) lay between the fjord entrance and the massive, calving face of Chenega glacier, named after the local native community of Chenega. The massive 200 square mile Sergeant Ice field funnels ice down a wide mountain valley, forming a one mile long, 200 foot high wall that topples giant blue chunks into the sea. This active tidewater glacier, with its daunting size and mammoth sounds, offer a remarkable opportunity to experience firsthand the tremendous natural forces that move these spectacles of nature.
Hundreds of harbor seals make Icy Bay their summer home, using the floating ice as resting platforms and safe places for birthing. The rocky mountainsides around Chenega glacier support a healthy, frequently visible population of mountain goats; binoculars serve as helpful aids in sighting these skillful mountain climbers. After lunch, the Discovery exits this ice-laden fjord for Bainbridge Passage. Late afternoon and early evening provide opportunities for more Orca and Humpback whale watching. Enjoy a relaxing dinner while the Discovery travels south along Knight Island, into the uncharted narrows of Long Channel for the evening’s anchorage.

Day 4

Cruising northwest through more “sea pastures” fertile with whale watching opportunities the Discovery cruises toward a noisy and raucous Steller Sea Lion haul-out. These entertaining creatures put on quite a display, some show off their graceful water acrobatics while others roar and bellow, or recline lazily upon the large rocky shore. After a short visit with the sea lions, travel turns westward towards an impressive waterfall, with lunch served along the way.

Those wanting to stretch their legs can take the short zodiac ride ashore for a guided hike through the world’s northern-most temperate rain forest, rich with ferns, mosses, and towering Spruce, Hemlock and Cedar trees. Later in the day travel the remote shores of Eaglek Bay to visit the oyster farm of David Sczawinski. Oyster lovers will enjoy one of the Sound’s most delicious sea products.

Upon leaving Eaglek Bay the Discovery makes a brief stop near one of the many small islands, home to a colony of Tufted Puffins, thought by many visitors to be Alaska’s most adorable seabird. Continuing westward through Wells Passage enjoy appetizers of expertly prepared fresh oysters, dinner of macadamia nut halibut, complimented by vegetables, fresh baked focaccia, dessert, dinner wines and other beverages. Set course northward to the fringes of College Fjord for the evening’s anchorage and midnight sunset views.

Day 5

Harriman-ArmAwake to a casual breakfast and an exciting day of some of the world’s most spectacular scenery–corridors of breathtaking beauty, sprawling glaciers and a panoramic skyline of mountain grandeur. Harbor seals hauled out on the flotillas of icebergs watch closely as the Discovery navigates the icy, blue waters of Barry Arm. The enveloping mountains of this inlet stretch skyward to nearly 10,000 feet, with glacier after glacier descending the terraced mountain valleys. Alaska’s lush rainforest vegetation drapes the hillsides in green as streaming waterfalls fall from the rocky cliffs. Listen to the cracks, pops and thunderous roars of the Cascade, Barry and Coxe glaciers while the Discovery, dwarfed by blue and white walls, drifts silently by these actively calving rivers of ice.

Inflatable “zodiacs” provide access to shore to photograph this magnificent area. Touch the impressive face of Coxe glacier, watch the showy Black Oystercatchers strut across the rocky shorelines, sense the presence of the curious Hoary marmots and drink in the bright pinks of fireweed and the intense blues of the alpine lupine.

After lunch, spend time exploring the wonders of Harriman Fjord and Surprise Glacier. Hike along the shore among beached icebergs stranded by the ebbing tide, or possibly an upland hike, offering broad spectacular views of the Chugach mountain range and glacier-valleys. Then the Discovery will explore deeper into the ice filled fjord for a chance to kayak and up to the face of Harriman Glacier. On this journey, you’re entertained by families of playful sea otters foraging the shellfish-rich shallow waters of their favorite feeding ground. As a protected species, these otters exhibit little concern for human presence, instead offering great opportunities for photos and up-close observations. Nature offers few chances to see animals in the wild as “cute” and adorable as these mothers with young pups. Spend the evening anchored in Harriman fjord.

Day 6

Spend the morning exploring the wonders of Harriman Fjord and Surprise Glacier. Hike along the shore among beached icebergs stranded by the ebbing tide. Or possibly an upland hike, offering broad spectacular views of the Chugach mountain range and glacier-valleys. Enjoy lunch while the Discovery goes deeper into the ice-filled fjord for a chance to kayak and up to the face of Harriman Glacier. On this journey, you’re entertained by families of playful sea otters foraging the shellfish-rich shallow waters of their favorite feeding ground. As a protected species, these otters exhibit little concern for human presence, instead offering great opportunities for photos and up-close observations. Nature offers few chances to see animals in the wild as ‘cute’ and adorable and these mothers with young pups. Enjoy a memorable final dinner on the Discovery while continuing toward the evening’s anchorage.

Day 7
False HelleboreFalse Hellebore

Awake immersed in a wilderness sanctuary of unparalleled natural beauty. Take in the morning light on the deck of the Discovery while enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea. These spellbinding sights and dramatic sounds leave you humbled and feeling insignificant amidst this powerful living landscape. Relax in the salty ocean breeze and splendor of this special place as we travel south. Lunch will be served while taking in the final sights of Passage Canal prior to docking in the Whittier Harbor and your van transfer to Anchorage. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 8

Enjoy breakfast this morning at your Bed & Breakfast. Transfer on own to the airport for departures home, or you may choose to extend your stay in Alaska. If you have the time, we recommend seeing Dave Parkhurst’s Northern Lights show at the Performing Arts Center, or a visit to the Museum of Natural History and Art; or, if you have children, you may find a visit to the Alaska Zoo to be fun and informative (the indigenous Alaskan wildlife at the zoo are all rescued animals, taken to captivity only when they could not survive in the wild). Often, there is an outdoor market in downtown Anchorage, featuring Alaskan art and other local goods.

Tell Us What Interests You

Questions? Call 1-800-324-7602 (+1-907-202-1017 outside the USA) OR Email Us OR simply fill out the form below. We will let you know if space is available on the dates or trips that interest you and answer any questions you have.

[contact-form-7]

See recommended camera equipment list  »

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3-Day Classic Voyage http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/3-day-classic-alaska-cruise/ http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/3-day-classic-alaska-cruise/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:25:25 +0000 http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/?p=333 Sample the natural wonders of northwestern Prince William Sound.... Cruise Barry Arm, with it's massive tidewater glaciers. Explore the serene waters of Eaglek Bay and the spectacular Cascade Falls. Watch the antics of sea otters and Dall porpoises and keep an eye out for whales.

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Take in the highlights of Prince William Sound Alaska on the small ship M/V Discovery. Cruise Barry Arm, with it’s massive tidewater glaciers backed by mountains to 13,00 feet. Explore the serene waters of Eaglek Bay and the spectacular Cascade Falls. Watch the antics of sea otters and Dall porpoises and keep an eye out for whales. The 3-Day Classic Discovery Voyage samples the natural wonders of northwestern Prince William Sound while leaving plenty of time for hiking, kayaking, and world-class photographic opportunities. Look for dates and prices for specific trips on our calendar.
 

Full Itinerary

The 3-Day Discovery Voyage is designed especially for travelers with less time. It samples all the highlights of our Classic Discovery Voyage by focusing on the northwestern Prince William Sound. In order to provide the best possible experience, we may make changes to the following itinerary either to take advantage of seasonal opportunities like wildlife viewing, to avoid open water during times of inclement weather, or to visit places of particular interest. Nights are spent at anchor in any of the Sound’s intimate and protected bays, fjords, or coves.

Day 1

Arrive in Anchorage and transfer on own to your downtown Bed & Breakfast (included) for a comfortable night stay. Accommodations offer convenient access to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a network of developed hiking and bicycling trails throughout the Anchorage area. We recommend a walk or bike ride this afternoon or evening, if time allows. The views of the Alaska Range are spectacular! Dinner on own this evening. A great selection of restaurants are within easy walking distance of your B&B. We’re happy to share our favorites.

Day 2

2102238Van transfer pick up by Discovery staff at 10:00am for the scenic ride along Turnagain Arm, known for it’s tremendous tidal flats and frequent sightings of Beluga Whales. Continue south through the Chugach mountains to rendezvous with the captain and crew in Whittier for a warm welcome aboard the Discovery. While the crew prepares for departure, relax in the Discovery’s cozy salon and enjoy specially prepared appetizers of smoked salmon or halibut spread with crackers, fresh baked breads, fruits, and a plentiful selection of fine beverages. Leave Whittier in the early afternoon, enjoying lunch while traveling east and south to a hiking destination.

Upon arrival, we will launch inflatable Zodiacs to take us onshore for a short hike through lush rainforest vegetation and countless rivers and waterfalls. Return to the Discovery for an exquisite dinner waiting of local Copper River Red salmon, breads, roasted rosemary potatoes, vegetables, desserts, dinner wine selections and many other beverages are available. Meanwhile, the Discovery travels to an evening anchorage in one of the Sound’s many intimate and secluded coves.

Day 3

Guided kayaking in Prince William SoundAwake to breakfast and a short cruise to a spectacular waterfall. If the salmon have returned to adjacent streams, black bears may be seen during low tide feeding. Optional shore rainforest hike or kayak the intimate shoreline with small coves and bays to explore or enjoy the magical scenery from the comfort of the Discovery.

Later in the day, we travel the remote shores of Eaglek Bay to visit the oyster farm of David Sczawinski. Oyster lovers will enjoy one of the Sound’s most delicious sea products. Upon leaving Eaglek Bay, the Discovery makes a brief stop near one of the many small islands, home to a colony of Tufted Puffins, thought by many visitors to be Alaska’s most adorable seabird. Dinner and overnight in lovely quiet cove.

Day 4

HikingDepending on interests, this day will unfold accordingly. Spend the morning exploring the wonders of Harriman Fjord and Surprise Glacier. Countless waterfalls of every description cascade down from out of almost nowhere. Sea otters and harbor seals haul out on the floating ice which has recently crashed from the glacial face with a thunderous roar into the fiord in front of you. Hike along the shore among beached icebergs stranded by the ebbing tide, or take an upland hike for broad spectacular views of the Chugach mountain range and glacial valleys.

Mid day begin cruising and sightseeing back towards the port of Whittier and arrival approximately 4:00 PM. Lunch will be served while taking in the final sights of Passage Canal prior to docking in the Whittier Harbor and your van transfer to Anchorage. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 5

Enjoy breakfast this morning at your Bed & Breakfast. Transfer on own to the airport for departures home, or you may choose to extend your stay in Alaska. If you have the time, we recommend seeing Dave Parkhurst’s Northern Lights show at the Performing Arts Center, or a visit to the Museum of Natural History and Art; or, if you have children, you may find a visit to the Alaska Zoo to be fun and informative (the indigenous Alaskan wildlife at the zoo are all “rescued” animals, taken to captivity only when they could not survive in the wild). Often, there is an outdoor market in downtown Anchorage, featuring Alaskan art and other local goods.

Tell Us What Interests You

Questions? Call 1-800-324-7602 (+1-907-202-1017 outside the USA) OR Email Us OR simply fill out the form below. We will let you know if space is available on the dates or trips that interest you and answer any questions you have.

[contact-form-7]

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Grand Alaska Voyage http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/grand-alaska-voyage/ http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/grand-alaska-voyage/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:20:25 +0000 http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/?p=266 The Grand Alaska Voyage, guided by naturalist and photographer Hugh Rose, includes the best of Alaska's scenery and wildlife. The journey begins in Anchorage and the nearby world-famous Prince William Sound on a five day voyage aboard the M/V Discovery.

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The Grand Alaska Voyage, guided by naturalist and photographer Hugh Rose, is the ultimate Alaska land and sea adventure featuring the very best of Alaska’s scenery and wildlife. The journey begins in Anchorage or Fairbanks and includes a 5 to 7-day cruise in world-famous Prince William Sound  aboard the small ship M/V Discovery.  The land portion of this trip couldn’t be grander: Travel by road into Alaska’s interior for an intimate three-day tour of Denali National Park, overnighting deep in the park at a private lodge. Flight-seeing tour included, weather permitting. Look for dates and prices for specific trips below.

July Itinerary  ** July 23 – Aug 3, 2019 **  12 days/ 11 nights at $7,650/pp

Day 1 July 23   Fairbanks
Arrive in Fairbanks and take a free shuttle service to River’s Edge Resort for a welcome dinner.

Day 2 July 24  Fairbanks/ Healy
After breakfast, visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North to learn about Alaska Native culture and history, and view 2,000 years of Alaskan art. In the afternoon, travel approximately two hours in a luxurious, private van to the Denali National Park entrance, and visit the Denali Park Visitor Center, followed by a tour of Jon Nierenberg’s dog kennels to learn about winter dog mushing in the Denali Park region. Overnight at Earthsong Lodge (or similar).

Days 3- 4 July 25, 26  Denali
Travel 90 miles into Denali National Park by private vehicle with frequent stops to observe wildlife, stretch legs, and enjoy a box picnic lunch en route to Skyline Lodge in Kantishna. Spend 2 nights at Skyline Lodge in comfortable cabins with a spacious deck and views overlooking the Moose Creek Valley. Shared bathroom facilities are located near the cabins on a wooden walkway. During the day, explore the exquisite wilderness area, including Wonder Lake with tremendous views of Denali. Enjoy hiking among tundra wildflowers, wildlife viewing, biking, photography, or take a shuttle along the Denali Park Road to revisit the wilderness of the Park. In the evening, if the weather permits, take a stunning, flight-seeing tour (included) in a small plane around Denali’s summit.

Day 5 July 27  Denali/Anchorage
After breakfast, travel six to seven hours along the Denali Park Road back through the Park with opportunities for great animal viewing, photography, and mountain vistas of the Denali and the Alaska Range. Moose, caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, and other animals are commonly observed along the Park Road. After exiting the Park, continue driving south on the Parks Highway, and overnight at accommodations in Anchorage (enjoy dinner on your own).

Days 6-10 July 28 – Aug 1  Prince William Sound
In the morning embark on a scenic and photographic drive along Turnagain Arm—situated adjacent to the Chugach State Park—to the port town of Whittier. Meet the Discovery captains and crew, and after a welcome lunch on the Discovery, begin your voyage into the magical sheltered waterways of Prince William Sound. Sail through intimate fjords with tidewater glaciers; hike amidst the lush, green temperate rain forest and rolling green meadows; kayak among floating icebergs; watch glaciers calve huge chunks of ice into the fjords; view and photograph dramatic landscapes, sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, whales, birds, and other marine wildlife that make Prince William Sound home. The Discovery is renown for its delicious, home prepared meals using locally caught seafood, including salmon, halibut, and shrimp. While at anchor in a sheltered cove, enjoy a complimentary bar of beer, wine, and spirits as you relax during the evening in the Discovery’s salon, surrounded by a panorama of unparalleled scenery.

Day 11 Aug 2 Prince William Sound/ Anchorage
Return to Whittier after six wonderful days exploring Prince William Sound with your guide and the Discovery Voyages crew. Private van transfer to Anchorage for your overnight accommodations. Dinner is on your own at one of Anchorages many excellent restaurants.

Day 12 Aug 3  Anchorage
Depart for home, or continue on your own personal travel itinerary. Airport transfers are not included.

August Itinerary  **  Aug 13 – 23, 2019  **  11 days/ 10 nights at $7,150/pp

DAY 1 (Aug 13) Arrive Anchorage.  Overnight accommodations at an Anchorage B&B.

DAY 2 – 5 (Aug 14 – 17) After breakfast, plan to meet your guide Hugh Rose at 10am for van transportation southbound.  Begin your adventure today with a scenic drive along Turnagain Arm (bordering Chugach State Park) to the port town of Whittier and your journey into Prince William Sound.  Many photographic opportunities along the way.  The great crew of Discovery Voyages will meet you upon arrival.  Enjoy a welcome lunch reception and begin your exploration of this special place.  Includes hiking, kayaking, whale watching, glaciers, great food, and complimentary bar.  Shared bath.

DAY 6 (Aug 18) Return to Whittier this afternoon after 5 wonderful days exploring Prince William Sound with your guide Hugh Rose and the Discovery Crew.  Transfer to Anchorage by van for dinner on own this evening.  Overnight at same location in downtown Anchorage.

DAY 7 (Aug 19) Travel by van towards Denali National Park, about a 5 hour drive.  Overnight Earthsong Lodge (or similar) in Healy. All meals included.

DAY 8 – 9 (Aug 20 – 21) Today we tour into Denali National Park by private vehicle.  We will stop often to look for wildlife, and enjoy a box picnic lunch en route to Skyline Lodge in Kantishna, 90 miles inside the Park.  Overnight for 2 nights at Skyline Lodge.  Shared baths.  All meals included.   Enjoy exploring the exquisite wilderness around Skyline Lodge, including Wonder Lake and views of Denali (Mt McKinley).  Great photo opportunities.  Enjoy hiking, biking or take a shuttle to explore the wilderness of the Park. Flight-seeing tour included, weather permitting.

DAY 10 (Aug 22) Today after breakfast we journey back through Denali National Park giving us more opportunities for great photography, animal viewing, and scenes of Denali.  Overnight at River’s Edge Resort in Fairbanks.   Farewell dinner included.

DAY 11 (Aug 23) Depart for home.  Airport transfers are not included.

Trips includes:

  • Photographer naturalist guide Hugh Rose throughout (Aug dates)
  • Private van transportation
  • Accommodations (prices based on double occupancy)
  • Discovery Voyages cruise with Captain Dean and crew
  • Complimentary bar on board Discovery
  • User fees and equipment for activities on Discovery
  • Most meals
  • Land portion is limited to 8 passengers

Exclusions:

  • No discounts for unused services.
  • Airport transfers not included.

 

Tell Us What Interests You

Questions? Call 1-800-324-7602 (+1-907-202-1017 outside the USA) OR Email Us OR simply fill out the form below. We will let you know if space is available on the dates or trips that interest you and answer any questions you have.

[contact-form-7]

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Spring Wildlife & Photo http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/spring-wildlife-photography-voyage/ http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/small-cruises-alaska/spring-wildlife-photography-voyage/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:02:09 +0000 http://www.discoveryvoyages.com/?p=348 Join us to experience and photograph the richness and wonder that is spring in Alaska — tens of thousands of migrating birds, marine mammals, and often bears, fresh out of a long winter of hibernation, now basking in some of the best weather of the year.

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Join us to experience and photograph the richness and wonder that is spring in Alaska — tens of thousands of migrating birds, marine mammals, and often bears, fresh out of a long winter of hibernation, now basking in some of the best weather of the year. Experience the endless days in the land of the midnight sun! One of Discovery Voyages’ popular annual Alaska Photography Tours, this spring voyage offers unsurpassed photographic opportunities, flight seeing, kayaking and short hikes to spectacular scenic vistas. This trip is guided by world-class naturalist, photographer and guide, Hugh Rose. Hugh describes the Discovery Spring Wildlife and Photography Voyage in Prince William Sound as one of his favorite wilderness tours in the world, and comparable to summer tours he does annually in Antarctica and South Georgia. Look for dates and prices for specific trips below.

SAMPLE:

May 5 to May 16, 2019: Cordova to Whittier

The itinerary will target special areas for key bird observations, as well as the wildlife that congregates due the surge of the marine food web in Prince William Sound. With the leisure of 8 days aboard the Discovery, plenty of time exists for visits to our favorite places which include calving glaciers, whales, and other phenomenon of the region. Kayaking and hiking are also popular activities.

Birding from the bow of the Discovery

Trip Leaders: Outstanding resident naturalist and great personality, Hugh Rose, has led Alaska trips since 1991 with unending praise for his amazing attention to every detail and everyone’s needs. He has an extensive knowledge of all aspects of Alaskan natural history from bird behavior to geology. He is also a professional photographer. Captain Rand is captain of the wonderful “Discovery” and knows Prince William Sound and all the special places in the Sound probably better than anyone else after more than 30 years of full time experience on Alaska’s waters. Dean is also a naturalist and photographer.

Day 1:  May 5

Arrive Cordova where you will be met by Hugh Rose this afternoon for transportation to the Orca Adventure Lodge. A trip orientation dinner at Orca Adventure Lodge will kick off your three days of birding and photography on the scenic Copper River Delta.

Day 2:  May 6

Our day starts with a tour of the picturesque coastal community of Cordova, nestled along the mountainous shores of Eastern Prince William Sound, on the perimeter of the Copper River Delta. A stay in historic Cordova with time spent exploring the Copper River and Delta should be on everyones “bucket list.” In spring life pulses in this small town of 3,000 residents, as commercial fishermen bustle about the harbor and the Delta comes alive with migrating birdlife. The region’s resource rich “gifts of the sea” are vital to the survival of this seafaring community.

The rest of our day will be spent exploring the coastal habitat of eastern Prince William Sound around Cordova. Orca Adventure Lodge will serve as home base during the stay in Cordova providing all meals and lodging.

Day 3: The Copper River Delta
Western Sandpipers during spring migration.Continue your exploration of the Copper River Delta culminating at Alaganik Slough Boardwalk trail and a picnic site for lunch and superb scenery. In order to optimize the best shorebird access, trips are timed to coincide with the daily high tide. The expansive Delta region is accessible by van on a gravel 50 mile road that ends abruptly just past Child’s Glacier at the Million Dollar Bridge. The now dilapidated railroad bridge was built in 1910 and damaged in the 1964 earthquake. The road weaves through the tidal flats providing ample opportunities to view the variety of birds.

Travel to Hartney Bay to see concentrations of up to 100,000 shorebirds flying in huge flocks and feeding on the mudflats. This is a truly unforgettable sight for the birder and remarkable for the photographer! Weather permitting there will be an opportunity to do a scenic flight over the Delta with optional landing on the Gulf of Alaska coast (extra fee).

Day 4:  May 8
Black OystercatcherJoin the Discovery and depart Cordova Harbor to begin an amazing week cruising the spectacular waters of Prince William Sound. This region displays an intricate and phenomenal “web of life” as numerous birds and animals play their role in the Sound’s theater of natural wonder. As observers, we respectfully interact with the environment during this exciting season of the year. We will enjoy a great deal of flexibility in the following days as the factors of weather, guest’s interest, photo opportunities and regional wildlife activity influence each day’s itinerary. Enough on-board kayaks provide a great way of getting intimate to your surroundings. No experience is required and instruction is provided for beginners!

The cruise begins in Eastern Prince William Sound. Sail west through Orca Inlet and into Orca Bay watching for Bald Eagles, sea otters, sea lions and a host of resident and migratory bird life. View large groups of Common Murres, Long-tailed ducks, gulls, murrelets, mergansers, scoters and cormorants to name a few of the species that over-winter in the Sound’s protected waters. Abundant concentrations of small fish and crustaceans serve as a critical fuel source for the epic migrants, the Arctic Terns, as well as phalaropes, jaegers and loons commonly viewed along this route. Flocks of acrobatic shorebirds fly rhythmically and in unison, sweeping and turning along the convoluted shores. It’s a wonder how these tiny and delicate creatures travel such great distances. Some species travel 1,900 miles in 48 hours!

On to Sheep Bay and Sahlin Falls for a gourmet dinner. After dinner, we’ll launch the inflatable boats and explore an adjacent saltwater lagoon at the head of Sheep Bay. The shallow waters and intertidal shores of the lagoon offer a bounty of food for birds, waterfowl and land animals. Harlequin ducks, black oystercatchers, and other foragers enjoy the blue mussels, limpets and clams of the intertidal zone. During this time of year, juvenile salmon (fry) migrate out from the nearby freshwater streams into the lagoon and serve as an important food source for diving birds such as murres, mergansers, guillemots, murrelets, loons, scoters etc. Both Black and Brown bears may be occasionally observed foraging along the shores. As opportunistic feeders, the bears scavenge for animal carcasses, graze on the new growth grasses, overturn rocks in the intertidal zone in search for small crabs and fish, and feed on Pacific Herring egg masses, recently spawned and drifted on shore. Anchor for the evening in the serene waters of Sheep Bay.

Day 5: Prince William Sound

We continue west and south through the Sound’s southern-most barrier islands, observing the birds and wildlife along the way. The nutrient rich waters of the Gulf of Alaska pour into the Sound through Hinchinbrook Entrance, a narrow passage way between Hinchinbrook and Montague islands. As we near the Entrance, catch a view looking out of the protected Sound to the expansive Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean. The ocean currents bring much of the region’s food (in the form of plankton and small fishes) through this waterway creating a popular feeding ground for birds, fish and marine mammals including both Humpback and Orcas. To observe the sights and sounds of these powerful, but gentle giants of the sea, is truly a remarkable experience.

If time permits, enjoy a casual walk along the shore of Montegue Island at low tide or hike into the world’s northernmost temperate rain forest, rich with ferns, mosses, and towering spruce, hemlock and cedar. After a brief scramble through the shore side timber, the terrain opens up into peatland bogs of mosses, lichens, grasses, tiny wild flowers and bonsai-like hemlocks with small fen waterways trickling through it all.  Unforgettable.  Relax in the evening to a delicious meal and enjoy a pleasant evening anchorage along the area’s quiet shores.

Day 6: Prince William Sound
Binoculars

Our trip coincides with the peak of the Pacific herring season in Prince William Sound and the herring spawn can be thick along the shores. This food source draws tens of thousands of migrating sea birds, presenting a feast of great proportions for both wildlife and photographer. We’ll remain flexible and opportunistic in order to capitalize on local marine activity or special wildlife sightings. Destinations may include St. Matthew’s Bay and Columbia Bay.

Within a single bay it is possible to see flocks of 40,000 Glaucous-winged Gull, mixed groups of more than 30,000 Surfbirds and Black Turnstones, several thousand Common Murres, Long-tailed ducks, Pelagic and Red-faced cormorants, Horned and Red-necked grebes, Pigeon Guillemots, Marbled and Kittlitz’s murrelets, Common and Red-breasted mergansers, Arctic, Red throated and Yellow-billed loons, Horned and Tufted puffins, groups of Mew, Bonaparte’s, and Herring gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Harlequin Ducks, Surf and White-winged scoters, Arctic and Aleutian terns, and hundreds of Bald Eagles. These are joined on occasion by Brown Bears, several hundred Settler’s Sea Lions, pods of Orcas and breaching Humpback Whales.

Day 7: Prince William Sound

The theme of a casual morning breakfast continues as the Discovery sails north up a 20-mile-long long fjord which  terminates at one of the most spectacular tidewater glaciers in Prince William Sound. Near the glacier, enjoy a kayak excursion that enables you to thread through the many icebergs that have recently fallen from the 200- to 300-foot face of the glacier. Sea otters and hundreds of harbor seals make the inlet their summer home. If you’re quiet and lucky, you can paddle up close to seals resting on the bergs. Arctic Terns, Bald Eagles, and other birds frequent the area, and kayaks serve as a gentle and quiet mode of travel to access this magical fjord.

Enjoy a shoreside hike, which takes you up the hill adjacent to the glacier and opens a tremendous view of this river of ice, bending down through the mountain valleys. This glacier’s terminus has been slowly advancing down Unakwik Inlet while most glaciers globally are receding. The scene for visitors is one where the sides of this massive hundred-foot-plus blue-white face is pushing into the temperate rainforest consisting of not just mosses, ferns, and lichens, but also huge 400-year old western hemlock and Sitka spruce. A short visit here to see this ongoing event is a must. Afterwards relax on board with appetizers. Enjoy the sounds of ice tumbling into the sea, while the chef prepares a fine evening meal and the Discovery turns to head southward again to a quiet evening anchorage.

Day 8: Prince William Sound

The shores of Unakwik Inlet are lined with rich old growth sitka spruce, western hemlock, and rarer Alaska yellow cedar.  The glacial ice floating in this fiord often have sea otters and harbor seals hauled out onto them resting or otherwise socializing.  Later in the summer months, there can be large runs of salmon working their way to natal streams located in the area.  This draws commercial fishing activity, which can be interesting to witness. This large mass of salmon, when reaching their streams, can also become food for the local black bears, who are interesting to watch and photograph as they feed their way along the stream banks and channels fattening up for the long winter to come.

Leaving the inlet, we stop to view Cascade Falls, a 300 ft. high waterfall that thunders fresh water into Eaglek Bay. After a visit to the falls, travel south along the bay’s remote shores to visit the Oyster Farm of Pristine Products. The oyster lover will enjoy a taste of one of the Sound’s most delicious sea products, fresh “Pristine” oysters.

Day 9: Prince William Sound

Depending on time and interests, we will head to the Nellie Juan Glacier, a remnant of the force which carved these waterways many years in the past. A short kayak paddle or skiff ride to the face of the glacier is well worth the effort. The ice floating in the glacial lagoon can be highly photogenic and, for whatever reason, Nellie Juan has the most blue colored ice of all the glaciers in Prince William Sound. The onshore hiking in this area is some of our favorite in the entire 10,000 square mile region. As the glaciers here have receded, they’ve left behind miles of smoothed granite with pockets of bonsai forest pioneering their way back into this new land. The snow capped peaks make way to countless waterfalls with the warming of the summer. This is one of those places that you could spend weeks exploring and never tire of “what’s around the next bend.”

Day 10: College Fjord, Cascade Falls and Knight Island

Awake to a casual breakfast and an exciting day as we head to Barry Arm and Harriman Fiord for our final full day aboard the Discovery. The enveloping mountains of this inlet stretch skyward to nearly 10,000 feet, with glacier after glacier descending the terraced mountain valleys. Alaska’s lush rainforest vegetation drapes the hillsides in green as streaming waterfalls fall from the rocky cliffs. Listen to the cracks, pops and thunderous roars of the Cascade, Barry and Coxe glaciers while the Discovery, dwarfed by blue and white walls, drifts silently by these actively calving rivers of ice.

For those who wish for a different perspective, the Discovery crew will launch the inflatable Zodiacs for a guided exploration of this magnificent area. Touch the impressive face of Coxe glacier, watch the showy Black Oystercatchers strut across the rocky shorelines, sense the presence of the curious Hoary marmots and drink in the bright pinks of fireweed and the intense blues of the alpine lupine.

After lunch, spend time exploring the wonders of Harriman Fjord and Surprise Glacier.  There will be more opportunities to capture sea otters and harbor seals hauled out on flotillas of ice that has recently crashed from the face of the glacier, and time to hunt for other shots you may have missed. Walk along the shore among beached icebergs stranded by the ebbing tide, another interesting subject, or take an upland hike for spectacular views of the Chugach mountain range and broad glacial valleys. Then the Discovery will explore deeper into the ice filled fjord for a chance to kayak and up to the face of Harriman Glacier. On this journey, you’re entertained by families of playful sea otters foraging the shellfish-rich shallow waters of their favorite feeding ground. As a protected species, these otters exhibit little concern for human presence, instead offering great opportunities for photos and up-close observations. Nature offers few chances to see animals in the wild as “cute” and adorable as these mothers with young pups.

Day 11: Return to Whittier and drive to Anchorage, May 15

After breakfast on board the Discovery and a walk on shore to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Sound one last time, or photograph the beached icebergs at the Black Sand beach we depart for the 4-hour cruise back to Whittier. Our last stop will be to visit the bustling black-legged kittiwake colony located across Passage Canal from Whittier. This picturesque colony of over 5,000 birds is located on a 200 foot cliff with three waterfalls pouring down its face. It is a buzz of activity. Upon our arrival into Whittier Harbor and bidding a fond farewell to the Discovery and her crew we will drive by van through the longest car tunnel in North America, from Whittier to Bear Valley/Portage. A different world awaits us on the other side as we drive along the scenic shores of Turnagain Arm and return to Anchorage.  Accommodations included in downtown Anchorage.

Day 12: Homeward Bound, May 16

Departures home will be at your convenience. The airport is a short ride from downtown.

Not included: A gratuity to The Discovery crew or anyone else of exemplary service. While complimentary beverages and drinks (wine, beer, sodas, water, juice, etc) are included onboard the Discovery they are not always included at our land-based accommodations. Transportation to and from the airport and land accommodations in Cordova and Anchorage not included. Guide will provide orientation upon arrival with details.

Reading and Field Guides: We recommend Field Guide to the Birds of North America, published by National Geographic and the Guide to the Birds of Alaska by Armstrong. The Discovery also has a nice library on board with many field guides.

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