Whales and Sea Kayaking in a Glacier-Carved World


Experience remote wilderness on the grandest scale imaginable in the Inside Passage, Alaska’s storied waterway along the southeast coast, where glaciers crackle in lovely fjords and the sea is filled with whales, orcas, porpoises, and sea lions. Our discovery of this epic realm is aboard a historic 12-guest wooden vessel that brings you deep into hidden places big ships can’t even dream of entering. With our on-board naturalists sharing insights into the local botany, natural history, and native culture, you’ll kayak into narrow inlets like Ford’s Terror, hike in majestic old-growth forests, and encounter incredible wildlife, from endangered humpbacks to bears and bald eagles. At day’s end, you’ll savor the welcoming comfort of our boat and enjoy a delicious meal in a beautiful anchorage.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Juneau, Alaska / Ford’s Terror (Southbound Departures)

Boarding in Juneau, cruise to Limestone Inlet, where you’ll enjoy an introduction to sea kayaking (no prior experience is necessary). Later, a skiff ride upriver may reveal bears, jumping salmon, and nesting waterfowl. Dodging icebergs as we enter Endicott Arm, look for whales as they dive for krill or “bubble net” for herring, and linger at Dawes Glacier to watch new bergs calve. At Ford’s Terror, a spectacular natural amphitheater, paddle beneath sheer 5,000-foot granite walls wreathed in ephemeral mists.

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Days 3-5
Admiralty Island / The Brothers

After a hike in the highlands of Ford’s Terror, head for Admiralty Island, with its plentiful brown bears and bald eagles. Setting out for The Brothers Islands, you’ll watch for humpbacks and orcas in this prime summer feeding ground and listen to their ethereal songs with the ship’s hydrophone. From our idyllic anchorage, the sound of breathing whales or the call of an eagle drifts across the evening calm.

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Days 6-7
Thomas Bay / Scenery Cove / Petersburg

If the whales are around, we’ll spend time shadowing their movements, then head to Thomas Bay, watching for black bear on the beaches. Anchoring at Scenery Cove, a skiff ride brings us upriver, then you’ll hike the glacial moraine of Baird Glacier. We dock in the charming fishing town of Petersburg, with its Norwegian and Tlingit heritage, and depart on Day 7 or extend your adventure to Denali National Park.

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Explore one of Alaska’s prime wildlife areas by historic small ship
Sea kayak amid icebergs and beneath towering granite walls
Hike on glacial moraine and in old-growth cedar, hemlock, and spruce forests
Watch calving glaciers, bald eagles, and breaching whales
Optional extension to Denali National Park


Length: 7 days
Cost From: $4250  
Arrive: Juneau, Alaska (or reverse)
Depart: Petersburg, Alaska (or reverse)
Lodging: 6 nights aboard a 75-foot historic boat with six cabins, some with private bath
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History, Sea Kayaking, Whale Watching
Trip Level:

Daily choice of easy to moderate sea kayaking and hiking, 2-6 hours a day (no previous kayaking experience necessary)