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Alaska glacier tour through kayaking wilderness




















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Alaska Glacier Tour
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Alaska glacier tour
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Mainland Glacier Route

Alaska Glacier Tour - Ford's Terror



"No cable TV, no casino, no show girls, no shuffleboard.
No stops in major ports to buy knick-knacks. What kind of a cruise is this?"
~ Mark Siegel, Oregon

Mainland Glacier Route options, facts:

  Paddling highlight:
       Glaciers of Holkham Bay
  Round trip, Sitka-based
       Distance traveled: 340 miles
       Average daily travel: 5 hrs.
       Additional day recommended
  Sitka - Petersburg, via Icy Strait
       Distance traveled: 270 miles
       Average daily travel: 4 hrs.
  Sitka - Petersburg, via Frederick Sd.
       Distance traveled: 180 miles
       Average daily travel: 3 hrs.
       No ocean exposure

Holkham Bay, highlight of the Mainland Glacier Route

On this tour you will experience I-Max along Southeast Alaska's most scenic Inside Passages, with intriguing paddling destinations interspersed along the way. Frederick Sound and Icy Strait are both prime areas for humpback whale viewing, and other wildlife abounds. The route climax is enchanted Holkham Bay, where incredible Ford's Terror ("Yosemite on the Water") provides a once-in-a-lifetime paddling experience and thunderous tidewater glaciers of Tracy Arm deposit a chilly slalom course for another kayak excursion.


You choose between three variations of this route. While the Sitka-Petersburg Frederick Sound version is shortest, the round trip tour around both Chichagof and Admirality Islands covers the most ground and maximizes sightseeing. The two Sitka-Petersburg tours have the advantage of enabling you to visit two intriguing Alaska towns instead of just one. In case hot springs are a priority, the round trip version offers two soaking opportunities instead of just one. Regardless of your choice you will travel through some of the world's most beautiful protected cruising grounds.

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Mainland Glacier Route Itinerary,
Sitka - Petersburg via Frederick Sound

(Note: Sample only. Home Shore tours are flexible and do not follow "milk run" schedules.)

Day 1:
Introductions are made, guest chart logbooks are distributed, and we depart Sitka mid-day. Underway lunch is served; we conduct a safety orientation, and anchor an hour from town amidst an intricate island group. Kayaking orientation and gear fitting follows, with guide and all guests unable to resist a short excursion in the enchanting passages nearby. Returning for dinner, guests and crew continue to get acquainted before retiring.

Day 2:
We rise early, as two guests have an appointment with a king salmon. Breakfast is served underway, and after an hour's travel we launch kayaks for four guests and our guide for their exploration of two bays nearby the fishing grounds. We're in luck! By the time the paddlers return, one guest has caught a 25 lb. king salmon and dinner for at least two nights is assured. We depart to catch the current in the narrows, and spend the afternoon traveling to Baranof Warmsprings, where guests soak in rock pools alongside a raging torrent. Following a barbecued king salmon dinner, we spend the night at the Warmsprings float.

Day 3:
First a leisurely breakfast, then an hour underway finds us near a rookery where we watch over two hundred sea lions lounge on the rocks. Some are swimming in groups foraging through huge salmon schools. Several humpback whales are lunge feeding through herring schools. We soon reach a bay we've never previously explored. Kayaks are launched for an exploration of the inner bay, and a rendezvous anchorage is agreed upon. Our kayaking party departs, and several hours later lands on the shell and fossil-littered beach near Home Shore's anchorage. They return for dinner and a silent night haunted by distant humpback exhalations.

Day 4:
Dawn comes crystal bright, and we travel to isolated islands in Frederick Sound. We set prawn pots, then anchor near our favorite beach, surrounded by ancient rainforest. Humpbacks seem to follow us everywhere on this trip, and a pair is slowly cruising along the island kelp. Our kayaking party paddles to yet another sea lion rookery, passing by the resting humpbacks. When the kayakers return several hours later, we weigh anchor to make a bountiful pot lift, then re-anchor for a beach dinner of fresh prawns skewered over an open fire.


Day 5:
Big day ahead, and the tides require an early start to make slack at Ford's Terror in Holkham Bay. Our paddling party is in the water by late morning, paddling under the waterfalls while waiting for slack water at Ford's entrance. The time arrives, and our party paddles in on the waning flood, committed to six hours of exploration in Alaska's "Yosemite" among the vertical granite walls. Released from the "Terror" in the evening, our kayaking party returns to the spectacular, protected anchorage for non-stop recollections of the day's events over another salmon dinner.

Day 6:
Four guests choose to accompany our guide and chef on a short hike through lightly forested lowlands and across granite with picturesque pools of water. All agree this is one of the most serenely beautiful places we have ever seen. We regretfully depart and travel south in Endicott Arm. Arriving at the glacier face mid-day, still alone, we silently drift, wait, watch, and listen as the glacier cracks, groans, and periodically explodes into white haze and radiating waves. After an hour of watching this show of the ages, we retreat from the face and launch kayaks. Our kayakers paddle away from the glacier, winding through the endlessly fascinating ice floes supporting seal mothers and pups. Two exciting but chilly hours are enough, and we reload kayakers and kayaks while drifting in the center of the fjord, then retreat to an anchorage for dinner in the heated lounge.

Day 7:
After breakfast on anchor, we exit Endicott Arm through the icebergs and travel in the direction of Petersburg. Entering yet another pristine bay, we anchor and launch kayaks for four guests and guide, who then paddle the fascinating shoreline. Two other guests join the captain in the outboard skiff for an afternoon of solitude and beachcombing amid bear sign and wolf tracks. Our shore party returns to the mothership and a guest jigs a halibut, assuring a memorable last on-board dinner. The kayaking party returns and we reunite for a lively reminiscence of the tour over baked fresh halibut.

Day 8:
We linger over breakfast, absorbing the sublime seascape surrounding us, then meander toward Petersburg, exploring two intriguing bays along the way. More humpbacks are seen, and six Dall porpoise play in our bow wake for twenty minutes. We arrive in Petersburg early afternoon, and we say our goodbyes and help guests depart on the way to their Petersburg accommodations or the airport.



Alaska Glacier Tour - Small Ship Cruise Vacations


Baranof Tour Route >>>      Chichagof Tour Route >>>      All Three Tour Routes >>>




Alaska Glacier Tour Route - Small Ship Cruise Vacations

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