After introductions, guest chart logbooks are distributed, and we depart Sitka early afternoon. We have safety orientation and travel two hours to an anchorage surrounded by kelp beds holding several sea otter families. Encountered two humpback whales just outside anchorage. Kayaking orientation, several guests choose to paddle with guide near anchorage while dinner is prepared. Others relax near hors
d'oeuvre platter. Kayaker return, dinner finished in preparation for early start in morning.
Depart anchorage (toast and cereal available) and travel 2 hrs., re-anchor in barrier islands for breakfast. Everyone kayaks in barrier islands, with a sack lunch enjoyed during beach visit. Depart mid-afternoon, taking ocean route in calm weather to see huge sea lion rookery. Travel 2 hrs. to serene anchorage. Several guests choose to board outboard skiff for ride to shore, take walk to ocean overlook, see gray whales below. They return and join all for dinner. Crew and guests discuss next day's excursion.
Weather holds, so guests and guide set out on epic (but only 6 mi.)
Excursion -- through a shallow tidal pass into the semi-protected ocean, through gray whales and their feeding plumes, into a tiny protected passage to a trailhead. A short hike through the rainforest, where bear sign abounds, leads to a hot springs for a relaxing soak. Then the shore party hikes and paddles to the mothership, which has moved closer, for dinner, showers, and a sound sleep.
Morning travel (3 hrs.) through rocky passages and fjords takes us to the tiny fishing village of Pelican, where we walk the boardwalk and take in the local scene. Captain Jim treats all to lunch in Lisianski Cafe where owner Karen updates us on Pelican's latest news. Guests check out the adjoining gift shop. Departing civilization again we travel to the inlet head to view brown bears. Guests decide not to paddle here, so we transit Cross Sound to a quiet anchorage in Glacier Bay Park for the evening.
Dawn comes clear and bright; so all paddlers follow our guide through sea arches on the outer shoreline and a tiny channel in the low-lying delta, with huge Brady Glacier and the Fairweather Mountains in the background. A rest stop on a broad white-sand Caribbean-like beach is a highlight. One bear is sited near the channel on the return to the mothership. One guest jigs a small halibut, and we remain in the same anchorage for a barbequed halibut dinner and a relaxing evening.
After an early departure we travel two hours east into Icy Strait, observing numerous pods of humpback whales. Near the Chichagof shoreline we launch kayaks to paddle amongst the gentle giants. We hear their breathing constantly, and occasionally whale song reaches us though the water. After an amazing paddle that meanders along the shoreline near the humpbacks, paddlers and mothership rendezvous and we depart to anchor several hours to the south.
With a smallcraft wind warning in effect, we travel down the Inside Passage to a protected series of saltwater lakes, with connecting channels, for an intriguing paddling excursion. Following our rendezvous we anchor for a leisurely dinner in a well-protected scenic anchorage.
We get an early start for the one-hour ocean passage and enter Salisbury Sound. We part company, with some guests fishing for king salmon and some walking the beach in search of a rumored rock carving. The fishers have better luck, catching one, which is barbecued for lunch on the way back to Sitka, where we arrive at 2:00 p.m. We say our goodbyes and transport our guests to their accommodations or