Immerse yourself in the wilderness and Mother Nature always surprises you. Whales bubble-netting? Gamboling bear cubs? A whale instructing her baby? An elephant seal? You might not see all of these, but you never know.
Snow-capped mountains rising out of azure water, millions of trees, and miles of uninhabited wilderness form your backdrop. The air is fresh and cool and the only crowds are convocations of eagles, rafts of otters and rookeries of seals. Photograph cascading waterfalls, hear whales sounding, and sea lions romping on the rocks. What’s that flash? Was it a porpoise? Maybe an orca?
Craving peace and quiet? Hike the rainforest, explore a cave, photograph a glacier, and kayak to places maybe no one has ever been. Seek out wildflowers, birds, or a totem pole. The possibilities are endless. Wild Alaska has hosted hundreds of shutterbugs from the amateur to the professional -from wildlife artists to National Geographic photographers. What does Mother Nature have for you?
“You are about to Enter Bear Country” would probably be a billboard on Admiralty Island – if it had billboards or even people to read them. Admiralty Island boasts the world’s densest saturation of brown bears on our planet. Kupreanof and Kuiu Islands are dense with black bears. Your cruise takes you to remote areas of all three of these islands so the chances for observing and photographing bears is extremely high.
Whales and sea lions
If you come to cruise for no other reason than to watch the whales, you’ve struck gold. Southeast Alaska is home to over 700 Humpback Whales during their summer migration. These graceful mammals appear often throughout the cruising pathway. It’s common to see groups of a dozen or more whales feeding, casually migrating or taking a nap. Hear the early morning sounds of whales blowing across miles of flat, calm waters. Have your camera ready for the photo of a lifetime- a 40-ton leviathan breaching! Pods of Orcas frequently pass by offering more photo opportunities, and endangered Stellar Sea Lions gather in haul-outs by the hundreds. Watch them play and listen to their boisterous banter. Enjoy the show!
Want to see an icy blue monster? Alaska’s glaciers and ice bergsare curiosities that come in every size and shade of blue imaginable. Ancient and mysterious – they are alive! Wild Alaska takes you there. Along the way, you see waterfalls and lush mountains. It is common to encounter seals, sea lions, otters, eagles, kittiwakes, terns and mergansers. A sharp eye might even discern a mountain sheep high up on a ridge. When you get closer – listen. The behemoth creaks and groans and then cracks just before it disgorges a hunk of ice as large as a Volkswagen or even your apartment building. Called ‘calving’, this is a sight and sound you will never forget.
Welcome to the earth’s largest remaining temperate rainforest! The Tongass National Forest covers 17,000,000 acres of Southeast Alaska and you spend your entire cruise immersed in it. Made up of islands, fjords and glaciers, this rainforest is so remote and unpopulated it is still home to many species of rare flora and fauna. The forest is beautiful in itself, comprised mainly of towering cedar, Sitka spruce and hemlock, towering over a thick green carpet of moss, called muskeg. Discover native plants, wildflowers, and berries. Listen for the birds. Then comes the really fun part, add in the antics of humpback whales, orcas, stellar sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, brown and black bears, deer, wolves, eagles, hundreds of species of fish, and a panoply of underwater creatures from starfish and jelly fish to octopus. Blue green water, deep blue ice bergs, serene sunrises and fiery sunsets- the colors of Alaska are as vivid as its landscape. Your senses come alive, and so will your photographs.