Sylvia Earle has been meticulously designed for luxury expedition cruising, featuring a heated swimming pool and jacuzzis where you can admire the impressive scenery from the top deck.
|16 Days||£12495||June 2022||Alaska||Small Group Safari|
Board your expedition ship in the stunning, remote fishing port of Seward, Alaska, and begin exploring the rugged Alaskan Peninsula coast, where deeply incised fjords give access to glaciers tumbling from icefields high above. Brown bears, whales, dolphins and seals are but some that call this coast home, and wildlife only increases as you traverse the Aleutians, a 1900-km chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones that forms the Pacific Rim of Fire’s northern arc.
This natural boundary separates the Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea—a designated Mission Blue Hope Spot—creating a dynamic environment that supports amazing biodiversity, including caribou, sea otters, Steller sea lions, orcas and gray whales. Delight in black-legged kittiwakes, tufted puffins, crested auklets, peregrine falcon, tundra swans and so much more. Landings reveal historical relics ranging from Aleut villages and Russian fur trade depots to remnants of World War II battles and Cold War bases. Every day promises something to fire your passion especially finishing up on Russia’s spectacular Kamchatka Peninsula.
Arrive in Anchorage and join your fellow guests for a voyage briefing and a welcome drink.
Overnight: Hilton Anchorage Hotel (or similar)
Today there is time to discover Anchorage on a sightseeing tour before transferring to Seward and embarkation aboard the Sylvia Earle. We will set sail for the Kenai Peninsula in the evening before meeting the expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
By ship and zodiac, explore the wild coastline of Kenai Fjords National Park, where nearly 40 glaciers flow down from the sparkling Harding Icefield to ice shelves calving into narrow waterways below. Sail deep into the Northwestern Fjord and watch for wildlife at every turn.
The second largest island in the U.S., Kodiak Island is renowned for its brown bears, king crab and fascinating history. Kodiak became the centre of Russia fur trade with Alaska in the 18th century. Visit the Alutiiq Museum, with its collection of art and cultural objects detailing the lives of the native Aleut people who lived here for more than 7,000 years. Hikers can explore the mysterious moss-draped forests, wildflowers and flowing streams, while birders can search for belted kingfishers, varied thrushes, and red crossbills. Later, zodiac- cruise in to one of Kodiak’s outer islands searching for humpback and fin whales.
Tucked away at the end of Amalik Bay, Geographic Harbor is set in magnificent volcanic scenery. Zodiac cruise amidst spectacular scenery and explore offshore islands searching for bald eagles, marbled murrelets, sea otters, harbour porpoises, and coastal brown bears feeding on salmon, clams, mussels and barnacles. Rising mist reveals stunning volcanic landscapes and early wildflowers in bloom.
Zodiac cruise beneath basalt bird cliffs at Aghiyuk Island, then stretch your legs on tundra hikes amidst colourful wildflowers on Aghiyuk or Chowiet islands. Aghiyuk Island is a haven for more than with 2.5 million nesting seabirds. In zodiacs, we explore the island’s sheltered coastline listening to the cacophony of the seabird colony, which includes murres, parakeet auklets, tufted and horned puffins, black-legged kittiwakes, and northern fulmars. The surrounding waters abound with sea otters, seals, porpoise and whales.
We land on Unga Spit to explore petrified remains of a 25-million-year-old sequoia forest and a picturesque ghost town surrounded by wildflowers. Wander along a spectacular coastline covered with fragments of fossilised wood, all remnants of an ancient Metasequoia forest, dating back some 70-14 million years. Watch for bald eagles, peregrine falcons and a host of seabirds, while otters and Steller sea lions patrol offshore. Explore an eerie village that was abandoned in 1969.
False Pass marks our exit from the Alaska Peninsula and arrival in the Aleutian Islands. Unimak, the largest of the chain, is 93 per cent wilderness inhabited by brown bears, caribou, wolves and the odd wolverine. By foot and zodiac, we explore the island, from the bustling fishing port of King Cove to the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, where migratory birds arrive in their hundreds of thousands including black brant, emperor geese, Steller’s eider, some 30 shorebird species and many seabirds. In the sheltered coves and bays around Unimak Island, search for orca and humpback whales. Weather permitting, you’ll see the near-perfect cone of Mount Shishaldin, the Aleutian’s highest (and active) volcano.
Dynamic tides and whales make for exciting zodiac cruising among the Baby Islands, none higher than a few metres above sea level, where you’ll be enthralled by whiskered auklets, puffins, petrels, murrelets, guillemots and perhaps even laysan albatross. At Alaska’s busiest fishing port, Dutch Harbour, where more than 600 bald eagles nest near town, you’ll find relics of the Japanese invasion during World War II, visit the Museum of the Aleutians and the oldest Russian church in Alaska.
“Where the winds blow and friendships grow” is the motto of Adak, Alaska’s southernmost city on the island separating the Bering Sea from the Pacific Ocean. Not always so friendly, Adak was a military installation that allowed America forces to mount successful operations against the Japanese in World War II and housed a community of some 6000 during the Cold War. Today only a few hundred remain, welcoming visitors to explore a near-ghost town set amongst spectacular tundra, where introduced caribou roam.
When Japan captured Kiska in 1942, it marked the first loss of U.S soil to foreign forces since the War of 1812. Today many war relics remain including a Shinto shrine and a two-man submarine and ptarmigans, Lapland longspurs and bald eagles nest in the shadow of active Kiska volcano.
The westernmost of the Aleutian Islands, Attu marks the site of the only World War II battle to be fought on North American soil. Today the attraction is birds, with exotic names like Siberian rubythroat, far eastern curlew and Mongolian plover, plus many of the migratory and seabirds you’ve come to love.
Sea days are ideal for stepping outside to enjoy the many seabirds, whales, dolphins and seals on show as we approach Russia’s Kamchatka coast, or attending one of the fascinating talks presented by the expedition crew. Tonight, we celebrate the voyage at the Captain’s Farewell Dinner.
Disembark in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and transfer to the airport to board the charter flight to Tokyo, where we spend the night.
Overnight: Nikko Narita Airport Hotel
After breakfast, it’s time to say your farewells before your onward journey.
This is a small group safari departing on 22nd June 2022.
Please note that the trip price does not include the price of international flights.
Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our tailor-made safaris in Alaska.