We have a large extended client family headed out in July on a private yacht charter through the glacier country in Alaska. It includes a day of private fishing off ship, helicopter day trips and if they are lucky, some fresh caught fish for divine dining!
Alaska private charters should be organized well ahead of time, especially if the group numbers over 14 travelers. Arrive a day early and explore the town of Juneau by foot.
Discoverer Glacier Country MV Safari Explorer
Nights: 7 Roundtrip Juneau, Alaska
Exploring Juneau Glacier Bay National Park Icy Strait Chichagof Island Baranof Island Frederick Sound Stephens Passage Fords Terror Endicott Arm
• Two days in Glacier Bay National Park
• Kayak, hike, and skiff in Glacier Bay
• A National Park Ranger joins you for your day in Glacier Bay
• Whale watching in Icy Strait, Frederick Sound, and Stephens Passage
• Explore scenic coves and fjords of Chichagof and Baranof Islands
• View stunning glaciers and listen for the “white” thunder—Dawes, Grand Pacific, Margerie, Lamplugh
• Experience Fords Terror Wilderness Area
• Captain’s Choice exploration of remote “not in the guidebook” places
Itineraries are guidelines and variations and the order of days will occur to maximize your experience.
Day One Glacier Bay National Park
Accompanied by a National Park Ranger, over the two days in the park you’ll travel nearly 60 miles cruising up-bay to the tidewater glaciers of Grand Pacific and Margerie, which frequently calve huge icebergs into the bay.
If conditions permit, we’ll lower the skiffs and weave among the icebergs that have fallen from the face of the glaciers.
Enjoy an evening at anchor, and mornings paddling your kayak in the quiet of this majestic wilderness. Here in the bay are puffins and sea lions, mountain goats and bears, moose, eagles, and scenery more spectacular than any place on earth. Glacier Bay is at its best when explored by small groups with unfettered time for treks and kayaking inside the bay and wilderness areas.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a United States national park and preserve in the Alaska panhandle west of Juneau. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the area around Glacier Bay a national monument under the Antiquities Act on February 25, 1925.
Subsequent to an expansion of the monument by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) enlarged the national monument by 523,000 acres on December 2, 1980 and in the process created Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, with 57,000 additional acres of public land designated as national preserve to the immediate northwest of the park in order to protect a portion of the Alsek River and related fish and wildlife habitats while allowing sport hunting.
Glacier Bay became part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, was inscribed as a Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and in 1994 undertook an obligation to work with Hoonah and Tlingit Native American organizations in the management of the protected area. In total the park and preserve cover 5,130 square miles. Most of Glacier Bay is designated wilderness area which covers 4,164 square miles.
Wildlife in the area includes both grizzly and black bears, wolves, coyotes, moose, Sitka black-tailed deer, red foxes, raccoons, wolverines, marmots, dall sheep, Canadian lynxes, mountain goats, and cougars. Birds of this park include bald eagles, golden eagles, five species of woodpeckers, two species of hummingbirds, ravens, four species of falcons, six species of hawks, ospreys, and ten species of owls. Marine animals that swim offshore are sea otters, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, Pacific white-sided dolphins, orcas, minke whales, humpback whales, and salmon.
Day Two Glacier Bay National Park
Enjoy another exclusive day exploring the glaciers and wildlife of Glacier Bay National Park.
The earliest traces of human occupation at Glacier Bay date to about 10,000 years before the present, with archaeological sites just outside the park dating to that time. Evidence of human activity is scarce, because so much of the area is or was glaciated for much of the period and because advancing glaciers may have scoured all traces of historical occupation from their valleys. Ongoing uplift of the land may reveal new sites that had been submerged by rising sea levels. Most archaeological evidence is from the last 200 years. The Haida, Eyak and Tlingit all could have occupied the coast until historical times, when the Tlingit came to dominate the area.
Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse was the first European to explore the Alaskan coast in the region of Glacier Bay in 1786, arriving in Lituya Bay and making contact with the Tlingit. A Russian ship visited in 1788, claiming the region for Russia. The region was later visited by George Vancouver in Discovery in 1794, during his during the Vancouver Expedition. The explorers are believed to have seen the Glacier Bay ice at its peak, which coincided with their visits. Russians were chiefly concerned with the area until the 1880s, when Americans were drawn to Alaska and the Klondike by the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. A cannery was established in Dundas Bay in 1890, and the first tourist ships arrived in 1893.
John Muir visited Glacier Bay in 1879, just prior to the 1880 establishment of Yosemite National Park, Muir’s first great cause. Muir came to Alaska to learn about glaciers as a means of understanding the formation of the glaciated landscape of the Yosemite Valley. Muir sent dispatches back to San Francisco to be published in the San Francisco Bulletin in both 1879 and 1880, eventually collecting these stories, accounts of his third and fourth trips in 1890 and 1899, and later lectures and articles into the 1915 book Travels in Alaska, promoting Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage. Muir’s writings led to the naming of Muir Glacier, then nearly 300 feet tall at tidewater and the most active glacier in the bay, after Muir.
Day Three Icy Strait
9 am – 2 pm Fishing for (13) Jennifer, Wayne, Gene, Kelly, Reed, Wil, Rob, Melissa, Matt, Christa, Matt, Emily, Antonia. If other passengers decide to fish, we can invoice you after the trip. You may catch up to 150 pds. of fish today, most likely halibut. MAX number of fishermen is 17 people.
Today’s the ultimate day of exploration. Set your course for arguably the richest whale waters in Southeast Alaska. Keep watch for the telltale blow of the humpbacks as you scour the nutrient-rich waters in search of whales, porpoise, sea lions, and other wildlife. Join the Captain on the bridge or go on deck with your Expedition Leader.
Late afternoon, we’ll drop the skiffs and kayaks for closer inspection of the remote coastline with eyes set on shore for possible bear sightings.
This evening, take in the solitude while relaxing in the upper deck hot tub or enjoy a nightcap with your fellow yacht mates in the salon.
Day Four Chichagof Island / Baranof Island
With no binding agenda, today you’ll cruise the waterfall coast of Chichagof Island. Marvel at the grand scenery of Alaska’s wilderness as the crew expertly guides you through those “not in the guide book” places known only to the locals. This evening, perhaps tucking away in a waterfall-laced fjord, there’ll be time for skiffing, beach combing or treks ashore, and kayaking to look for sea otters and bears before calling it a day near Baranof Island.
Baranof Island, also sometimes called Baranov Island, Shee or Sitka Island, is an island in the northern Alexander Archipelago in the Alaska Panhandle, in Alaska. The name Baranof was given in 1805 by Imperial Russian Navy captain U. F. Lisianski to honor Alexander Andreyevich Baranov. It was called Sheet’-ká X’áat’l (often expressed simply as “Shee”by the native Tlingit people). It is the smallest of the ABC islands of Alaska.
Day Five Frederick Sound / Stephens Passage
Spend the day exploring in Frederick Sound and Stephens Passage—another excellent chance to view humpback whales and other marine wildlife. Pass by Five Fingers Lighthouse and watch for playful antics at a large sea lion haulout made from dozens of rocky islets. Later, cruise picturesque bays, where evergreen forests crowd the shores.
Frederick Sound (also called Prince Frederick Sound or Prince Frederick’s Sound) is a passage of water in the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska that separates Kupreanof Island to the south from Admiralty Island in the north.
Frederick Sound was named by Captain George Vancouver for Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. It was first charted in 1794 by two of his men, Joseph Whidbey and James Johnstone. The sound may also be known as the Russian transliteration Fridrikhe Zund.
The sound is a popular location for watching whales in the summer and is busy marine passageway for both Alaska Marine Highway ferries and cruise ships.
The sound is home to the Five Finger Islands Light. Stephens Passage is a channel in the Alexander Archipelago in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Alaska. It runs between Admiralty Island to the west and the Alaska mainland and Douglas Island to the east, and is about 105 miles long. Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is near the north end, on Gastineau Channel.
Stephens Passage was named in 1794 by George Vancouver, probably for Sir Philip Stephens. It was first charted the same year by Joseph Whidbey, master of the HMS Discovery during Vancouver’s 1791-95 expedition.
Day Six Fords Terror / Endicott Arm
Cliff-walled fjords sliced into the mountainous mainland are on tap today as you slowly slip into an area widely acclaimed as the most beautiful in Alaska. With more designated Wilderness Areas than any state in the nation, the finest include Endicott Arm and Fords Terror—a pristine tidal inlet and fjord. Explore this majestic fjord by kayak or skiff, a unique opportunity indeed. View rugged ice-covered mountains gleaming high overhead and a glacier that actively calves into the ice-filled fjord of Endicott Arm.
Bounded by Canada on the east, this Wilderness is highlighted by two sheer-walled fjords, Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm, both narrow and deep and over 30 miles long. At the head of both fjords tidewater glaciers calve regularly into the sea, making a boat approach to their faces dangerous. Floating chunks of ice, some the size of a three-story building often block access to the end of the fjords, especially in summer. Permanent ice, in fact, covers about one-fifth of the Wilderness.
In 1899, a naval crewman named Ford paddled into a narrow waterway connected to Endicott Arm and was trapped for six terrible hours in the ripping tidal surge. Hence the name Fords Terror.
Rugged mountains dominate the landmass of the area with steep valleys sparkling with high waterfalls. A young Alaska rain forest of spruce and hemlock grows to an elevation of about 1,500 feet. Wildlife includes brown and black bears, mountain goats, wolves, a few Sitka black-tailed deer, and many smaller furbearing animals. Harbor seals rear their young on ice floating in the fjords, and whales and sea lions are often seen in the water. Bald eagles and shorebirds are common near the coastline.
Toast your voyage with a festive Farewell Dinner, and before turning in, your expedition team will share a “photo journal” of your trip together.