Frequently Asked Questions

Although the majority of our guests are return guests or come from direct referrals, below are some frequently asked questions to help you decide if this is the right adventure cruise for you.

This one is relatively easy.  All of it!  Originally our season was determined by my school schedule. In 1980 we moved aboard our first Alaska Charter Boat. When school got out we sailed North from Washington to Alaska and headed south in early September to make the start of the school year. As it turns out the timing was appropriate to coincide with weather, fishing and wildlife opportunities.
Over the years the wildlife has extended their season somewhat and we have added a few weeks to the schedule to follow suit. Although there are boats that start their season in April and cruise into October we have opted to keep our schedule set for optimal wildlife.  Mid May to Mid September is just perfect for Alaska Cruising and be immersed in wildlife any one of these weeks. 
I like all of the season for different reasons, however throughout the entirety of the season we are there  we expect to see Whales, Bears, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Eagles catch fresh seafood and much more.  Alaska is beautiful all year long but much of the wildlife is weather and tide dependent so when and where varies day to day. 
We intentionally keep a fluid schedule so we can adjust our plans to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves during your week aboard. The wildlife is present all summer long. The key is knowing where to look throughout the season. 

All summer the variation could be anywhere from a bit chilly in the high 40’s all the way up to low 80’s which for some reason feels very hot. Most weeks seem to get a bit of it all, some sun and some light rain and a couple days in between. Average temperatures are 55 to 65 almost all summer long.

In our packing list we suggest bringing light rain gear.  If we can see rain in the forecast we may opt for a hot springs day vs. hiking or fishing instead. It is a rarity to get a week of all rain, it happens but fortunately not often at all.

May and June on average have less rain and more crisp blue days, a little cooler typically than July and August, although these months are typically warmer there are a fair few too many recreational boaters out and about and so we then play a little bit of dodging other boats and it is more work to find that secluded harbor.

Almost every bit of our cruising ground is protected from ocean exposure by many islands. Because of this there is no sea swell like in most of the ocean.  It can occasionally get windy and in the event where we have large tides and strong winds, the sea state can get a little surly. Fortunately this doesn’t happen often throughout the entirety of the summer and when it does the blows are short lived. 
Years back I was determined to show guests all that I could through the week and the boat being made for it we would endure our way to the next harbor through the wind and waves.  Some guests loved it and were totally up for the adventure, however it was rare that all guests and crew were impressed by the boat’s capability. Weathering wind and waves wasn’t on their particular bucket list.
These days we tend to let Poseidon have his way for the day and opt to stay in the harbor for bay excursions, hiking, game day, wine tasing or kayaking around the cove. 
Another easy one.  This really comes down to if a particular city or two are of interest. Southeast Alaska’s ideal cruising area really is somewhat condensed. Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Petersburg are all in just over a 200 mile radius. So all of the Alaska itineraries cover a great deal of the same ground. Right in between there is about a 60 mile radius that just happens to have some beautiful harbors and an abundance of wildlife. There are many bays that we visit throughout the summer in this area and which one again is very much dependent on what we have planned for the day.  All of the Alaska cruises spend one full day up either Endicott or Tracy Arm.  Several days are spent in Stephen’s Passage and Frederick Sound area and so really each cruise covers much of the same grounds with only a couple days of the week changing depending on which city we end up in.
Our wildlife photographer has been aboard 17 weeks to date. Even though he has repeated the exact same itinerary 15 times every cruise has felt like a different adventure. 
Many guests have cruised all routes and each week has been different. So far there still doesn’t seem to be a fan favorite that stands out amongst the rest. Hard to imagine how that is but year after year one week to the next is a totally different cruise. In all the years this still somewhat amazes me.


The only activity that is mandatory is enjoying yourself. In some cases that means kayaking and hiking a fair bit, some not at all and most guests fall somewhere in the middle. Because we have small groups aboard it is very easy to cater to everyone’s level at which they choose to participate. It is often that we get to a bay and have some that want to kayak, some that want to hike, one or two that want to hang a line over after setting crab pots and some that just want to sit and enjoy the scenery and tranquility of the harbor with a glacier ice cocktail or glass of wine in hand. All of these are great and we want you to enjoy your special week aboard so we are happy to assist in whatever it is that floats your boat 🙂

5 of the 6 guest cabins (all but the single) have built-in vanities with sinks. Each cabin is spacious, comfortable and well appointed. Below decks the guests share two heads and separate showers. Although this seems to be an initial concern, it really is not a problem. We have plenty of guests that admit they were concerned about this being an issue and once aboard realized it just isn’t so.

With the vanities/sinks in the cabins and the showers being separate it all seems to work out just fine.  During the day most use the on deck head and the crew have their own separate head and shower as well.  The only time the crew are in the guests bathrooms are to make sure they have fresh towels and are clean.

The first part is absolutely yes, for those that are interested you can set crab pots, shrimp pots as well as fish for Salmon and Halibut. The chef will filet the catch of the day and typically within hours of being caught it makes its way onto the table. The second part (shipping home) no not really, although we enjoy catching once we have enough we typically release the rest even if we continue fishing for fun. 
Each week guests want to eat their own fresh catch and we really aren’t set up to process and store fish.  Also, this is just part of our conservation of the precious resources. Currently, we are still able to consistently catch fresh seafood meals, however, in my tenure in Alaska it is a huge difference from the good old days and a noticeable one from just even 10 years ago. I hope that our kids and grandkids and yours as well have the opportunity to one day come to Alaska and have the opportunity to enjoy fresh caught seafood. 
Our maximum capacity is 12.  On a mixed group trip depending on the configuration it would be quite rare to exceed 9 guests. Although from a revenue standpoint it makes financial sense to pack 12 aboard we just choose not to do so. Many boats our size and or smaller pack people in but that just isn’t our style. We want everyone to enjoy themselves and if you join us for a mixed group cruise and decide to book another with your whole family totaling 12 that’s one thing. With say 8 or 9 guests there is lots and lots of room aboard for everyone to come together or spread out and find their own space if they so choose. All of our boat photos give an accurate depiction with no wide angle shots. Our guests are pleasantly surprised at how spacious and well-kept the boat is. Plus with less than 12, there is room for the captain at the dinner table to join and share stories of Alaska, restoring old wooden boats and many more life experiences along the way.

Not a problem!  We have been fortunate to attract great chefs, many with years of experience in big, fast-paced kitchens with seatings in the dozens or hundreds per night. We are what most chefs would consider a very small dinner seating. They are able to accommodate food requests and dietary restrictions without any problem at all. When you make your final payment we send out a food preference sheet so the chef knows well in advance to your boarding what your needs are and is well prepared. That being said, please do let us know in advance via this aforementioned sheet or by email. Once we leave town there are no shopping options so if you forgot to mention it we are left scrambling. 

This is on the schedule page as well but just to reiterate we are not in the business of keeping deposits. I am sure we both agree that neither party wants to have an issue that you aren’t able to join the cruise or us to keep your deposit. Life happens and occasionally we are confronted with this. We will always try to refill your spot. Our best marketing has always been word of mouth so I would of course rather have someone aboard cruising with us from a marketing standpoint as well as revenue. We have a few guests that watch online regularly and or watch social media for last-minute openings and will advertise the availability as soon as we know in hopes to refill the spot(s). We will work with you the best we can to refund or transfer your deposit to another trip. Of course, the more notice we have the better chance of doing so. If you have someone that is willing to take your spot, terrific, there is no problem having someone else arrive than originally booked.


Discovery is equipped with all modern machinery to include a modern quiet John Deere diesel main engine, New Northern Lights generators, battery banks and inverters. During the day you’ll hear the main engine and generators but they are VERY quiet by any boat standard.

There is not a place aboard that engine noise is problematic day or night.  At night after dinner we shut off all generators and go to a silent inverter system that converts our DC battery bank to AC power so outlets and lights work throughout the boat however there is zero noise so the sounds of a river or waterfall in the harbor may be all you hear.

These are some common questions but of course there are new ones that I get every year for the first time. By all means, feel free to reach out by email or phone if you have questions that have not been answered here.  I am always happy to chat. Again, I love the boat, Alaska and the guests we get to share it with. We have been very fortunate with having so many wonderful guests over the years.

Occasionally guests have questions or concerns and throughout the conversation or process one of us decides it is just not the right fit. Rather than trying to make it work, we are much better off referring them to a more fitting venue and I am happy to do so.

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