Juneau To Ketchikan

8 Days

7 Nights

Southern Explorer

Exploration and adventure awaits on this cruise from the spectacular fjords and glaciers of the Tracy Arm Fords Terror Wilderness area into Frederick Sound to search for Humpback Whales & other marine life. We’ll navigate the infamous “Wrangell Narrows” and an overnight stop in one of Alaska’s frontier towns of Petersburg or Wrangell often fits into the schedule before another trip highlight, a visit to Anan Creek Bear Observatory. Then sit back and relax as we make our way down Clarence Strait to Alaska’s gateway city of Ketchikan.

Tour Map

Sample Itinerary

A world of natural beauty unfolds as we leave civilization behind and cruise south in Stephens Passage. The atmosphere onboard is one of excitement and anticipation. Our destination for the evening is a small cove nestled beneath a hanging glacier at the edge of the Tracy Arm Fords Terror Wilderness. Icebergs often float into this bay and there is time to kayak or beach comb before guests join the Captain in Discovery’s dining salon for a delicious 3 course evening meal.

Wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and take a stroll on deck before breakfast. Today we will cruise the length of spectacular Tracy or Endicott Arm Fjord. Nature is still raw here and you will be awed by the scale and grandeur of Alaska’s rugged beauty as we cruise beneath sheer granite walls with cascading waterfalls. We’ll navigate our way between glittering blue icebergs in the hope of reaching a massive tidewater glacier that calves regularly into the sea.

Watch for Bear, Mountain Goats, Bald Eagle, Harbor Seals with pups on icebergs and their nemesis the Orca (Killer) whale.

We will spend most of our time today cruising in Frederick Sound, searching for and watching Humpback Whales. The protected waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage support large numbers of these magnificent and graceful creatures during the summer feeding season and it is not uncommon to see more than a hundred individuals on any given day.

Our journey continues south to Admiralty Island. A National Monument and pristine wilderness area this island has the densest population of Brown Bear in the world and is a popular nesting site for Bald Eagle. We’ll visit a Sea Lion haulout along the way and fish for Halibut if time allows.

Today begins at a leisurely pace and keen kayakers have time for a paddle before breakfast. After breakfast we’ll don rubber boots and skiff to shore. This particular bay has a pretty hike to a salmon stream where we hope to see Brown Bear. The surrounding mountains provide a spectacular backdrop and you will not run out of photo opportunities as the trail winds through a grassy meadow and tidal flats on the way back to our skiff.

Watch for Humpback Whales, Orca, Dalls Porpoise and Sea Otter too as we cross Frederick Sound in the afternoon!! We may do a spot of Salmon fishing before continuing to the frontier Alaskan community of Petersburg that is situated at the northern entrance of the infamous Wrangell Narrows. With a proud Scandinavian heritage, canneries and a commercial fishing fleet it is an interesting and convenient overnight destination.

The bench seat in front of the wheelhouse is a popular vantage point this morning as we cruise through the Wrangell Narrows. A winding, 22 mile long channel between Mitkof Island and Kupreanof Island this passage has 65 navigational markers and is in places barely wide enough to accommodate the Alaska State Ferry.

We will cruise to Fools Inlet, an anchorage that situates us well for an early start to an exciting day of bear viewing tomorrow. Help the crew set crab pots, drop a line in for Halibut and if time allows there is always the option to explore by kayak or go on a skiff tour.

Today we will visit Anan Creek Bear Observatory. A short hike through the beautiful temperate rainforest along Anan Lagoon leads to the viewing platform by a waterfall where predominately Black Bear congregate to feast on spawning salmon. Resident Brown bears, bald eagles, several species of gulls, and harbor seals are also attracted to this seasonal abundance. A covered photo blind is located at creek level to get you even closer to the action.

We have a scenic day’s cruise today down Clarence Strait to our final anchorage and one last dinner to celebrate adventures shared and new friends made. There are some good fishing spots along the way and wildlife rich Behm Canal is another place to watch for the tell-tale spouts of Humpback and Orca Whales.

It’s the final morning and a short 2 hour cruise into Ketchikan where we aim to be docked (after breakfast) by approximately 10am.

Please keep in mind: While cruises follow the general route described no two trips are ever the same …….. wildlife encounters, weather and tides often determine how our time is spent on any given day. This spontaneity is one of the joys of small ship cruising and offers a wonderful variety for our return guests.

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Photo by Ron Niebrugge

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