Sitka to Juneau

8 Days

7 Nights

Coast to Capital

With a colorful past that blends native Tlingit culture with Russian history beautiful Sitka is well worth a day or two before you join us on Discovery. Once onboard we’ll  navigate a myriad of coastal islands and inner channels looking for sea otter and bear on the beaches before catching the tide through the infamous Sergius Narrows to Frederick Sound. Humpback Whales congregate here each summer and the surrounding islands & inlets on Baranof and Admiralty Island are home to a large number of brown bear. There is time to hike, kayak and fish before we explore the stunning fjords and glaciers of the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness Area.

Tour Map

Sample Itinerary

Picturesque Sitka is the heart of Russian influence in Southeast Alaska and lies nestled beneath the sharp granite peaks on Baranof Island’s western shore. With Mt Edgcombe, an extinct volcano, to the west the journey begins as we cruise into Salisbury Sound.

Sea Otter are commonly seen floating around the kelp beds and rocky shoreline and watch for Brown Bear, Bald Eagles and Sitka Black-tailed deer on shore. We’ll wind our way through a myriad of islands into Olga and Neva Straits and anchor this evening in a protected cove on the northern shore of Kruzof Island.

This morning we have the option of hiking Sea Lion Cove Trail (or part thereof). Moderately difficult this trail traverses a variety of Alaska’s diverse ecosystems (grassy meadow, beautiful old growth forest, lake and muskeg) before emerging onto a two-mile long sandy beach at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Alternately, the foreshore and meadow attract Brown Bear and Bald Eagle and is a great place to spend time beach combing and taking photos.

Outside of the inlet is a good fishing spot and time/weather permitting we may try to hook a Salmon before cruising on through Sergius Narrows. This exciting 30-mile long passage between Baranof and Chichagof islands is only 300 feet wide at its narrowest point with whirlpools and a rushing tide.

Todays destination is a bay in Hoonah Sound. Once anchored guests can help the crew drop crab pots, go kayaking, drop in a line for Halibut or just relax on board.

Enjoy a cup of coffee and a leisurely stroll on deck. You can help the crew pull up Dungeness Crab pots or watch the skiff return with the days catch. Sit down for breakfast as the crew pull anchor and we get underway.

Watch for whale spouts as we cruise down Peril Strait. The protected waters of Chatham Strait to Frederick Sound comprise the summer feeding grounds of more than 300 Humpback Whales and also support Orca (Killer) Whales, Dalls Porpoise, Stellar sea lion and a variety of sea birds. Chances of encountering Humpback and Orca Whales are high in this area and whale watching is likely to take up part of our day.

We may fish for Salmon or Halibut at one of our secret spots, watch as commercial fishing boats haul in their nets or tour a Salmon Hatchery. Our anchorage tonight lies tucked beneath towering snow-capped mountains.

We’ll make the short hop south today to the Baranof Hot Springs. Guests can opt to soak in a private tub or follow the short trail through lush rainforest to a natural hot spring beside a roaring waterfall. For the energetic the trail continues on to a clear mountain lake and/or a small bluff overlooking the bay. In mid-summer you can collect wild blueberries and salmon berries as you make your way back to the boat.

Discovery’s creative Chef will have a delicious lunch prepared as we cruise south to one of the Captain’s favorite bays. This inlet is serene and beautiful with many twists and turns and guests usually gather on the bow to fully absorb the mystical waterfalls and tall mountains reflected in the calm waters below.

Watch for Bald Eagle, curious Harbor Seals and Brown Bear foraging along the waters edge as we enter the bay. With 2 rivers at its head this bay it a great place to explore by skiff or kayak.

Keen kayakers have time for a paddle before breakfast then we’ll pull anchor and pick up the shrimp pot that was set last night. With no binding agenda today we will cruise around the southern tip of Admiralty Island into Frederick Sound. The scale of Alaska’s inside passage is evident as we cross this expansive body of water. Watch for the tell tale spouts of Humpback and Orca whales and Sea Otter bobbing in the swell.

We may have time to fish for Halibut before dropping anchor in a pretty cove on Admiralty Island. With the densest population of Brown Bear in the world this island (& bay) is another good place to search for Brown Bear and depending on guests desires we can explore the creek and foreshore by skiff or go for a short hike.

Crossing Frederick Sound to the east we’ll pass the Brothers Islands. A narrow spit of land is exposed at low tide and we may spend a couple of hours clamming and exploring tide pools before cruising towards Five Finger light house.

We’ll pass a Sea Lion haul out this afternoon and watch their raucous interactions. Then there is time to relax as we follow the mainland north to a small cove at the entrance of the Tracy Arm / Fords Terror glacial region. If the tide is right, we may catch the 20 minute current free window into Fords Terror itself. MV Discovery is one of the few small cruise ships to navigate the swirling, shallow entrance of Fords Terror and spend the night in this dramatic wilderness. Inside this narrow fjord the rest of the world is forgotten as you stand in awe of the incredible forces of mother nature.

Today we will cruise the length of Endicott Arm beneath sheer granite walls with cascading waterfalls. We’ll navigate our way between glittering blue icebergs in the hope of reaching the massive face of Dawes Glacier, a tidewater glacier that calves regularly into the sea. Keep a look out for Bear, Mountain Goats, Bald Eagle, Harbor Seals with pups on icebergs and their nemesis the Orca (Killer) whale.

This afternoon its a scenic cruise to Taku Harbor where guests have one last opportunity to kayak and/or explore an abandoned fox farm, dock pilings and rope swing before a celebratory dinner to cap off an amazing week.

It’s the final morning and a short 2 hour cruise into Juneau 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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