Petersburg to Juneau (Auke Bay) with Pack Creek Bear Viewing
Southeast Alaska is a magical place to be on a boat. And the best way for you to take in all the magic is on an adventure cruise aboard the David B. Our small ship can take you through channels and into coves and anchorages that the big cruise ships with equally big crowds can’t go. We go to special places like the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area, where a limited number of people are allowed to visit each year to quietly observe Alaska brown bears (grizzly) in their natural habitat. Visit our blog to check out a video of the highlights from this trip, or have a listen to our podcast with Pack Creek Bear Guide Dan Kirkwood describing what it’s like to visit Pack Creek.
Date: May 11-18, 2019
Board/Disembark: Northbound – Petersburg to Juneau (Auke Bay)
Price Per Person: $6800 – Visit Schedules and Rates for availability and discounts.
Petersburg to Farragut Bay
You’ll board the David B in the busy fishing town of Petersburg at noon. The sights of working fish boats and Stellers sea lions in the harbor are your first introduction to the abundance of life in Southeast Alaska’s cold nutrient-rich waters. Once we’re underway we’ll make way for Farragut Bay and a rendezvous with Marja and Bo from Farragut Bay Farm for fresh organic greens. At anchor, you’ll have the chance to kayak or hang out on the boat watching nearby eagles and seals.
Farragut Bay to Eliza Harbor
In the morning we’ll get underway and cruise through Fredrick Sound, an area that is often frequented by humpback whales. When we arrive at Eliza Harbor, we’ll have time to explore by kayak, skiff or on foot.
Eliza Harbor to Windfall Harbor
On our way to Windfall Harbor, there will be more opportunities for photographing humpback whales, as well as discussion about your photographs as we cross Stephens Passage. When we arrive at Windfall Harbor, a guide from Pack Creek Bear Tours will meet the David B and accompany us ashore to photograph brown (grizzly) bears that forage on spring sedges at the water’s edge. The bear guide will remain on the David B overnight to answer questions about the brown bears of Admiralty Island and Alaska.
Windfall Harbor – Pack Creek Bear Viewing to Fords Terror
After a light breakfast, you’ll be underway for the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area. This special place is where brown bears that are accustom to people commonly forage. You’ll be there for an amazing land-based bear experience. In the afternoon we’ll say goodbye to the bears and the bear guide and cross Stephens Passage, a known feeding area for humpback whales. We’ll also stop at a haul-out site for impressively large Steller’s sea lions.
Gambier Bay to Fords Terror
After breakfast and a hike or paddle, we’ll cross Stephens Passage for Holkham Bay and the Tracy Arm/Fords Terror Wilderness Area. Here you’ll experience the true magistracy of southeast Alaska as we enter Holkham Bay with Mt. Sumdum and it’s glacier to greet you. On our way to Fords Terror, the David B will glide between enormous sapphire icebergs from Dawes Glacier at the head Endicott Arm. We’ll anchor in a deep water cove next to unbelievably steep cliffs that are laced with thin waterfalls that cascade into the aqua blue water.
Fords Terror – Dawes Glacier – Wood Spit
After one going on one of the most beautiful hikes that southeast Alaska has to offer, we’ll get underway for Dawes Glacier. Visiting a tidewater glacier is one of the highlights of this cruise. After slowly picking our way through the ice that has calved off of Dawes, we’ll spend an hour or longer watching this magnificent river of ice as it calves its icebergs into Endicott Arm. In the evening we’ll anchor at Wood Spit. Once the anchor is down and all is quiet, we’ll listen for the breath of humpback whales that come into the adjoining Holkham Bay, and watch the shoreline for the occasional black bear that makes its way to the beach.
Wood Spit – Tracy Arm – No Name Cove
In the morning we’ll take a walk along Wood Spit. It’s the ancient moraine of where Dawes Glacier once ended. The walk along the beach is a mix of rocks and sand left by the glacier and now home to many intertidal creatures. Wood Spit is also a nice place to follow bear trails into the forest. Once you’ve pushed through the low shrubs and Devil’s Club that lines the edge of the woods, the forest opens up into a cathedral of tall trees dripping with mosses and lichens. The trails that crisscross the floor lead us to the other side of the spit. After our walk, we’ll spend time cruising in Tracy Arm. This fjord is spectacular with steep walls, big bends, and s-turns. It’s also a good place to look for black bears. How far we’ll go will depend on the condition of the ice from North and South Sawyer Glaciers. In the evening, we’ll anchor in No Name Cove. It’s a special place with views of mountains, glaciers, and icebergs that ride the tide out of Tracy Arm. Here we’ll watch for humpback whales and brown bears.
No Name Cove – Juneau
The David B will be underway early in the morning. It’s six hours between No Name Cove and Juneau. Along the way, you’ll be served handmade croissants while you watch for humpback whales. We’ll make our way up Stephens Passage to Gastineau Channel where Juneau clings to the side of Mount Roberts. We’ll arrive in Auke Bay by mid-day.
Please note that each cruise we do is a little different, so actual itineraries will vary due to weather and timing.