Welcome aboard! Meet your crew and get acquainted with your new companions as you set sail northward through the Tongass National Forest on your Alaska small ship cruise.
The only Alaskan town ever governed by four nations, Wrangell was established as a fur trading center by the Russians in the early 1800s. It later held a strategic location for Gold Rush prospectors and served as the launch point for pioneering conservationist John Muir’s famous glacier expedition. An included tour features the newly renovated Chief Shakes Clan House. This afternoon, transit the once treacherous (in the pre-technology age) Wrangell Narrows, a 22-mile winding, snake-like channel—dubbed “Christmas Tree Lane” for its abundant red and green navigational lights. Along the way, watch the shore for Sitka black-tailed deer, black bears, and seabirds.
Founded over 100 years ago, Petersburg was nicknamed “Little Norway” due to its large Scandinavian population. An included city tour reveals the impact fishing had on this tiny Alaskan village, and afterwards, you’ll have time on your own. Whale watching in the nutrient-rich waters of Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait highlight your afternoon. Seals and sea lions frequent the shores around Turnabout and The Brothers Islands and the Five Fingers Lighthouse.
Navigate your way through Sergius Narrows, an “inside route” once plied by Russian sea otter hunters. Russian American and Tlingit history come to life in Sitka—Southeast Alaska’s oldest non-Native settlement. Uncover its past and present on an included tour to the Alaska Raptor Center, historic Castle Hill, St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and Sitka National Historical Park—Alaska’s oldest federally designated park.
Leave it to your Captain to uncover the best opportunities for today’s wilderness adventure. Cruise the shores of Chichagof Island and through the northern whale waters of Icy Strait. Take in the spectacular scenery and keep watch for lounging sea lions and gentle humpbacks. Feasting on krill. Breaching. Giving you the fluke.
First established as a National Monument in 1925, Glacier Bay holds the status of National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Glaciers unfold front and center today and there are many to choose from—Margerie, Grand Pacific, Johns Hopkins, or Lamplugh. Cruise by Marble Islands and witness Steller sea lions barking on the rocky haulout. Seabirds also flock to the area—murrelets, puffins, and black-legged kittiwakes are frequent residents. The 15,000-foot peaks of the Fairweather Range drape the skyline. This evening, set sail toward the Lynn Canal, North America’s deepest fjord.
Haines—home to the world's largest autumnal congregation of bald eagles—thrived for years as an integral trade center to the Chilkat band of Tlingit natives, famous for their intricately designed blankets woven with mountain goat hair and cedar bark. A tour at Fort William H. Seward and Sheldon Museum & Cultural Center shares the history and significance of this notable landmark. In Skagway, gateway to the Chilkoot Trail and one of the original routes of the Klondike Gold Rush, wooden boardwalks line the outer edges of the town’s historic buildings where tales of betrayal, fortune, and mystery come alive. An included White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railway tour carries you 3,000 feet up and around cliff-hanging turns for a stunning panorama of glaciers, mountains, and gorges, and waterfalls. Join the Captain for a toast at tonight’s Farewell Dinner and relive your journey with a memorable presentation by your Legacy Leader.
Please note for 2015 departures, the entire day will be devoted to exploring Skagway.
Bid adieu to your newfound friends and crew. Disembark after breakfast for your transfer to the Juneau airport or begin your independent journey.