• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Un-cruise Alaska!

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We’ve just had news of a fantastic new option for exploring south east Alaska’s stunningly scenic coastline for Summer 2013 with InnerSea Discoveries. On a small ship which, for three special departures will have just 36 guests on board, this trip is marketed as an ‘un-cruise’ to suit adventurous people that want to experience and explore this region, but not on a traditional cruise ship.

Adventure activities during the trip include kayaking, hiking, snorkelling and paddle boarding (a good level of fitness is required) and with an expert present on each trip, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about your surroundings in a small group of like-minded people, returning to the ship each evening for excellent food and perhaps a relax in the hot tub.

This seven-night ‘un-cruise’ between Juneau and Ketchikan would work very well within a longer Alaskan holiday – we can arrange a tailor made land-based itinerary to fit around it, and create a comprehensive Alaska experience.

I’ve detailed below the itinerary (which on one date is operated in reverse) to whet the appetite.

Day 1 Ketchikan, Alaska – Embarkation
Welcome aboard! Meet your Captain and crew, and get acquainted with your new mates as you heave ho for the Misty Fjords National Monument.

Day 2 Misty Fjords National Monument
Today’s explorations are entirely water-based with extensive kayaking in the heart of spectacular Misty Fjords National Monument. Paddle quietly in the furthest reaches of this unsung gem at the southernmost point of Alaska’s Inside Passage. A scenic backdrop of glacial valleys and sheer walls are home to brown and black bears, mountain goats, and seabirds.

Day 3 Behm Canal / Revillagigedo Island
Its bear country, and today we’ll anchor in the backcountry for low-elevation hiking and intertidal walks to explore sea life along shore and bald eagles dotting the trees. During pristine kayaking in the remote bays that wind through the Tongass National Forest, you’ve got good odds of seeing speedy Dall’s porpoise. There are also opportunities for flightseeing or sport fishing tours (for an extra charge).

Day 4 Thomas Bay / Baird Glacier
Change gears today for glacier-hiking and exploration. Walk carefully across the terminal moraine through boot-sucking mud until you stand atop the mile-wide Baird Glacier. Explore the vast expanse of this “river of ice.” Learn about the forces that create glaciers and their earth-shaping impact. Other activities on tap for today include kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling.

Day 5 Rainforest Trails / Glacier-fed Rivers
Among the most striking landscapes in all of Southeast Alaska is Thomas Bay. Spend two days of extensive backcountry exploration on foot and by kayak. Options today include the steep and rugged Cascade Creek trail (waterproof hiking boots and gaiters are a must), which terminates at Swan Lake, an alpine lake formed by glaciers over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. This established trail—with difficult stretches marked by tree roots, large rocks, and possible fallen trees—gains 1,200 feet in 5 miles, and requires 6-7 hours round trip.
Another option is the 5-mile (one way) low-elevation hike to the glacially-fed and rarely visited Patterson Lake. Hike in with your companions, and then launch a kayak into Patterson River for spectacular kayaking to the face of Patterson Glacier before hiking back to the trailhead. Elevation gain on this trail is less than 750 feet. Group sizes on each option are limited to ten guests; activities are weather dependent.

Day 6 Windham Bay / Stephen’s Passage / Frederick Sound
Wilderness and wildlife and you—civilization has disappeared altogether. Break out in small groups to explore on foot for some non-technical hiking in a temperate rainforest along Windham Bay. Expedition Guides bring the forest alive as they interpret the plants and animals that call the forest “home.” Cruising through famed Stephen’s Passage and Frederick Sound, take in some relaxation and whale watching—whales, sea lions, puffins, and whatever else nature has in store.

Day 7 Tracy Arm / Ford’s Terror Wilderness
Paddle till your heart’s content. Winding fjords with sheer granite walls, hundreds of cascading waterfalls, and some of the largest icebergs in all of Alaska lie within this federally recognized Wilderness Area. With your boat serving as basecamp, you can opt for shorter kayak and standup paddle board outings, or a full-day kayak excursion. The day is yours to explore this Wilderness area, and conditions permitting, there’ll be a chance to kayak among icebergs in the fjord.

Day 8 Juneau – Disembark
Enjoy a farewell breakfast before disembarking this morning. Transfer directly to the airport or begin your add-on overnight stay or extended land tour.

Places are limited and likely to sell out early – call us for more information on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk and we can put together an itinerary to include this fantastic trip.



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