- 13 Days
- Vancouver, Canada - Sitka, United States
- Voyage code:
- Sylvia Earle
from GBP £6,746.25/pp Save 25%*
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Enjoy small-ship exploration in Alaska, one of the world’s largest terrestrial reserves. At Metlakatla, visit the only Indian Reserve in Alaska. In Misty Fjords National Monument, pull into quiet coves to view marine wildlife without the worry of crowds. Marvel at the towering trees of old-growth forests. Along the shoreline, keep watch for brown bears and their cubs while whales patrol the waters. Hike in the world’s largest temperate rainforest listening for songbirds or take a small boat and sit under the imposing edifice of one of Alaska’s many tidewater glaciers.
- Visit the Metlakatla Indian Community, Annette Island, where you can learn about their ancient culture and admire their unique, locally hand-carved standing totem poles
- Look for iconic Alaskan wildlife including, bears, eagles and salmon in Tongass National Forest – the largest in the US, covering most of south–east Alaska – and famous wilderness areas such as Misty Fjords National Monument and Tracy Arms-Ford Terror Wilderness
- Discover Haines’ famous hiking trails
- Zodiac cruise, kayak or explore the shorelines of the islands around Icy Strait, which offer the possibility of superb wildlife viewing. Keep watch for wildlife all-stars such as orca, brown bears, Steller sea lions and many bird species
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Day 1 Vancouver
Arrive in Vancouver and transfer to our group hotel. Upon check-in, reception staff will provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners at our voyage briefing this evening.
Accommodation: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
Day 2 Vancouver
On a sightseeing tour, get a glimpse into Vancouver’s main highlights, including Stanley Park, Granville Island, Prospect Point and Gastown, before transferring to the pier for embarkation. After boarding, there’s time to settle into your cabin before learning important safety briefings. This evening, meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Days 3–4 British Columbia’s Inside Passage
Sail the southern stretches of British Columbia’s Inside Passage, navigating through narrow straits and channels that are inhabited by vast pods of orca, while admiring views of cascading waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, temperate forests and the abundant marine life.
Day 5 Metlakatla, Misty Fjords National Monument
On Annette Island, experience the extraordinary history, art, and cultural traditions of the Tsimshian tribe of Metlakatla Indian Community, the only Indian Reserve in Alaska.
Shore Excursions (choose one of the following):
Yellow Hill Hike (3.5 hours)
Enjoy a 5-mi / 8-km hike to Yellow Hill, a challenging walk with rewarding panoramic views of Metlakatla and Annette Bay. Walking mostly on timber board walk, stairs, and moderately steep terrain, the hike is suitable for individuals without mobility issues.
Visit the community Long House to learn about the building’s history and traditions, and where you will enjoy a dance performance from a local Tsimshian dance group followed by a Q & A with the dancers. Afterwards, visit the Artist Village next door to see handicrafts made by local artists, and which are available for purchase.
Walking Town Tour & Totem Pole Journey (3.5 hours)
The Totem Exploration Journey is a path guides you to the Totems & points of interest of Metlakatla. On a guided walk, you get a close-up view of the fascinating, handcrafted cedar carvings scattered throughout Metlakatla. During the excursion, you’ll discover the 14 totem poles standing in Metlakatla, all carved by local artists, you’ll visit several historical and cultural points of interest, including the William Duncan Memorial Church, the Metlakatla Indian Community Longhouse, and the Artist Village. Visit the community Long House to learn about the building’s history and traditions, and where you will enjoy a dance performance from a local Tsimshian dance group followed by a Q & A with the dancers. Afterwards, visit the Artist Village next door to see handicrafts made by local artists, and which are available for purchase.
Skater’s Lake Trail Walk & Totem Journey (3.5 hours)
On this scenic timber boardwalk, you’ll experience the lush scenery at Skater’s Lake. Afterwards, visit the community Long House to learn about the building’s history and traditions, and where you will enjoy a dance performance from a local Tsimshian dance group followed by a Q & A with the dancers. Afterwards, visit the Artist Village next door to see handicrafts made by local artists, and which are available for purchase.
Later, we sail in Misty Fjords National Monument, a wilderness area characterised by towering granite cliffs shrouded in mist, and glacial valleys. The area is a haven for wildlife, and by Zodiac or kayak, we explore the area searching for grizzly and black bears, whales, mountain goats and deer.
Day 6 Wrangell, Thomas Bay, Baird Glacier
Disembark in historic Wrangell, an important town that was founded by Russians in 1834, and which once thrived on fur and gold trading. Enjoy Wrangell’s main highlights, including a visit to Petroglyph Beach to see ancient rock carvings, and a visit to the city museum to learn about Wrangell’s colourful history. In the afternoon, anchor in Thomas Bay, a wilderness location shrouded in the mysterious local legends, for an exploration around Baird Glacier.
Shore Excursions (choose one of the following):
Highlights of Wrangell (2.5 hours)
Learn about Wrangell’s most significant landmarks while driving through town. Hear the Tlingit tribe members interpret the meaning of their totem poles. See ancient rock carvings at Petroglyph Beach and delve deeply into the history of Wrangell at the city museum.
Tongass Botanical Forest Walk (2 hours)
Explore Tongass Rainforest on a guided walk through the coastal temperate rainforest on the Wrangell Nature Trail. Learn about the interconnectedness between tidal, muskeg, alpine, and deep forest ecosystems, and discover a variety of edible and medicinal uses of local flora. You’ll walk through Wrangell’s Historic Sites on the way to the Nature Trailhead.
Day 7 Frederick Sound, Endicott Arm, Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness Area
As we glide through Endicott Arm, enjoy views of snow-covered mountains and spot seals resting on ‘bergy bits’ that have calved from Dawes Glacier. Tides permitting, explore the narrow passage of Ford’s Terror. Later, as we enter into Frederick Sound keep your eyes peeled and your cameras ready for orca, feeding Steller’s sea lions and humpback whales, famous for their acrobatic behaviour such as tail lobbing, pectoral slapping, breaching, and picturesque dives that showcase their massive flukes.
Day 8 Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness Area
In Tracy Arm glide along the steep walled fjords of a watery Wilderness area that has been likened to Yosemite and enjoy views of snow-covered mountains. Zodiac-cruise or kayak in search of wildlife at the back of the Tracy Arm, home to the twin Sawyer Glaciers. Spot for harbour seals resting on ‘bergy bits’ which calve regularly from the active tidewater glaciers.
Day 9 Haines
Nestled between two river valleys and beneath the craggy mountain peaks of the Chilkat Range lies Haines, the adventure capital of Southeast Alaska, and one of the best places in Alaska to hike, view wildlife and investigate the gold rush era history at Fort William H. Seward.
Shore Excursions (choose one of the following):
Haines Highlights (3.5 hours)
Learn about Haine’s local culture, history while enjoying the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding areas. Along the way stop for a delicious beachside snack of locally caught and smoked salmon. Visit historic Fort William H. Seward, a National Historic Landmark and one of the first military outposts in Alaska. At the American Bald Eagle Foundation’s Raptor Center, meet naturalists and expert bird handlers who have trained with these impressive birds for many years, and who are eager to share their knowledge and experience with you. Afterwards, as we drive along the Chilkat Peninsula, enjoy views of surrounding mountains, glaciers, and rivers. At the Haines Packing Company, the oldest working cannery in Alaska, learn how salmon, crab, shrimp and halibut are processed. Visit the smokehouse, explore the nets and the traps on the loading dock and perhaps view the day’s catch. Returning to town, we make a stop at a private beachside location to enjoy a snack of local smoked salmon, cream cheese, cookies, and hot beverages.
Chilkat Rainforest Nature Walk (3.5 hours)
Walk through forest filled with towering spruce and hemlock trees, moss, ferns, wildflowers, moose, bear and bald eagles. Enjoy panoramic views of Tayia and Chilkoot Fjords framed by the glacially carved coastal mountains.
Valley of the Eagles Nature Tour (3.5 hours)
The fertile Chilkoot Valley provides an abundance of potential wildlife sightings including brown bears, bald eagles, mountain goats, salmon, harbor seals, and migratory birdlife. At a picturesque lake, join the guides for a refreshing forest walk beneath old-growth trees and into a muskeg (bog or swampland).
Days 10–11 Expedition days
Enjoy the next two days exploring the narrow straits and small islands around Chichagof Island, searching for wildlife and admiring the superb scenery from hiking trails. The islands along Icy Strait, such as Inian Island, Point Adolphus, Elfin Cove and George Island, offer some of the best opportunities for Zodiac-cruising and kayaking experiences. Home to an abundance of all-star Alaskan wildlife, keep a look out for whales, Steller sea lions, sea otters, harbour seals, bald eagles and brown bears. We attempt to navigate Peril Strait, which leads us from Chatham Strait to Sitka on the North Pacific coast, a navigation that if successful, rewards us with stunning scenery, genuine adventure and ultimately, bragging rights.
Day 12 Sitka Sound, Saint Lazaria National Wildlife Refuge
Along the Gulf of Alaska, explore around Kruzof Island where brown bears are abundant and Mount Edgecumbe volcano looms in the horizon. Saint Lazaria National Wildlife Refuge is home to 500,000 nesting seabirds and is excellent for Zodiac-cruising and kayaking when the weather is favourable. Alternatively, protected Sitka Sound offers abundant marine wildlife viewing opportunities.
Day 13 Sitka
Disembark in Sitka and transfer to the airport to continue your journey.
Note: The itinerary outlined is intended to be used as a guide. Although we plan to visit as many of the places mentioned in the itinerary as possible, tides, timing, local regulations and weather conditions may determine where we land and the precise order in which we operate the itinerary.
- Transfer from airport to hotel on day 1
- One night’s hotel accommodation on day 1, breakfast included
- Sightseeing tour and transfer to the vessel on day 2
- Group transfer from ship to airport on day 13
- On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- All shore excursions
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
- 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
- Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
- Gratuities for ship crew
- International or domestic flights, unless specified
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
Whale and mammal spotting
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages. The experience of …
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages.
The experience of sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica or the European Arctic is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.
Led by experienced guides, paddling in small groups allows us the opportunity to paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes as well as allowing easy and intimate access to beautiful coastlines.
Rather than travelling large distances, our aim is to see as much as possible. We paddle anywhere between 5 to 15 kilometres (2 to 4 hours) per outing, sometimes taking a snack and a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy on our excursion.
Each group of 4 to 10 kayakers will have their own intimate exploration of the small hidden bays and coasts that may be inaccessible to the Zodiacs and will also make time for their own shore excursions and wildlife encounters.
When we visit the poles, the elements play an important role. It is important that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that our kayaking time will be affected by the weather that we experience.
Even if your experience is limited, we’d encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart. Kayakers should be aged 14 years or over.
- Kayak & Paddle
- Neoprene boots
- Safety gear
- A 15-litre dry bag
- Life jackets
- Dry suits
- Pogies (insulated mittens that attach to your paddle)
Our guides have years of kayaking experience in our destinations. The sea kayaking guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we paddle across. You can view our sea kayaking guides’ profiles here or see below.
How to Book
Simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking that you would like to include the optional sea kayaking activity for your expedition. Places are limited so we recommend reserving your place early.View more details
The icy waters of Antarctic and the Arctic guarantee amazing new experiences. In 1998 Aurora Expeditions offered the world-first commercial dive …
The icy waters of Antarctic and the Arctic guarantee amazing new experiences.
In 1998 Aurora Expeditions offered the world-first commercial dive trip to Antarctica, and weve built on our polar experience ever since. In Antarctica and the Arctic, we bring you the exciting and unique chance to get a closer look at the amazing marine life of our polar regions.
Antarctic and Arctic diving reveals a world of ice, where glaciers, gigantic icebergs and a unique blend of marine life greet us, making for a very special experience. With numerous diving opportunities along your voyage, no two days will be alike a truly inspiring and unforgettable experience awaits.
To participate in our polar diving activity, all divers must be a trained, certified scuba divers with proof of certification beyond entry level, i.e. Advanced Diver certification or equivalent rating issued by a recognised scuba training organisation.
In addition to this, it is extremely important that adequate training and experience is gained in dry-suit diving, and in the use of other new and unfamiliar equipment to be used in polar waters. To ensure your safety and enjoyment and to avoid any unnecessary problems on the trip, recent diving experience and proof of a minimum of 20 logged dives using a dry-suit is required prior to joining the voyage.
Our team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years polar diving experience and provide divers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe diving experience. Your dive master will ensure Standard Safety Diving Practices are adhered to at all times.
How to Book
Please return the suba diving activity form at time of booking. If you have any queries regarding our scuba diving option, please contact our friendly Expeditions Experts for more information.
View more details
Discover the underwater world of Antarctica and the Arctic! Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through …
Discover the underwater world of Antarctica and the Arctic!
Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you’ll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs!
With a longstanding tradition of pushing the boundaries, Aurora Expeditions launched our Antarctic snorkelling adventures in 2014. In 2016 the activity has also been added to a range of our Arctic expeditions. This unique experience will allow passengers to see both destinations in a completely new dimension, witnessing wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth.
This latest innovative activity option is led by our expert polar diving guides, and utilises state of the art equipment including drysuits, gloves, hood, fins, mask, and snorkel. Passengers will be provided with all of the training and equipment they need to experience Antarctica from this truly unique angle.
Passengers who take part will enjoy the opportunity to snorkel daily (weather dependent), taking delight in sheltered bays, off shore islands and secluded ship wrecks which make for spectacular wildlife viewing.
Our team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years polar diving experience and provide snorkellers and divers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe snorkelling and diving experience.
Polar snorkelling requires at least 6 snorkellers for the activity to proceed. Please ask our team for numbers at time of booking.
How to Book
Please return the polar snorkelling activity form at the time of booking. Simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking that you would like to include the optional snorkelling activity to your expedition. Places are limited.
For voyages on the Greg Mortimer:View more details
Be one of the first to experience our new activity – Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP). Experienced paddlers can explore Scotland’s waters …
Be one of the first to experience our new activity – Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP).
Experienced paddlers can explore Scotland’s waters on a stand-up paddleboard. Spot birds perched on the rocky, jagged cliffs, crumbling stone buildings still standing on the rolling green hills and picturesque villages as you paddle by.
If you want to try stand-up paddleboarding for the first time, you can paddle in protected bays, over coral reefs in warmer waters on our Costa Rica and The Panama Canal expedition. More experienced paddlers can enjoy the larger waves on beaches. The experience of stand up paddle-boarding (SUP) in one of the most biologically intense regions of the world both above and under the water is guaranteed to stir your soul.
We offer small, guided, intimate groups a chance to take SUP paddling to the next level. Weather permitting, we will offer daily outings with a support Zodiac. We provide waterproof day packs to carry our cameras and spare clothing to make the most of our excursions above the water and on shore.
Each group of 3 to 8 paddlers generally visit the same wildlife or historic sites as our fellow expeditioners. However, our smaller craft (SUP) and manoeuvrability often means that we also have the opportunity to access areas that are often not accessible by Zodiacs. We will also make time to do some shore landings with the rest of the group (without exceeding Costa Rica Park regulations of 100 people ashore at any one time).
It is vital that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that our paddling will be affected by the weather that we will experience.
To join our SUP adventure paddling it’s best to book ahead of your departure. We do require previous experience on the Scotland trip, but on our Costa Rica adventures, beginners are welcome. On board sign-ups are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Even if your experience is limited, we would encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart. Paddlers should be aged 16 or over.
- SUP board, leash & paddle
- Neoprene boots
- Safety gear
- A dry bag
- PFD (Life jacket)
- Dry suits (Scotland only)
- Insulated gloves (Scotland only)
Our guides have many years of stand-up paddleboarding experience in the destinations we visit. The paddleboarding guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we paddle across.
How to Book
Simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking that you would like to include the optional stand-up paddleboarding activity for your expedition. For safety reasons, we limit our group size to a maximum of only eight paddleboarders per voyage, so we recommend reserving your place early.View more details
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*Terms & Conditions apply. Valid on select ship voyages only. Offer is valid on new bookings only aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle which must be booked and deposited by March 21st 2021. Promotion is subject to availability at the time of booking and capacity controlled. The promotion is only available in conjunction with the back to back voyage discount or the loyalty program offer, and not available with any other offer. The promotion can be withdrawn at any time and is not redeemable for cash. Normal booking terms and conditions apply. To confirm your booking, a completed booking form and non-refundable deposit of $2,500 pp in the booking currency is required within 7 days of reserved berth/s. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Please see full terms and conditions.