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Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness by Small Ship

Program Number: 20183RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/16/2014 - 5/24/2014; 5/16/2015 - 5/24/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Alaska
Price starting at: $6,290.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising; National Parks
Meals: 22; 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat    

Discover Alaska’s incredible fjords, islands and wildlife on a small ship expedition — the best way to experience the Last Frontier up close. Encounter brown bears foraging, eagles soaring overhead, whales lunge-feeding and tons of ice thundering from a glacier. Accompanying you is the most knowledgeable expedition team in Alaska including six naturalists, a native Tlingit interpreter and a National Park Ranger.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to 1.5 miles at a time on sandy and uneven terrain. Some steep stairs. Many optional opportunities for walks, hikes and kayaking on your choice of a slow, moderate or active pace. Shore landings by expedition landing craft.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Sitka, Alaska, 1 night; aboard National Geographic Sea Lion, 7 nights.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.



Days 1-2: Arrival Sitka, Alaska / embark National Geographic Sea Lion:

Walk through Sitka National Historical Park, where totem poles line the trails. Meet eagles up close at the Raptor Rehabilitation Center. Lodging: Comfortable waterfront hotel.



Day 3: Southeast Alaska's Islands, Bays and Fjords:

Set sail on the icy Alaskan waters, voyaging past thickly forested islands. This area is home to the world’s highest density of nesting bald eagles.



Day 4: Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve:

In this iconic National Park, find yourself among enormous glaciers and listen as the quiet stillness is broken by the thunder of ice calving into the sea. Wildlife abounds: mountain goats, harbor seals, Steller sea lions and puffins live in these icy waters.



Day 5: Icy Strait and the Inian Islands:

Hike and kayak among the Inian islands, where an abundance of Steller sea lions and sea otters reside. We'll search for whales in the rich waters of Icy strait and, conditions permitting, lower the ship's hydrophone to listen in on the whales' communication.



Day 6: Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait:

With luck, we'll see whales breaching, tail-slapping and feeding. We'll explore spectacular bays and inlets, following bear trails and salmon streams. Later, hike or kayak for up close exploration.



Day 7: Petersburg:

Search for humpback whales as we head towards the small, true Alaskan town of Petersburg on Mitkof Island. Explore an unique Alaskan ecosystem, the “muskeg,” with stunted trees and carnivorous plants. Enjoy a crab feast this evening.



Day 8: Tracy Arm:

Voyage into Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm, spectacular fjords with waterfalls cascading from glacially-carved walls. See the soaring Dawes or South Sawyer Glacier up close and board an expedition craft for an unbeatable view of sculpted icebergs.



Day 9: Juneau / disembark / departure:

Visit the Mendenhall Glacier before transferring to the airport for flights home.



National Geographic Sea Bird

Lindblad Expeditions nimble 152-foot boat carrying 62 passengers, the National Geographic Sea Bird is scaled to cater to small groups and to be in harmony with the environment. It can access areas that larger boats cannot and carries a fleet of versatile Zodiac landing craft and sea kayaks for up-close shoreline exploration.


Meals and Lodgings
   Westmark Hotel Sitka
  Sitka, AK 1 night
   National Geographic Sea Bird
  At Sea 7 nights
 Westmark Hotel Sitka
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Convenient downtown location within walking distance of historical and cultural sites and shopping.
  Contact info: 330 Seward St
Sitka, AK 99835 USA
phone: 907-747-6241
web: www.westmarkhotels.com/sitka.php
  Room amenities: Flat screen TVs with cable, free high speed Internet access, in-room coffee makers, hairdryer and iron / ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Room service, fitness center, on-site restaurant and lounge, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet throughout hotel, guest computer available, coin-operated guest laundry and free airport shuttle (for scheduled flight times only).
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact the hotel directly Please make arrangements for additional nights directly with the hotel.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 National Geographic Sea Bird
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: This expedition ship is able reach places inaccessible to larger ships due to her small size. The feeling, we’re told, is often compared to that of a large private yacht, with everyone integral to the adventure. Accessibility means freedom. Lindblad Expeditions' captains have decades of sailing experience in the regions they explore. They know when and where to navigate so that you feel the places we visit are all ours. Thanks to the sturdy fleet of Zodiacs and virtually untippable kayaks, you can be off the ship and out exploring within a moment’s notice. Launch your kayak from a picturesque beach, hike with naturalists into the rain forest or walk easily along a sandy dune. During your time on board, the expedition staff likes nothing better than to surprise and delight you by directing the ship toward breaching whales, bow-riding dolphins or into an alluring cove. The seasoned crew consists of expert Zodiac drivers and considerate service providers. Their energy, enthusiasm and field expertise are sure to enhance your experience. This is what expedition travel is all about: not just seeing wildness, but being out there, in it.
  Ship Information: Sea Bird accommodates 62 guests in 31 outside cabins.
  Contact info: Lindblad Expeditions
96 Morton Street
New York, NY 10014 USA
phone: 800-762-0003
web: www.expeditions.com
  Room amenities: Cabins: All face outside with windows, private facilities, and climate controls.
  Facility amenities: The ship features a library; lounge with full-service bar and facilities for films, slide shows and presentations; observation deck; partially covered sun deck with chairs and tables, spa. The "Open Bridge" policy provides guests and opportunity to meet the Officers and Captain and learn about navigation. Meals are served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Breakfast is a wide selection buffet and lunch is often served family style. Menu emphasizes local flair.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check in begins at 3:00 PM. Meet your Road Scholar Group Leaders in the hotel lobby at 6:00 PM. Dinner begins at 6:30 PM. You will be staying at Westmark Hotel Sitka that night.
  End of Program:
Disembark the ship after breakfast. A city tour of Juneau is scheduled before the group transfer to the airport at approximately 12:00 PM. You will be staying at National Geographic Sea Bird the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. If you are a U.S. citizen, you will not need a passport for this voyage. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact the U.S. consulate or embassy nearest you and obtain a U.S. visa, if one is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is not available on this program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sitka, AK
  Nearest highway: Alaska Marine Highway Ferry. No land connection.
  Nearest airport:  Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT)
  From End of Program
  Location:  At Sea
Travel Details
 

Sitka, Alaska

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Westmark Sitka
phone: 907-747-6241
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary (from hotel)
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

   

The Westmark Sitka Hotel in Sitka offers a complimentary hotel shuttle. The shuttle meets every flight. Look for the white van with a picture of a mountain on the side.

 

Port in Juneau

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

A taxi from ship to Juneau Airport cost approximately $25.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

The transfer takes approximately 20 minutes. 

   

The group will be transferred to the airport after a morning city tour. Transfer to airport at approximately 12:00 PM. Please do not schedule your flight earlier than 1:30 PM if you plan on taking the group transfer.

 
Driving Directions
  Sitka International Airport 1. Head southeast on Airport Rd toward Charcoal Dr 2. Continue onto Harbor Dr 3. Continue onto F-99/Lake St 4. Turn left onto Seward St Destination will be on the left
Equipment Requirements: Waterproof knee-high rubber boots with a strong non-skid sole. Some of our landings will be wet, by Zodiac onto a beach or low jetty. Waterproof pants and a waterproof jacket are also strongly recommended. Please see the packing list for a complete list of recommended equipment. Boots can be rented from the cruise line for the duration of the program: www.shiptoshoretraveler.com/rental/alaskaboots/
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Check-in / Registration and Orientation / Welcome Dinner
(Friday, May 16)
   
 Arrive To: After arrival in Sitka, look for the complimentary hotel shuttle which meets all flights.

Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00 PM.

At 6:00 PM meet your group leader in the hotel lobby.
 Dinner: At 6:30 pm in our private meeting room.
 Evening: Following dinner our program staff will reveiw the up-to-date program schedule, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Hotel Sitka
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Russian American History / Russian Bishop's House / Catheral / Raptor Center / Embark Ship
(Saturday, May 17)

Note: Walking tour of about 3/4 of a mile total in the morning and about 1/3 of a mile in the afternoon. Bus will be taken to the Raptor Center.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel in our private meeting room.
 Morning: After breakfast in our meeting space, attend a lecture on Russian American history by Road Scholar staff. Following the presentation, discover the native Tlingit history with an historical walking tour of Sitka.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own in Sitka.
 Afternoon: Free time in Sitka to explore on your own until 3:00 PM. Meet Road Scholar staff at a pre-arranged meeting spot and visit the Russian Bishop's House, St. Michael's Cathedral and the Raptor Center before boarding the National Geographic Sea Bird.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
 Evening: After dinner, Road Scholar staff will meet with the group over coffee and dessert to review the schedule for the following day.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Alaska's Islands, Bays and Fjords
(Sunday, May 18)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Today we let nature be our guide. Beachcomb, hike forest trails and explore by kayak in a region with perhaps the world's highest density of nesting bald eagles.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring Alaska's Islands, Bays and Fjords.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Point Adolphus / Inian Pass
(Monday, May 19)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Hike, kayak and search for whales near Point Adolphus, consistently a favored summer feeding area for humpback whales. Then, cruise to Inian Pass, where playful sea otters reside.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring Point Adolphus and Inian Pass.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Glacier Bay National Park
(Tuesday, May 20)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: In Glacier Bay, enormous glaciers flow from ice fields. Listen as the quiet stillness of the area is broken by the thunder of tons of ice calving into the sea and search for brown bears and mountain goats. A Tlingit interpreter will also be on board to give the local, cultural perspective.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring Glacier Bay National Park.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait
(Wednesday, May 21)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: With luck, we'll see whales breaching, tail-slapping and feeding. We'll explore spectacular bays and inlets. Later, hike or kayak for up close exploration.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue exploration of Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Petersburg
(Thursday, May 22)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Search for humpback whales as we head towards the small, true Alaskan town of Petersburg on Mitkof Island. Explore a unique Southeast Alaska ecosystem, the "muskeg' with stunted trees and carnivorous plants. There is an opportunity for optional flightseeing or bike riding.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue north exploring Alaska's coastline.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Tracy Arm / Ford's Terror Wilderness
(Friday, May 23)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Voyage into Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm, spectacular fjords, with waterfalls cascading from glacially-carved walls. See the soaring Dawes or South Sawyer Glacier up close and take a Zodiac cruise for an unbeatable view of sculpted icebergs.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring the Alaskan coastline.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner on board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Juneau / Disembark
(Saturday, May 24)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: After breakfast, visit Mendenhall Glacier followed by a visit to a salmon hatchery. Transfer to the airport for flights home.

This concludes our program.

We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Sitka, AK Charter fishing
World class salmon and halibut fishing on a chartered boat with all gear provided. Non-resident fishing license may be purchased from captain. A list of charter operators can be found online. For additional information, visit www.sitka.com
  Golf
9 holes in a fantastic setting. Rentals available. For additional information, visit seamountaingolf.com
  Hiking
There are hiking trails easily accessed from downtown Sitka. Maps are available.
  Kayaking
Local rentals of sea kayaks and gear. They provide basic safety lessons and guides if needed. For additional information, visit www.ssoceanadventures.com
  Museums
Three museums are located in Sitka: Sitka National Historic Park (concentrating on the local Tlingit culture); Sitka Historical Museum (concentrating on Sitka after purchase) and Sheldon Jackson State Museum (concentrating on the native cultures of all Alaska). For additional information, visit www.museums.state.ak.us; www.sitkahistory.org
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Alaska


Author: James Michner


Alaska Trees and Shrubs


Author: Leslie Viereck and Elbert Little


An Alaska Anthology: Interpreting the Past


Author: Edited by Stephen w. Haycox and Mary Childers Mangusso


Description: This anthology is a compilation of essays by noted Alaska historians, geographers and naturalists and is easy to browse and read in small segments. The essays cover Alaskan history from the days of Russian-American Company domination to the threat of nuclear testing by the Atomic Energy Commission and provide an understanding of the events, themes and those involved in the development of the state.



Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska


Author: Kate Wynne


Description: This book covers all 29 marine mammal species of Alaska. Each whale, porpoise, dolphin, seal, sea lion, walrus, sea otter, and polar bear is described and illustrated. Color photos and surface profile drawings show all Alaska marine mammals and compare similar species, and color range maps show distribution.



Guide to the Birds of Alaska


Author: Robert Armstrong


Description: This comprehensive guide provides the most current knowledge about the birds in Alaska.



Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast


Author: Hilary Stewart


Nature of Southeast Alaska: A Guide to Plants, Animals, and Habitats


Author: Robert Armstrong


Roadside Geology of Alaska


Author: Cathy Connor


Description: Alaska is a mosaic patchwork, a collage of continental scraps swept in from the Pacific and added, one after the other, onto the far northwest corner of the continent. Here are the rocky foundations of Alaska, every bit as exotic as the landscape they support, just as varied and vital as the people who live in that landscape. Due to the rugged terrain and limited road access, this is not just a "roadside" book--it describes the geology of southeast Alaska as one might see it from the observation lounge of one of Alaska's comfortable ferries traveling the marine highway.



The Island Within


Author: Richard Nelson


Description: Richard Nelson a Sitka resident is recognized as one of the nation's best known nature writers. This is his account of his exploration of an unnamed Alaskan island which causes one to think about our own relationship with nature, and the importance of observing and participating in nature with reverence and a sense of wonder.



The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush


Author: Pierre Berton


Description: In 1897 a grimy steamer docked in Seattle and set into epic motion the incredible succession of events that Pierre Berton's exhilarating The Klondike Fever chronicles in all its splendid and astonishing folly. For the steamer Portland bore two tons of pure Klondike gold. And immediately, the stampede north to Alaska began.



The Sea Runners


Author: Ivan Doig


Description: In this timeless survival story, four indentured servants escape their Russian Alaska work camp in a stolen canoe, only to face a harrowing journey down the Pacific Northwest coast. Battling unrelenting high seas and fierce weather from New Archangel, Alaska, to Astoria, Oregon, the men struggle to avoid hostile Tlingit Indians, to fend off starvation and exhaustion, and to endure their own doubt and distrust. Although fictional it is based on an actual incident in 1853.



Tlingit Tales: Potlatch and Totem Pole


Author: Lorie K. Harris


Description: Legends of the Tlingit people.



Travels in Alaska


Author: John Muir


Description: Take a trip to last century's Alaska through Muir's clean, easy-going, enthusiastic prose. He wrote the way he took pictures, with insight, attention, care and genuine feeling.





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