||Exploring Sitka Field Trip / Tlingit NaKaHidi Dancers / Wildlife Quest / Transfer to Vessel / Social Hour Before Dinner / Previewing the Voyage
(Saturday, September 6)
Note: You will need to be packed and have luggage outside your door by 8:00 a.m. for pick-up and transfer to the ship. During Sitka field trip, walking up to 1 mile with stops. Stairs at St. Michael's Cathedral, Russian Bishop’s House, and dance performance. Transfer from dock to ship via 65-foot catamaran, and from catamaran to ship via a short ramp with railing.
| Breakfast: ||Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes oatmeal, French toast, eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon, sausage, fruit, orange juice, tea, milk.|
| Morning: ||Led by a local expert, we will explore downtown Sitka via bus with stops at key sites including the Russian Bishop’s House and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. One of Alaska's most charming communities, it has a complex history. Kiksadi Tlingit people have lived in the area for 8,000 years or more. The protected harbor and rich natural resources made it attractive to European explorers.|
Serious Russian interest began in 1725 when Tsar Peter the Great sent Vitus Bering to explore the Pacific coast of North America. A Russian trading enterprise called the Russian American Company was eventually formed. After much fighting between Russian forces and the native Tlingit people, Sitka became the administrative center and remained so until the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867. The name “Alaska” is a Russified version of an Aleut word meaning “great land.” We will stand on the very site that witnessed the change-over of Alaska from Russia to the United States in 1867.
At the conclusion of the field trip, you will have some free time in Sitka on your own. Most points of interest are within walking distance of each other.
We then regroup and continue our experience of life in Sitka to see native Tlingit NaKaHidi dancers performing traditional dances and songs, some thousands of years old. The dance is performed in a traditional replica clan house, featuring beautiful Native Tlingit artwork. Afterward, the dancers in full regalia invite you to have your picture taken with them and chat informally.
| Lunch: ||We will have lunch during our field trip aboard the catamaran, typically sandwiches, salad, dessert, beverage.|
| Afternoon: ||This afternoon we board a 65-foot catamaran for a wildlife quest through Sitka Sound to look for sea otters, bald eagles, and other creatures. We will transit two beautiful, twisty narrow passageways on our way to Peril Strait.|
The boat will rendezvous with our ship near Peril Straits, 30 miles from Sitka. After boarding the vessel, we will meet the Captain and crew and have an orientation session as we get underway, then settle in.
Each evening aboard ship, there will be a social hour before dinner, an opportunity to recap the day’s activities, preview what happens tomorrow, get to know your fellow participants better and make new Road Scholar friends, and see amazing scenery. As a tasty treat, enjoy complimentary hors d‘oeuvres as well as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; other beverages available for purchase.
On some evenings, there will be a presentation for the group after dinner. It might be a narrated slide presentation, a talk, an opportunity for questions and answers, or just a good story. The ship’s public address system allows participants to hear programs in the forward lounge (where most of our onboard programming occurs) or in the comfort of staterooms.
| Dinner: ||Social hour before dinner. In the pleasant dining room, enjoy meals prepared by professionally trained chefs using fresh, organic, and locally produced foods. Menus change daily, usually including a seafood or meat entrée.|
| Evening: ||A member of the Road Scholar staff will provide an overview of tomorrow’s activities in Juneau and at Orca Point Lodge.|