18780
Alaska/British Columbia
Remarkable Alaska, British Columbia & Haida Gwaii
Go off the beaten path to discover cultural and natural wonders, exploring Glacier Bay, learning the story of the Haida people and enjoying a crab feast in “Alaska’s Little Norway.”
Rating (5)
Program No. 18780RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
11,295
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17 days
16 nights
46 meals
16 B 14 L 16 D
DAY
1
Arrivals Seattle, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Seattle, WA
D
Hyatt Place Seattle

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table – location can be found on signage in the lobby – to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet. This will include your up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: In our private meeting space at the hotel, we’ll enjoy our meal--- including a salad, entrée, vegetable, starch, and dessert plus coffee, tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes. We will also discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Expedition-style Road Scholar Afloat programs utilize ships that are more rugged than traditional sailing vessels. Designed to venture into remote landscapes, they enable us to seek opportunities for getting up close to nature and wildlife. These educational adventures have flexible schedules. The itinerary may change daily based on weather, sailing conditions, and potential wildlife sightings. There may also be serendipitous occasions to experience something unexpected. The ship’s educational staff includes experts with knowledge related to the program theme who will lead field trips and give presentations. The schedule that follows is tentative and a representative outline. Changes in the schedule, including ports of call, can be expected due to weather and other local conditions. Updates will be provided aboard ship. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of the many activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program. “Free Time” and “At Leisure” indicate when you can choose to do what you like and make your experience as personally meaningful, rewarding, and memorable as possible. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and embarkation tomorrow.

DAY
2
MOHAI, Explore Pike Place Market, Embarkation
At Sea
B,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile, approx. 1 hour, on city streets during group activities; periods of standing.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a breakfast buffet including items such as an egg dish, breakfast meats and breads/potatoes. There will also be a variety of hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: We’ll meet in the hotel lobby before setting out with our Group Leader for Seattle's Museum of History & Industry where you'll have some time for self-directed exploration. Afterwards, via shuttle, we'll go to Pike Place Market, Seattle's 9-acre market and one of the country’s oldest farmers markets. Taste what’s in season at a farm stand, see the fish mongers at work, peruse the creative goods in the crafts market, and find treasures in the small shops. After lunch, enjoy some time for independent exploration.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost. You are free to explore and to enjoy what you like at Pike Place. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Continue spending some time on your own before meeting at a predetermined time and place to return to the hotel for transfer to the ship. The ship is scheduled for embarkation at 5:00 p.m. Before setting off for the pier, we'll hop onboard our mini-coach for an exploration of Seattle with commentary provided by a local expert. Once aboard the ship, you'll have time to find your cabin, unpack and settle in.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, we’ll enjoy plated meals featuring fresh and delicious food sourced from local suppliers who practice sustainable techniques whenever possible. Meals aboard are typically served in the dining room, with some meals served on the sundeck when weather permits.

Evening: The ship's staff will provide a safety drill as well as discuss tomorrow's schedule and provide some background information on the areas you will be seeing.

DAY
3
Gulf Islands – British Columbia, Wildlife Watch
Gulf Islands
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Breakfast: Aboard the ship, enjoy selections from the breakfast buffet.

Morning: As we sail through the Salish Sea, which includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound, keep an eye out for orcas. These whales, also known as killer whales, populate the waters of the Salish Sea and show predominately in the artifacts of the local indigenous people. The waterways of the Salish Sea were important trade routes for the indigenous tribes of the Salish Coast and they remain a source of food and other resources for these peoples even today.

Lunch: Aboard ship, we’ll have a buffet lunch.

Afternoon: We'll continue our travels around the forested islands in the Salish Sea. Enjoy the fresh air as we watch for seabirds and slumbering colonies of sea lions. The expedition staff will help with sightings and discuss points of interest. Their expertise in marine and terrestrial biology, botany, geology and more will help us better understand the relationships between the land, water and early people of this area. The staff photographer can also provide tips on taking photos of the islands and wildlife we are viewing.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Johnstone Strait, Alert Bay – B.C., U'Mista Cultural Center
Alert Bay
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Walking about ½ mile total throughout the day; paved road. The drive from the cultural center to the boat is no more than 5 minutes.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We'll head to the Johnstone Strait, one of the foremost viewing areas for orca whales in the entire Northern Hemisphere. As many as 19 whale pods are known to spend part of the year here. This should present an excellent chance for exciting whale watching opportunities.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Once docked in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, we'll make our way on foot to the U'Mista Cultural Center, home to a stunning collection of potlatch masks created by the Kwakwaka'wakw people. At the cultural center, anyone related to any member of this tribe is able to trace their ancestry. The naturalists and tribal members will then lead us to the Big House where the T'sasala Cultural Group will perform a traditional dance for us. We’ll then return to the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Recap the day’s adventures and attend a presentation by ship staff.

DAY
5
Inside Passage of British Columbia
Inside Passge
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Walking about ½ mile; approximately ½ hour; uneven, forested paths. We’ll take an expedition landing craft to shore.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Continue northward looking for whales, dolphins, bears, deer and other wildlife. This is an area where vast sections of untouched coastal rainforest still exist — and where an expedition ship proves to be the perfect vessel. As we travel along, onboard naturalists will provide a lecture on the local environment.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: While staying open to spontaneity and adventure, we'll rove freely within the near-limitless expanse of pristine wildness — to explore an intriguing bay or inlet we happen upon, or reverse course to follow a sighted whale pod; the small ship allows this freedom. Wherever the ship chooses to stop and explore, we are certain to be the only human life, accompanied by spectacular birds and animals. In such a populated and busy world, these opportunities are tonic for the mind, body and soul. Possible activities for those who may wish to take part include some ½ mile hikes led by the onboard naturalists.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: We’ll have a recap of the day’s activities together. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

DAY
6
Inside Passage of British Columbia
Inside Passge
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Walking about ½ mile on uneven rock and/or dirt paths. Getting in/out of kayaks and/or expedition landing watercraft; assistance provided as needed. Distance kayaked solo or in pairs depends on personal preference.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Continue northward along the untouched coastline looking for whales, dolphins, bears, deer and other wildlife. Our onboard staff will provide educational presentations and discussions along the way.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: As weather permits we will go ashore to hike, kayak, and explore by expedition landing craft the many bays and inlets in the area. You may choose which you would like to do and, depending on how long you decide to spend on one activity, you may be able to enjoy more than one.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: The evening will include a presentation by one of the ships many experts on topics such as natural history, geology, or photography. Road Scholar staff will be on hand to discuss life in Alaska.

DAY
7
Haida Gwaii, Heritage Center, Traditional Dance
Haida Gwaii
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Minimal walking at the Heritage Center.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: With respect for the natural world, we’ll explore the islands of Haida Gwaii with two Haida interpreters as they join us on a visit to the Haida Heritage Center at Kaay Llnagaay. We’ll arrive via motorcoach and, while here, we’ll learn about the incredible history of the Haida people and the meaning behind their totems and artwork.

Lunch: At the Haida Cultural Center, we’ll join in a traditional Haida buffet feast with juice and water included.

Afternoon: Afterwards, we’ll attend a traditional Haida dance performance, then take time after to meet community members and Haida artists. We’ll then transfer back to the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Following our recap of the day's adventures the rest of the evening will be at leisure.

DAY
8
Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve
Haida Gwaii
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile with many stops to view various sites; uneven rock and/or dirt paths. Getting in/out of kayaks and/or expedition landing watercraft; assistance provided as needed.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will take an expedition landing craft to the beach, which is within walking distance from the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. Upon arrival, we’ll explore the facilities and learn from our onboard naturalists about the Parks Canada program that is responsible for marine area management and sustainability. They will also discuss the protection of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the conservation area. We’ll then return to the ship.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Gwaii Haanas protects an archipelago of 138 islands, the largest being Moresby Island and the southernmost being Kunghit Island. This afternoon we continue our exploration of this archipelago from aboard the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: The staff will give a presentation on the Haida Gwaii area.

DAY
9
Haida Gwaii, Boating, Ancient Totems
Haida Gwaii
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile with many stops to view various sites; dirt and/or rock paths through the forest. Getting in/out of kayaks and/or expedition landing watercraft; assistance provided as needed. Kayaking distance depends on personal preference.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Kayak or take expedition landing craft around the incredibly biodiverse islands, where black bears are the largest in the world and other endemic species thrive.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We will then take expedition landing craft and land on the beach within walking distance from the ancient totems at Ninstints. The English name for SG'ang Gwaay Llnagaay is "Red Cod Island Village,” a village site of the Haida people and part of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. Our Haida interpreters will show us around and provide commentary whilst we explore. We’ll then return to the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Misty Fjords National Monument – Alaska
Misty Fjords
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Walking about ½ mile on dirt and/or rock paths through the forest. Getting in/out of kayaks and/or expedition landing watercraft; assistance provided as needed. Kayaking distance depends on personal preference.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Misty Fjords National Monument, often referred to as "Yosemite of the North" for its sheer majesty, is 2.3 million acres of pristine wilderness that are sure to leave one with exquisite memories of Alaska. Head out with staff on a personal kayak reconnaissance or take expedition landing craft to cruise beneath glacier-carved cliffs with saw-toothed tops.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue exploring some of the majestic land and wilderness within the Misty Fjord National Monument by expedition landing craft, kayaks, and shore hikes. Float past sheer cliffs and icy waterfalls, easily navigating in and out of areas larger ships can't get near.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: After the evening’s recap, onboard staff will provide a presentation with a story of the local peoples or discussion about life in Alaska.

DAY
11
Frederick Sound & Petersburg
Petersburg
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Choice 1: Walking about 1 mile on a dirt path. Getting in and out of expedition landing watercraft; assistance provided as needed. Choice 2: N/A. Choice 3: Getting in/out of kayaks; assistance provided as needed. Kayaking distance depends on personal preference.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will enjoy a choice of activities today. Each activity will be led by Road Scholar and/or ship staff. Choice 1: Land on shore for a walk along a quiet forest trail. Accompanied by a naturalist who is familiar with the dense and beautiful local terrain, you may choose from a longer route or a shorter, more relaxing one, through the hemlock and spruce in the old-growth forest. If you're a beachcomber, feel free to search the shoreline rich with treasures. Choice 2: Join the naturalist on deck to search for orcas, humpback whales and Steller sea lions. Choice 3: Kayaking through a variety of nearby environs. If you're looking for exercise and excitement, choose a more strenuous course. If you prefer scenery and relaxation, feel free to paddle slowly and explore little inlets. Either way, relish the quiet and the intimate view of the unique surroundings.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll then dock and visit the fishing village of Petersburg, known as "Alaska's Little Norway." The village was founded over 100 years ago by Norwegian fishermen. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Return to the ship.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, we’ll enjoy a special plated crab feast.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Tracy Arm - Ford's Terror Wilderness
Tray-Arm Ford Terror Wildnerness
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Getting in/out of expedition landing watercraft; assistance provided as needed.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Depending on ice and sea conditions, we’ll voyage into either Tracy or Endicott Arm. Both are spectacular fjords with waterfalls cascading from glacially carved walls. For a closer look, we’ll get into expedition landing crafts with our onboard naturalists.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Depending on the fjord we visit, we’ll see the soaring Dawes or South Sawyer Glacier up close aboard an expedition landing craft to cruise for an unbeatable view of sculpted icebergs. Expedition staff will be onboard to answer questions and will give us information about the glacier.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Glacier Bay National Park, Wildlife Watch
Glacier Bay
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: N/A

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Spend the entire day amidst the coves, fjords, tidewater glaciers, freshwater lakes and majestic mountains of Glacier Bay National Park. We’ll see glaciers that end abruptly at the water’s edge and observe them “calving” — tons of ice crashing into the sea — accompanied by an exhilaratingly thunderous sound. Some of the creatures we may observe in these icy waters include harbor seals and Steller's sea lions, as well as mountain goats that scale the nearby peaks. We may have the opportunity to see not only one, but two kinds of puffins: the tufted and the horned puffin. A visit to a Tidal Inlet may bring the sight of brown bears lumbering up the hillside. If the timing is right, a bear and her cub may be playing in the water. Watch their interactions, knowing the cub will be on its own next year.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue exploring Glacier Bay. Listen as the quiet stillness of the area is broken by the thunder of tons of ice calving into the sea. Also, continue searching for brown bears and mountain goats.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Recap the day’s adventures with staff and fellow participants.

DAY
14
Icy Strait, The Inian Islands
Icy Strait
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Shore hikes of less than ½ mile each; uneven forested paths. Getting in/out of expedition landing watercraft; assistance provided as needed.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We’ll spend the day cruising among the Inian Islands, where an abundance of Steller sea lions reside. With our ship staff, we’ll transfer via expedition landing boats to hike nearby islands, kayak, and search for whales in the rich waters of Icy Strait. Individuals may choose to do whichever activity is most appealing.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continuing to explore the Inian Islands, we’ll have more opportunities for shore hikes, kayaking in the beautiful waters along the shores of the islands, and exploring the area via expedition landing craft.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Visit with the ship staff and learn more about the areas we have visited. If you need some additional tips on those last few photos waiting to happen, ask the onboard photographer.

DAY
15
Southeast Alaska's Islands, Bays & Fjords
At Sea
B,L,D
National Geographic Sea Lion

Activity note: Hiking about ½ mile on dirt paths through the forest. Getting in/out of kayaks; assistance provided as needed. Kayaking distance depends on individual preference.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Climb in some kayaks to explore and hike the forested islands on our final day of exploration with our onboard naturalists who will provide commentary.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time. Take those last photos and enjoy the lush scenery on our last day at sea.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, we’ll enjoy a celebratory plated dinner as we discuss the adventures we've had over the past days.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for disembarkation and transfer in the morning.

DAY
16
Disembark, Raptor Center, Totem Park, Sitka, Farewell Dinner
Sitka
B,L,D
Westmark Hotel Sitka

Activity note: Disembarkation is approximately 9:30 a.m. Walking about ½ mile on paved paths and sidewalks.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We’ll check out and disembark, transferring via motorcoach to visit the Alaska Raptor Center. We will be led by Raptor Center staff and enjoy a short lecture before having the opportunity to wander around the Center as a group to see the variety of raptors that live there. Then, we’ll go on a field trip via motorcoach to Sitka National Historical Park, where we will have the opportunity to independently walk around the Totem Park, see the artifacts and visit the museum.

Lunch: Boxed lunches will be provided after the visit to the Sitka National Historical Park.

Afternoon: After dropping off our luggage at the hotel, the Group Leader will lead us around Sitka, visiting the Russian Bishop's House and St. Michael's Cathedral. Sitka's Russian heritage and history will be discussed along the way. We’ll then return to the hotel and enjoy time for rest/relaxation before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have our tasty farewell dinner with our fellow participants. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and water are included; other beverages available for purchase. Share your favorite memories from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
17
Program Concludes
Sitka, AK
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. The hotel will provide a free shuttle to the airport for departing flights.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a breakfast buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!