Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness
with Pedro Marenco, Assistant Professor of Geology
June 29 - July 6, 2014
The coast of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia is a majestic maze of fjords, channels, rivers and glaciers gliding towards the sea — ideally suited for small ship cruising that enables our travelers to experience an up-close and personal style of adventure travel. This part of Alaska is an impossibly pristine land where you can see the effects of glaciers advancing and retreating. The size of Linblad's ships allow us to get in close — into the small coves and inlets where larger cruise ships can never go and where the real Alaska is.
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Our journey will enable you to experience Alaska at eye level: in a kayak; walking through the primeval forest and whale watching from the decks of our cruise ship. On our journey you can wake to the cry of an eagle soaring, watch tons of ice thunder from the face of a glacier and observe lunge-feeding whales. Linblad's journey will allow you to enjoy Zodiac and kayaking forays and whale watching while learning about Alaska's rich Native American Heritage. The technology aboard their ship will allow the expedition team to lower the onboard hydrophone to capture the communication being exchanged by the very whales you maybe watching. You can then watch also via footage from the underwater bow cam -- mounted to the front of the ship and streaming video images live to the plasma televisions in the lounge.
Chances are, the word “Alaska” conjures up many things for you. This journey will make sure that you experience all that an Alaska expedition has to offer.
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Note: Linblad Expeditions is authorized to operate in the Tongass National Forrest under a Forest Service special use permit, enable our tip to take you hiking and kayaking in wild and remote areas of Southeast Alaska that are otherwise off limits.
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Day 1: Seattle/ Sitka/ Embark
Fly from Seattle to Sitka. Visit onion-domed St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral, discover the grand totems that line the wooded trail through Sitka National Historic Park and explore the Raptor Rehabilitation Center. There is time to explore Sitka on your own before embarking our ship in the late afternoon. (D)
Day 2: Alaska's Islands, Bays and Fjords
Hike or cruise island coastlines in an area with the world's highest density of nesting bald eagles. In the spring and early summer the landscape is often colored by wildflowers – silverweed, chocolate lily, nagoonberry and cow parsnip, to name a few. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Point Adolphus/Inian Pass
Hike, Kayak and search for whales near Point Aldolphus, consistently one of the favored summer feeding areas for humpback whales. And, in the afternoon, cruise to Inian Pass, where playful sea otters reside. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Glacier Bay National Park
Spend the day in Glacier Bay, where enormous glaciers flow from ice fields far above. Some glaciers end abruptly at the water's edge, and create an opportunity to see and hear them calving as tons of ice crash into the sea. Look for gravity-defying humpback and orca whales. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Frederick Sound and Chatham Straight
These waters a prime for sighting whales- it's not uncommon to see groups of up to 30 humpback or killer whales. With luck we'll get to observe some fascinating behavior, such as breaching, tail-slapping and variations on feeding. Look for Steller's sea lions hauled out and dozing on the rocky islands. Later, there will be time to hike or kayak for up close exploration. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Petersburg
Humpback whales blowing their spouts in the morning light are often spotted as we head toward Le Conte Bay, a virtual sculpture garden of grounded icebergs. Around lunchtime we reach the small town of Petersburg on Mitkof Island and get an insight into the character of a true Alaskan town; Isolated yet connected by the spirit if community. There is an opportunity for optional flightseeing – a new perspective on the landscape we've approached from the water. (BLD)
Day 7: Tracy Arm
Enter Tracy Arm, a 22-mile-long fjord with many waterfalls cascading from its high glacially-carved walls. We meander among the icebergs, looking for black bears feeding along the shore-line and mountain goats scaling the steep granite cliffs high above. See the stunning Sawyer and South Sawyer glaciers. Zodiac for an eye-level view of sculpted icebergs. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Juneau, Alaska/Embark
Disembark in Juneau, Alaska's state capital. Visit the imposing Mendenhall Glacier and the Alaska State Museum, an excellent exhibit on Alaska's natural history and cultures. There is time to explore Juneau on your own before flying back to Seattle (B)
Cost and program Inclusions
Land only starting at $6290
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The rates include all accommodations aboard ship; all meals; non-alcoholic beverages aboard ship; shore excursions and sightseeing; local transportation to/from sites of interest; entrance fees; tips (except to ship's crew) and services of Linblad Expeditions' natural history staff.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; airfare and baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; gratuities to the crew; alcoholic beverages and items of a personal nature
Professor Pedro Marenco's research involves the interplay between past environments and life. Specifically, he has studied how extreme environmental change has affected mass extinctions in the fossil record. He also studies how ecological changes have affected the distribution in space and time of structures known as stromatolites that are built by microbial communities. Such rock structures were prevalent before animals evolved but today are only found in certain environments.
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Marenco teaches Evolution, Paleobiology, and Earth History. The Galapagos are an important part of the history of evolutionary thought and he dedicates a fair amount of time discussing Darwin's experiences on the islands as well as more recent and ongoing work. Marenco looks forward to the opportunity to share a geologist's perspective on the natural history of these important islands.
National Geographic Sea Lion
Linblad's twin expedition ships, National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion, can reach places inaccessible to larger ships due to their small size, yet each comfortably accommodates 62 guests in 31 outside cabins. All cabins face outwards with windows, private facilities and individual climate control.
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Thanks to Linblad's 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 our Bryn Mawr Faculty Lecturer or Linblad's naturalists into the rain forest or walk easily along a sandy dune.
The Public Areas of the ships include 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, and LEXspa. Linblad's "Open Bridge" policy provides guests and opportunity to meet their Officers and Captain and learn about navigation.
All meals are served in single a seating 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.
Linblad's state of the art Expedition Equipment includes: Bow Camera, hydrophone, kayaks, snorkeling gear, Splash-Cam, underwater video camera, video microscope and, Zodiac landing craft. Special Features: Guest internet access, Wellness Program and LEXmarket. A Video Chronicler onboard all voyages.