Alaska Adventure & Haida Gwaii
- 13 Days
- Sitka, United States - Vancouver, Canada
- Voyage code:
- Sylvia Earle
from AUD $12,296.25/pp Save 25%*
See 'Cabins & Prices' tab for discounted rates
Encounter iconic Alaskan wildlife around Chicagof Island. Sail along Tracy Arm towards the twin Sawyer Glaciers, keeping your eyes peeled for whales, harbour seals, and bears. Visit the Metlakatla Indian Community on Annette Island, and with special permission, we visit Haida Gwaii, where Haida locals welcome you to their community and share stories about their history and culture. Near Bella Coola, enjoy an exclusive Zodiac excursion in search of grizzly bears.
- Explore the estuaries and tide flats along the Dean River Channel, where grizzly bears are known to gather in their greatest numbers
- Spend three days in Haida Gwaii, where Haida residents share stories about their history and culture, and look for wildlife on Zodiac cruises or while hiking through lush temperate forest
- Explore the islands around Icy Strait for superb wildlife-viewing opportunities by Zodiac-cruising, kayaking or shoreline exploration while keeping watch for iconic wildlife such as orca, brown bears, Steller sea lions and countless birds
- Experience Tongass National Forest, the largest forest in the U.S covering most of southeast Alaska and encompassing famous wilderness areas such as Misty Fjords National Monument and Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness
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 Sitka
Arrive in Sitka and transfer to your 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: Westmark Hotel
Day 2 Sitka
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Sitka before transferring to the pier to embark the Sylvia Earle. 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.
Day 3 Elfin Cove, Icy Strait, Inian Islands
The islands along Icy Strait, such as Inian Island, Point Adolphus, Elfin Cove and George Island, offer some of the best Zodiac-cruising and kayaking experiences. Your expedition leader will draw on their experience to decide the best places to encounter iconic Alaskan wildlife, especially whales, Steller sea lions, sea otters, harbour seals, bald eagles and brown bears.
Day 4 Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier
Nestled at the base of towering mountains overlooking the Gastineau Channel, Juneau’s rich culture, and history is reflected throughout the town and its beautiful attractions. In Alaska’s scenic capital, we visit nearby Mendenhall Glacier, one of Alaska’s most famous glaciers. The glacier is 2.4 km / 1.5 miles wide and is fed by the Juneau Icefield, and ranks as the largest, most rugged glacier that is accessible by road in Alaska. Hike the trails near the glacier to enjoy panoramic views. Back in town, enjoy free time to explore and learn about Juneau’s local history and art with a visit to the newly-built Alaska State Museum.
Day 5 Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness
We explore Tracy Arm, featuring spectacular glaciers and wildlife-viewing opportunities. Flanked by colossal granite cliffs with snow-capped mountains in the distance, Zodiac-cruise or kayak among icebergs of tidewater glaciers in search of wildlife. At the end of the waterway are the main attractions: the twin Sawyer Glaciers, which calve regularly to create the icebergs floating in the fjord.
Day 6 Misty Fjords, Metlakatla
In Misty Fjords National Monument, affectionately called ‘The Yosemite of the North, sail along fjords flanked by towering granite cliffs where bald eagles soar, brown bears and black bears prowl the shoreline fishing for salmon’, and abundant marine mammals frolic and patrol the waters. Visit Walker Cove or Rudyerd Bay, soaking in the familiar scenery that Alaska is famous for, and perhaps Zodiac to shore for a hike or a paddle in the bay.
Day 7 Metlakatla, Prince Rupert Island
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, at Prince Rupert, we clear U.S customs for entry into Canada.
Days 8–10 Haida Gwaii
Sii.ngaay ’laa! Greetings and welcome! Over three days, your time in Haida Gwaii will be tailor-made by Haida locals who know the area like no-one else can. Mixing culture and history through storytelling, your local Haida guides will share their unique experiences with you on village walks, nature hikes, dance performance and wildlife-viewing excursions. At Naikoon Provincial Park, explore North Beach and hike Tow Hill. We visit the Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay, an award-winning Inuit cultural centre that celebrates the living culture of the Haida people with exhibits on history, wildlife and culture. Protected by Parks Canada and the Haida people who draw cultural inspiration from their ancestors, we plan to offer an optional excursion to Gwaii Haanas Natural Park Reserve, where cedar and Sitka spruce forests tower above the Haida people’s ancient carved poles and fallen longhouses. Here, bald eagles soar overhead, bears scavenge salmon on wild beaches and the ocean teems with whales, porpoises and sea lions.
As an expeditioner, your sense of adventure is your most prized possession. Be prepared to explore forests and cruise the coast searching for whales, bears, and sea lions. Visit traditional long-house villages and learn of the Haida’s struggle for independence.
Day 11 Dean River Channel, Kimsquit
We explore the estuaries and tide flats along the Dean River Channel, where some of highest numbers of grizzly bears are known to gather. In a wilderness area rarely visited by cruise ships, we enjoy a grizzly bear-viewing excursion by Zodiac. Exclusive to Aurora Expeditions, this is a bear-viewing experience not to be missed!
Day 12 Inside Passage
Sail British Columbia’s Inside Passage, navigating through straits and channels that are home to vast pods of orca. Enjoy splendid scenery featuring cascading waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, temperate forests, and abundant marine life.
Day 13 Vancouver
Disembark in Vancouver 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
From AUD $1,200.00/pp
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
Please return the kayaking form 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
From AUD $1,300.00/pp
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 we’ve 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 scuba 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
From AUD $800.00/pp
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 guides have over 20 years experience and provide snorkellers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe snorkelling 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.
View more details
From AUD $550.00/pp
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 three to eight 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
Complete and return the relevant activity form at time of booking. For safety reasons, we limit our group size to a maximum of only eight paddle boarders per voyage, so we recommend reserving your place early.
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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 28th May 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.