See Margerie Glacier

Photograph the Fjords of Glacier Bay

Spot & Photo Iconic Alaskan Wildlife

Capture Wildlife & Spectacular Landscapes in Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier tours in Alaska are famous for a reason. Glacier Bay National Park is a paradise of tidewater glaciers, fjords, and wildlife. This 8-day and 7-night expedition combines the finest in southeast Alaskan photo destinations along with cultural travel. Your itinerary comes to life as you travel with our local certified naturalists and professional photographers.

Trip Details

Trip Details

Price

$6,499 per person



Meeting point

We will collect you from your Sitka lodging.


Availability

  • August 20-27, 2021
  • August 19-26, 2022

Duration

8 days, 7 nights


Group size

Maximum 6 people


Included

  • Round-trip boat transportation from Sitka to Glacier Bay.
  • Accommodation in Alaskan lodges.
  • All meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Airport transfers to accommodations in Sitka.
  • Personal mentoring and instruction from our photography experts.
  • Detailed booklets for the wildlife we often see on this tour.
  • Access to coast-guard recommended marine binoculars for all guests while onboard.

Not included

  • Airfare to and from Sitka
  • Meals before the welcome dinner on day one and meals after breakfast on day 8
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Souvenirs
  • Staff gratuities
  • City and Borough of Sitka sales tax

Participation requirements

  • Suitable for ages 15 years and over.
  • Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

What to bring

Photography Equipment

  • MEMORY CARDS – You’ll want to have plenty of these, ideally enough that you won’t have to format any while in the field. Don’t forget a card reader!
  • PLUG ADAPTERS- If you are traveling internationally, you will likely need adapters for your plugs.
  • LENS CLEANING CLOTH
  • CAMERA RAIN COVER
  • BACKPACK – You’ll want a comfortable camera backpack for carrying all of your gear.
  • CAMERA MANUAL- Bring the manual for your camera! TIP: get the PDF and store it on your smartphone.
  • BOOTS/SHOES – Sturdy, broken-in, waterproof, calf-high, rubber-soled boots.
  • STURDY TRIPOD – A tripod on the boat is not recommended, however, you may want one during our land expeditions. Be sure you also have adjustment tools, if needed.
  • BALLHEAD AND CAMERA/LENS PLATES – You’ll need ballhead plates for all of your various cameras and telephoto lenses (with collars), as well as the tools required to install and remove them.
  • CAMERA STRAP(S)
  • TWO CAMERA BODIES WHEN POSSIBLE – Brand does not matter. Why two? In case of accidental damage or electronic failure, you will have a back-up. With an additional set-up ready to go, you can quickly adjust if the action is at a different range than expected.
  • BATTERIES – Bring plenty of batteries for your cameras and chargers as well. Our boat is equipped with USB outlets and 110 AC outlets. You may want to bring a power bank to recharge your batteries.
  • LENSES – For most landscape and wildlife expeditions, a wide-angle zoom (16-35, 17-35, 17-40), a general-purpose zoom (like 24-70 or 24-105), and a medium telephoto zoom (like 70-200) are just perfect. Canon, Sony, and Fuji all make 100-400mm lenses that are great for wildlife. It’s acceptable to use the Sigma or Tamron 150-600 lens as well.

Clothing

  • RAIN JACKET, BEANIE, NECK GAITER, GLOVES – You will need at least a light rain jacket, a beanie, a neck gaiter, and 2 pairs of gloves.
  • WATERPROOF BOOTS OR OVERSHOES – Sometimes you want to stand in a tidepool or stream. We recommend a rubber boot that comes up to mid-calf. In southeast Alaska, XtraTuf boots are a famous brand. Locals call them “Sitka sneakers”.
  • FILTERS – You may consider bringing a circular polarizer (for cutting reflections) and a few ND filters (for long exposures).
  • SUNSCREEN & BUG REPELLENT – Because you never know.
  • WIDE BRIM WATERPROOF HAT – To ward off the sun and help you to see the camera LCD.
  • SPECIALTY LENSES AND CAMERAS – You may want to bring macro, tilt-shift, extreme, and wide-angle lenses. Go Pros or similar action cameras.
  • POCKET KNIFE/LEATHERMAN/RRS MULTI-TOOL – Be sure you don’t leave it in hand luggage on the plane!
  • SENSOR CLEANING SUPPLIES – Sensor cleaning swabs and fluid and a bulb blower.

About your guide

  • 1 US Coast Guard 25GT masters licensed captain
  • 2 certified naturalists/photography experts

Highlights

See the iconic Margerie Glacier, a long tidewater glacier, in GBNP.

Visit a bear island, an old gold mine, & explore the rocky islands in West Chichagof.

Cruise through Cross Sound & explore the quaint villages of Pelican and Elfin Cove.

Discover the whale-abundant waters of the Inan Islands, Pt. Adolphus, & the Icy Strait.

Trek through idyllic landscapes & learn about flora & fauna in GBNP & Gustavus.

Itinerary

Note: Itinerary information is subject to change without notice based on navigating conditions.

Forest in Glacier Bay National Park.

Friday – After your flight into Sitka’s Rocky Gutierrez Airport, your shuttle driver will bring you to our host hotel. We will convene for a welcome dinner after which, we will board our vessel, Cat Daddy, for a brief safety and information orientation and then head off for a sunset photography cruise into the beautiful Sitka Sound.

The Tongass rainforest.

Saturday – After an early breakfast, we will be casting off and heading through the Olga and Neva Straits into Salisbury Sound and then, cruising briefly up the outside coast. We will then cut back inshore through the notorious Piehle Passage and into the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area, zigzagging our way towards Klag Bay.

We will have lunch on board, passing hundreds of small craggy islands and beautiful rock formations. Once at Klag Bay, you will have the opportunity to go ashore onto the most densely populated brown bear island in the world and the USA’s 5th largest island, Chichagof Island. We will explore the remains of one of the oldest gold mines in southeast Alaska. Once back on board, we cruise into the Lisianski Inlet along the shores of Yakobi Island and on to the charming boardwalk town of Elfin Cove for two nights lodging and meals.

Glaciers in glacier bay

Sunday – Today, we focus on tidewater glaciers, icebergs, and marine life in Glacier Bay National Park. The park features rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, and deep sheltered fjords; the highlight of our trip. From sea to summit, GBNP offers limitless opportunities for inspiration and beautiful photographs. This park encompasses some of our continent’s most fantastic scenery and wildness.

Elkin cove in Glacier Bay.

Monday – After a few days of an ambitious schedule, you can have a leisurely morning to relax early and have a photo review after lunch. Or, if you are feeling ambitious and want to experience some of the best sport fishing in the world, and for an additional fee, you can head out on a guided tour with the resort staff. Otherwise, you are on your own to explore the quaint village of Gustavus. After dinner, we head to Pelican, a charming village where we can search the many coves and bays attached to Cross Sound along the way.

People look at volcano.

Tuesday – We set out before sunrise and head out for a full day of investigating the whale-abundant waters surrounding the Inan islands, Icy Strait, and Pt. Adolphus. As the day winds down, we will make our way to Gustavus, “The gateway community of Glacier Bay National Park” and to the beautiful accommodation of the Annie Mae Lodge.

A bird on a rocky beach.

Wednesday – Today, we split our day to take advantage of the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. A local Gustavus resident, professional photographer and naturalist Sean Neilson, will lead our group as we set out photographing tidepool life, the Tlingit Tribal House, and Xunaa Shuká Hít—roughly translated as “Huna Ancestor’s House.” We will also take a short hike on the Forest Loop Trail and visit Placid Lake, where moose, black bear, birds, and porcupines are frequent photo subjects.

A sea otter on a glacier.

Thursday – We bid farewell to Gustavus and start our venture south to visit another classic southeast fishing town, Tenakee Springs. Here we will spend time onshore exploring this charismatic village. Along the way, we will travel through the whale-abundant waters of Icy Strait. After we visit Tenakee Springs, we will set a course that will take us through the marine-life-rich waters of Chatham Strait, Hoonah Sound, Sergius Narrows, and back to our home port of Sitka.

A sea otter relaxes in the water.

Friday – We will have a farewell breakfast and then you are free to explore the many cultural and picturesque locations in Alaska’s first capital city. Stroll through America’s first National Historical Park and photograph the 30 plus totems and visit the site of the Battle of Sitka. Several old Russian cemeteries overgrown, timeworn, and very photogenic are within easy walking distance from your hotel.

The Sheldon Jackson Museum(opens in a new tab) is what we consider to be the best museum in the state. There are plenty of other great locations to take photos that are easily accessible to visitors. We can arrange a specially priced 4-hour marine photo tour to some of the fantastic sites around Sitka Sound and Kruzof Island. Or, if your time is limited, catch the lodge shuttle and head to the airport filled with unforgettable memories and images.

Good to Know


We will email you three days before your expedition begins with the most up-to-date weather and sea condition forecast.

Statistically, in August, the highs average 62F and low temperatures average 49F with half the days of the month experiencing rain. After all, we are exploring the Tongass, the largest temperate rainforest in the world.

The single best way to get the most from your expedition is to be comfortable with your camera before the trip, see our expedition guide for more details .

Unfortunately, our vessel is not wheelchair accessible.

Features of our vessel:

  • A spacious heated cabin
  • Deluxe comfortable seats for all guests
  • Restroom equipped
  • Large wrap-around windows for unobstructed viewing
  • Expansive deck space for multiple perspectives
  • Great stability to ensure safety and comfort

Smoking and the consumption of alcohol or any illegal drug while aboard is prohibited.

If the captain determines that you may be under the influence or may pose a hazard to yourself, the vessel, the crew, or other guests you will not be permitted to board, and no refund will be given.

Frequently Asked Questions


Our expedition leaders are not only photographers but also resident naturalists who will passionately introduce you to each unique destination and provide you with the experience of a lifetime. Our professionals have an intimate knowledge of the wildlife, geography, and the ability to share our region’s culture and flavor. They are committed to sharing each of these with you and making sure you enjoy yourself and get the most out of each day. They will allow you to view the region in a way you may not have seen on your own by discussing the natural history, cultural changes, and wildlife behaviors and characteristics.

Anyone interested in photography, regardless of age, skill level, or equipment. Bring a sense of adventure and an eagerness to learn to make this trip successful. Note: Guests under the age of 18 need to be accompanied by an adult.

We draw from many years of experience photographing and traveling throughout our region, ensuring that you will enjoy an exciting, finely tuned photographic expedition that allows you to capture outstanding photographic images. In-depth knowledge of our destinations and local cultures places you in the best location at the best time. Many of our clients are repeat guests. If you are joining one of our expeditions for the first time, you will find out why they keep returning after your first journey.

Our expeditions are not workshops. They are, however, expeditions of discovery that take you to inspirational photographic locations with ample opportunities for informal, hands-on learning. The learning takes place through personal mentoring opportunities, meal table discussions, spontaneous demonstrations, and while photographing in the field. Each photo pro has his or her own unique philosophy and style. They will help you see the world with new eyes and create images that reflect your unique experience.

This expedition is not physically strenuous but requires a decent level of physical fitness. While our vessel is a very stable platform, you will be spending time on the deck of a boat with sea conditions that might vary from dead calm to a bit turbulent. We will also have several opportunities to go ashore in some very remote areas by way of our drop bow or small landing craft.

The terrestrial part of your expedition will be on-foot along rocky flat-terrain beaches and into intertidal waters. We will trek along narrow game trails as well as wide ADA-approved trails. To take advantage of the best light, we will have long days on the boat and in the field. Most days, we will start in the early morning lasting into the late afternoon, and have several evening outings. Each participant is required to carry his or her photo equipment. If you have physical limitations, please contact our office to discuss accommodations and viability.

Non-photographing guests are more than welcome if they are patient and happy to linger at locations. Often non-photographers will see much more than a casual traveler.

Group size is limited to 6 participants. We keep groups small to maximize your one-on-one time with our pros. Our spacious boat and small groups allow each photographer the space to maneuver on the vessel and ensure the fantastic Alaskan imagery they came to capture!

After booking your expedition, we will send you a questionnaire inquiring about, among other things: preferences, photography experience, expedition goals, and dietary restrictions. We will provide you with extensive departure materials that will thoroughly prepare you for your journey.

Our photography pros will prepare you with the suggested photo gear for your expedition. When you book your expedition, we will send you a complete list of suggested gear. We will contact each participant to answer any questions before the expedition to prepare you as best possible.

Remember that some of the most dramatic lightning occurs before and after storm periods. Unfortunately, we cannot predict what the weather will be like on your expedition. Weather predictions seem to be a bit tricky in southeast Alaska as the forecast can change from day to day, and as we all know, a forecast is the best guess. We have come to rely on www.wunderground.com, and we use the Windy app for wind and sea forecasting. Statistically, in August, the highs average 62F and low temperatures average 49F. With half the days of the month experiencing rain. After all, we are exploring the Tongass, the largest temperate rainforest in the world. A Whale’s Song Expeditions will send you a suggested packing list after booking in your expedition guide.

Itinerary information is subject to change without notice based on navigating conditions.

The welcome dinner on day 1, and all meals and snacks are included for the duration of the expedition. Meals before the day one welcome dinner and after the day eight breakfast will NOT be included. We typically eat at our lodges or select restaurants for breakfast and the evening meal, while most lunches will be onboard. A variety of snacks are provided onboard.

When you book your expedition, a participant profile form will be sent for you to complete that will include dietary requests. We will honor all dietary requests.

Each guest is different, and this amount could range from $200-$400, depending on your spending habits. You need to consider meals that are not included, alcoholic beverages, and tips for your crew and lodge attendants that work hard to make this a trip of a lifetime for our guests!

This is a small-group style of travel with excellent service from locally-owned lodges, restaurants, and transportation companies. Your accommodations reflect each destination’s unique characteristics.

Please note; none of the accommodations have elevators, and you need to handle your luggage and equipment. Our clients’ safety and health are paramount and that of our partners throughout this experience.

  • Air transportation to and from Sitka.
  • Accommodations before or after the trip dates.
  • Meals before the welcome dinner on day one and meals after breakfast on day 8.
  • Alcoholic beverages, souvenirs, and gratuities.

You can feel good knowing you are joining an industry leader in responsible tourism. A Whale’s Song Expeditions is the only company in Alaska awarded with a Responsible Whale Watching Certificate by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA). This certification is awarded to whale and dolphin watching companies that operate to the highest care standards for local wildlife, sustainability, and customer experience.

Based on the WCA Global Guidelines, this certification is the only international label for whale watching companies developed by the industry for the industry. We also partner with NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s organization called Whale SENSE, which promotes additional guidelines for watching whales above and beyond the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

A Whale’s Song Expeditions proudly dedicates 5% of our profits to the local, non-profit organization the Alaska Raptor Center & the Alaska Whale Foundation.

We do all we can to reduce the impact our expeditions have on our precious southeast Alaskan environment. We limit single-use products, use rechargeable batteries, LED lighting, and a state-of-the-art, high-efficiency diesel furnace that provides cabin heat.

Additionally, we limit the number of plastics used and often detour our course to remove plastic or trash from the sea. We provide our guests with personal insulated beverage cups and never use bottled water. We also use very new high-performance outboard motors that are incredibly fuel-efficient to power our vessel.

Due to the pandemic, A Whale’s Song Expeditions is constantly assessing safety requirements for our clients. We will keep clients informed before departure with the latest information and state and local health mandates. A Whale’s Song Expeditions will notify you of all safety requirements before travel and during your expedition. We pride ourselves on our communication with our clients.

Further information will be sent to our clients before the start of the expedition, which includes information about: face coverings, hand sanitizer, temperature checks, physical distancing, the health and safety protocols of flying, lodges, transportation, meals, and itinerary adjustments as needed due to local events. Travel comes with inherent risks, whether it be around the world or across town. Each person acknowledges the risk of possible contact with illness or disease, as everyone has always done when traveling. We will all work together to keep everyone informed and prepared while enjoying travel. We hope that this relieves many of your concerns about being a guest on our expedition. Feel free to contact our office if you need more specific information about this expedition.

On this expedition, we are surrounded by the largest temperate rainforest in the world. So rain gear is a good thing to have on hand, especially with how frequently weather folks are incorrect around here. Dress in layers since it’s always colder on the water and you can adjust accordingly. Ankle-high rubber boots are useful in case a jellyfish flash mob breaks out! But you will need these boots for going ashore in remote areas as well as tide pool photography. A popular type of boot here in SE AK is the Xtra Tuff brand.

During this unprecedented period, we are all adjusting to daily life and business. A Whale’s Song Expeditions has made the following alterations to our standard deposits, cancellations, and refunds policy to make your expedition decision less stressful and more flexible.

POLICY FOR DEPOSITS, CANCELLATIONS, AND REFUNDS FOR THIS EXPEDITION:

  • A deposit of $2500 per person is required.
  • Payments in full are required for all bookings made after May 1, 2021.
    Final payments are due May 1, 2021.

If a passenger wishes to cancel, they must send a notification in writing via the contact form. At the time we receive your message, the following per person charges apply:

  • Before May 1, 2021, you will incur a $50 processing fee.
  • Between May 1, 2021, and June 20, 2021: $500 minimum cancellation fee, plus fees charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your expedition. These additional costs may range from 25% to 50% of expedition costs.
  • From June 21, 2020, due to our commitments to our suppliers there will be NO REFUND to any time up to or after departure.

A Whale’s Song Expeditions cannot make refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

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