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Alaskan Wilds

by Lori Eastes
Alaskan Wilds
Photo by Jesse Orrico

Discover the pure beauty and spectacular scenery that surrounds the ice-blue waters of Alaska. Best experienced by yacht, the vast opportunities of Alaska await you as the remote and rugged landscapes give way to some of the most unique cruising grounds in the world. Voyage with this handpicked itinerary of stellar sights to the ultimate northern escape and untouched reaches of this spotlight destination.

An easily accessible starting point for your journey, Juneau—the capital of Alaska, is surrounded by natural beauty. Located nearby are the Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm fjords and the most famous of Juneau’s ice floes: the Mendenhall Glacier. Take the cable car 1,750 feet from the cruise ship docks to the timberline of Mt. Roberts. Admire the marvelous scenery along the way, a unique paradise with an unexpected blend of beautiful scenery and historical significance as this is is also the site of the country’s first major gold strike in 1880. It is still a favorite destination among adventure travelers, and nowhere is the awe-inspiring wilderness setting so breathtaking.

Located at the base of Sumdum Glacier, Holkham Bay offers a peaceful location to anchor. Hop in the tender for an up-close view of the ice blue glacier. Cruise further north into Tracy Arm, a quintessential Alaskan destination. Here you can relax, kayak through the jade-colored sea, go crabbing, and enjoy spectacular views of Dawes Glacier. If you are lucky enough to experience clear skies, watch the northern lights dance across the atmosphere above.

Continue your journey through Stephens Passage to Pybus Bay. Known as a photographer’s paradise, you’ll experience stunning views and picturesque landscapes. Located in the heart of Alaska’s Inside Passage, the spot is active with marine life. Be sure to keep an eye out for the humpback and killer whales that frequent the area. Daylight hours can extend up to 18 hours at summer’s peak, allowing for longer days to enjoy fishing, crabbing, or kayaking.

Spend the day enjoying some of the world’s most serene anchorages in this beloved bay. Enjoy kayaking through the small coves and inlets of Security Bay, located on the north end of Kuiu Island overlooking the Frederick Sound and Catham Strait. You can expect to observe plenty of local wildlife, including brown bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, migratory waterfowl, and shorebirds. This bay is a popular spot for Dungeness crab harvesting, so take the tender out and spend the afternoon crabbing. Your chef can create a unique dinner menu to pair with your delicious catch of the day.

No Alaskan vacation would be complete without a visit to Cascade Bay, which is home to the largest waterfall in the Prince William Sound that plunges an impressive 170 feet into the bay. This treasured destination creates an unbridled experience for all who visit: look for jellyfish floating in the freshwater below you; gaze over Eaglek Bay to watch wildlife fly, swim, and saunter in the distance; and let the melodic sound of the rushing water lull you to sleep at the end of the day.

As you cruise north along Chatham Strait, the summer feeding grounds for orcas and hundreds of humpback whales that travel both in groups and alone, you’ll often see the impressive collective feeding behavior called bubble-netting. (It is likely that you will observe it very, very close to the yacht, too!) You’ll be amazed at the explosive bang created when whales crash back into the water following a breach or leap into the air. Prepare to anchor in Tenakee Inlet, a majestic anchorage steeped in history. The small community will welcome you with open arms, sharing their history and culture.

In the heart of Freshwater Bay, you’ll be surrounded by mountainous terrain and pristine glistening water. This destination is a marvel for geologists as the surrounding rocks comprised of limestone tower well over 1,000 feet tall. Kayak to the northeast side of the bay where you’ll be greeted by dark glimmering rock formations that were once lava flows, a fitting final image to stamp in your memory bank as you return home.

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