Alaska Wildlife: Eagle and Whales Aboard Luxury Yacht Alaskan Story
April 2–9, 2023
Did you know that the majority of the land in Southeast Alaska lies within 3 miles of some of the most jaw-dropping coastline in North America? There is such an intimate relationship between land and sea in this region that the best way to see these magnificent waterways is by our private yacht.
Bald eagles—some 25% of the world’s total—fish for salmon and herring along Southeast’s waterways. Bears too, growing unusually large here on the local bounty. Humpback whales travel thousands of miles from their breeding grounds to feed in Southeast’s nutrient-rich waters, and killer whales, porpoise, and otters are resident. Nearly every living thing in Southeast Alaska depends in some way—directly or indirectly—on its waterways.
Aboard the Alaskan Story, you’ll be exploring the islands, waterways, and quiet natural harbors around Sitka and through to Juneau. We have scheduled our workshop for the springtime, historically the best time of year to see spawning herring and the abundance of wildlife that gathers to feed on them. With some luck we may see eagles by the thousands, humpback whales feeding, Dall’s porpoise riding our bow, vast haulouts of Steller sea lions, and more. Although the herring spawn has been threatened in recent years by the commercial fishery, the region remains one of the best for witnessing an awe-inspiring natural wildlife gathering. And it’s all complemented by a jaw-dropping backdrop of mountains, forests, and even a sleeping volcano!
This is a very exclusive workshop. You’ll be joining a small group—only 7 guests—of like-minded photographers and wildlife enthusiasts aboard one of the most outstanding small vessels in the region. You will learn and hone wildlife photography skills, capturing fast and slow moving animals with ease. We will work with you on making truly compelling compositions of the wildlife and the landscape it inhabits. Each day you’ll have image review and critique time, and you will learn new techniques for post-processing in Lightroom. You’ll learn the proper techniques to photograph swift eagles in flight or feeding humpbacks. We’ll teach the finer points of tracking, focusing, exposure, and of course, composition. Expect warm hospitality, comfortable accommodations, great food, and outstanding photographic opportunities!
Our stabilized luxury yacht is quite comfortable. The staterooms have luxurious beds, down comforters and pillows, and individual temperature controls for heat. Each stateroom has a private bathroom with a shower “ensuite.” There’s a huge salon with comfortable seating, and outside you will find ample open and covered deck space for photography. Each night we will anchor in a quiet, secluded anchorage.
The food is a highlight of every trip. Our chef selects the freshest available produce and often combines it with the freshest “catch of the day.” Gourmet meals can include king and silver salmon, halibut, Dungeness crab and Alaskan spotted shrimp, and of course fresh produce! Top the meal off with a homemade dessert prepared daily. If seafood is not your favorite, fear not, the chef will work with you to accommodate any diet.
About the wildlife: This workshop offers significant opportunities for photographing wildlife, and while we do our best to maximize our wildlife encounters—based on past experiences, local knowledge, and the current conditions—we need to impress upon you that the wildlife really is wild and that we don’t control it.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
April 3, 2023: We embark our yacht in Sitka at 11:00 AM and shortly after lunchtime, we head out.
April 4–9, 2023: We’re aboard Alaskan Story, sailing the waters around Sitka, and onward to Juneau.
April 9, 2023: We reach port in Juneau at approximately 3:00 PM. OK to fly out on this day at 6:00 PM or later. We have rooms arranged in Sitka, as you might need to fly out on April 10, 2023.
The Alaskan Story
Easy: You will live on a small yacht for a week, you are able to climb up and down steep stairs on the yacht, and get in and out of the zodiac. Short hikes on land.
Arrive Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT), Sitka, Alaska anytime on April 1, 2023. Depart Juneau International Airport (JNU), Juneau, Alaska after 6:00 PM on April 9, 2023.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $150 supplement. (Hotel only.)
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
- All permits and park fees
- All transportation during the workshop
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides
- Waterproof boots for shore excursions
- Photographic guiding and instruction from Marc Muench
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Beer and wine
- Travel to Sitka, Alaska and from Juneau, Alaska.
- While not expected, we do reserve the right to add a surcharge for possible fuel cost increases. This can happen even right up until the time of the expedition, but we try to get as much notice as possible.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $150 supplement. (Hotel only.)
- Your non-refundable deposit of $4,995 will hold your space in this workshop.
- Further non-refundable payment of $4,000 is due by September 1, 2022.
- The non-refundable balance is due not later than December 1, 2022.
- In addition to our standard Terms and Conditions, for this workshop all payments are non-refundable, and this is why we recommend comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancelation.
- Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just ask us.
“I found both Andy and Marc extremely helpful. They were very generous with tips, pointers, in depth critiques and processing questions. Basically, no matter when or where there might have been a question, they were more than willing to allow time for teachable moments. You were never made to feel like you were a burden. ”