Alaska Wildlife: Eagle and Whales Aboard Luxury Yacht Nothern Song
April 5–14, 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 Northern Song, you’ll be exploring the islands, waterways, and quiet natural harbors around Sitka. 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 seven guests—of like-minded photographers and wildlife enthusiasts aboard one of the most outstanding small vessels in the region. 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!
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 5, 2023: Arrive into Sitka, Alaska at any time today. It’s ok if you are on the 6:30 PM arriving flight. We’ll pick you up at the airport, and take you to dinner.
April 6, 2023: Shortly after lunchtime, we’ll board our yacht Northern Song, and live aboard for the next eight days.
April 7–13, 2023: We’re aboard the Northern Song, sailing, photographing, and exploring the the waters around Sitka.
April 14, 2023: We reach port in Sitka 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 15, 2023.
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 5, 2023. Flights out can be made after 6:00 pm on April 14, 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 Richard Bernabe
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Beer and wine
- Travel to and from Sitka, Alaska.
- 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.
“It exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed the workshop. Richard has an enormous amount of knowledge and he explains things clearly. He is very good at giving critique and I would love to learn more from him. ”
“Richard Bernabe was an excellent workshop leader. He kept the group to a good schedule, made sure no one dominated the best spot to get the photos, always sat in the front seat of the car or took up most of his time and attention. I like that we mixed up who rode in each vehicle. It is difficult for participants to do this on their own. Richard is very knowledgeable both of photography and of Great Smoky National Park and has a easy, helpful way of working with participants to help them improve their shots. He put a lot of effort into getting us to the right place at the right time and helping get set up. He is also super friendly and fun. ”