Alaska's Abundant Wildlife and Glacier Bay
June 20–28, 2022
Photograph Alaska’s incredible wildlife and beautiful scenery—including exclusive access to Glacier Bay—aboard our private yacht. This is an adventure through fjords, past icebergs the size of houses, and up close to tidewater glaciers. We will spend time watching for the thunderous glacial “calving”of huge glaciers, and at this time of year we can also expect to photograph humpback whales, brown bears, orcas, sea lions, harbor seals, Dall’s porpoises, bald eagles, and perhaps even wolves and moose. Our yacht is one of only a few with the permits required to cruise in Glacier Bay, the crown jewel of the National Park system. We also have all the permits needed to access Alaska’s otherwise restricted federal and state lands.
You will be guided and taught by Muench Workshops Pro Richard Bernabe. You will learn and hone wildlife photography skills, capturing fast and slow moving animals with ease. Richard 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.
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. During our days we will have the opportunity to go on land for a hike, or kayak along the tidal shore photographing birds, marine life, and even Alaskan brown bears.
One of the great thrills is the opportunity to catch a mighty king salmon or a gigantic halibut. You can fish from the cockpit of the Alaskan Story where our crew will net and clean your catch, or you can head out to fish on our well-equipped skiff. We also have crab and shrimp pots. We are very proud of our ability to “harvest” from the sea.
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.
June 20, 2022: Arrive to Sitka anytime this day, and take the shuttle to the hotel. We’ll meet for a group dinner tonight to kick off our Alaskan Story!
June 21, 2022: We depart Sitka at 11:00 PM and cruise out through Olga and Neva Straits, then through Salisbury Sound and the rushing tidal currents in Sergius Narrows. We may fish for salmon as we proceed up into Hoonah Sound. This secluded and protected bay is perfect for kayaking. We often see the brown bear here. We will set crab and shrimp pots for the following night’s dinner.
June 22, 2022: We will cruise south back to Peril Strait and then turn east along the north coast of Baranof. This passageway separates Baranof Island from Chichagof Island. These two with Admiralty Island are the “ABC Islands.” They all have dense populations of brown bears and little Sitka Black Tailed Deer. Eagles will be everywhere. If we choose, we will stop at a small bay to hike up a trail along a beautiful river past falls, where we will be watching for bears, to Lake Eva. We will continue through Peril Strait, turning north in Chatham Strait. Depending on wildlife we will probably anchor in Pavlof Harbor where there is a falls and we may see Bears here awaiting the return of the pink salmon to spawn. All our anchorages are very protected and offer great opportunities to experience the shoreline in our kayaks.
June 23, 2022: We will cruise north still in Chatham and take a left turn in Icy Strait. These are summer feeding grounds for hundreds of humpback whales that migrate up from the warmer southern Pacific waters. We will see them from close and from afar. We will see them feeding alone and in large group. We will keep our eyes open for orca which we often see in these waters. We will anchor for the night in Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay. We will rise early and hike the Forest Trail a distance of 1-2 miles. This loop trail will take us through both the temperate rainforest and the beach environments of Bartlett Cove. The trail surface varies between dirt, gravel, and boardwalk. Two benches and viewing platforms along the way beg you to pause and take in the sights and sounds of the spruce/hemlock forest.
June 24, 2022: We will cruise northwest up the West arm of Glacier Bay past high rocky cliffs where we will see mountain goats. Nannies give birth in early June. The “kids” are about 6.5 lbs. at birth and within a day are following their mothers up and over these steep cliffs. We will also watch the shores for Alaskan brown bear. There is no hunting allowed in Glacier Bay, so these majestic animals are not as afraid of humans as elsewhere in Southeast. We will cruise up Tarr Inlet watching for humpback whales and perhaps orcas. We will stop in front of Margerie Glacier, after passing icebergs bigger than our yacht. Located at the deep end of the Glacier Bay, Margerie Glacier extends over a width of about 1 mile (1.6 km) and extends upstream for a length of 21 miles (34 km) to its source on the southern slopes of Mount Root at the Alaska-Canada border. We will cruise back out of Tarr Inlet to anchor in front of Reid Glacier.
June 25, 2022: We will motor back south east past a shoreline where we have in the past seen wolves and bears and will expect to see sea lions, sea otters, and perhaps more humpback whales and even orcas. We will exit Glacier Bay and head south in Icy Strait to Dundas Bay which is part of Glacier Bay National Park. It is rare, but in years past we have seen glacier bears in Dundas. They are genetically similar to black bear but their color ranges from silvery blue to grey, and tends to be darker closer to their bodies, terminating in white tips. The coloring is not always evenly distributed. They are among the rarest bears in the world, with little concrete information known about them or their numbers. We often see large numbers of sea otters in the mouth of the bay so should get some great shots of these.
June 26, 2022: Cruising out of Dundas Bay we head back east in Icy Strait and will hope for a display of feeding whales at Point Adolphus on the northern point of Chichagof Island. We often see group feeding activity here. We will continue east in Icy Strait perhaps fishing for halibut and salmon. We will anchor for the night in Swanson Cove.
June 27, 2022: We cruise towards Juneau, getting our last photos today of Alaska’s beauty. You will arrive in Juneau with a new appreciation for the way the earth existed before man. We’ll check in to our hotel and meet for dinner to celebrate our Alaskan Story!
June 28, 2022: Flights home from Juneau (JNU) anytime today.
The Alaskan Story
Easy: You can live on a small yacht for a week, and you are able to get in and out of zodiacs and onto shore. Some short walks on land.
Arrive Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT), Sitka, Alaska anytime on June 20, 2022. Depart Juneau International Airport (JNU), Juneau, Alaska after 12:01 AM on June 28, 2022.
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 $300 supplement. Sitka and Juneau 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
- Meals and lodging onboard the ship
- Waterproof boots for shore excursions
- Photographic guiding and instruction from Richard Bernabe
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
- Travel to Sitka, Alaska and from Juneau, Alaska.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $300 supplement.
- Your non-refundable deposit of $4,495 will hold your space in this workshop.
- Further non-refundable payment of $4,000 is due by November 1, 2021.
- The non-refundable balance is due not later than March 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.
“The photo opportunities couldn’t have been better. I appreciated the individual help during the photo shooting with settings, timing, and lens choices. I’m still sorting through pictures and it’s amazing how varied and special all the different opportunities were. I was just making a collection of close-ups of the icebergs. Unbelievable! ”
“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. ”