Alaska's Abundant Wildlife and Glacier Bay
June 28 – July 6, 2023
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.
On this workshop 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.
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.
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 28, 2023: 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 29, 2023: After breakfast in the hotel, we will leave at 11:00 AM and embark our yacht, the Alaskan Story. We will depart the harbor heading north and west around the northeast point of Admiralty Island. Much of our journey will be amongst the “ABC” islands. Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof: the fourth, fifth, and sixth largest islands in the U.S. They are the home of thousands of Alaskan brown bears, perhaps the densest concentration in the world. We will cruise south in Chatham Strait and then west through Icy Strait.
We have been awarded a high season permit to charter within the crown jewel of the United States National Parks—Glacier Bay. In Glacier Bay, we will likely see whales, mountain goats, seals, sea lions, black and brown bears, a variety of migrating waterfowl, and perhaps—if we are lucky—wolves and moose. This area also boasts more tidewater glaciers than in all the rest of the world. We will experience all of this beneath mountains which tower up 15,000 feet in the air. The Alaskan Story is one of only 5 charter yachts over 50 feet allowed into the Bay during the high season of the summer. We will anchor in Bartlett Cove where we can take a hike ashore with our naturalist and return to the Alaskan Story for dinner.
June 30, 2023: We will cruise northwest up the west arm of Glacier Bay past high rocky cliffs where we will see Mountain Goats. We will 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 and watch for spectacular calving. We will then cruise back down the arm to North Sandy Cove where we will see black bears and perhaps even wolves and moose.
July 1, 2023: Before exiting Glacier Bay, we will pass by the Marble Islands where we will observe a haul out for Steller Sea lions. Stellers are a much larger version of the California sea Lions—the males can be over 1,500 lbs! We will also see a bird rookery with thousands of gulls, cormorants, and even the beautiful puffin. We will cruise east in Icy Strait and perhaps stop to fish for dinner, and then south in Chatham Strait. We will anchor in Pavlof Harbor where the spawning salmon returning to the river will be attracting the Brown bears fattening up for the winter. The salmon come in towards the end of July through August is a “must-see.” We will likely be able to watch the bears from only feet away from our Boston Whaler skiff.
July 2, 2023: We will cruise south, turning west into Peril Strait and stop for a beautiful hike up a creek with trout and spawning salmon to Lake Eva. We have a “special use” permit allowing us into this restricted area. We will anchor for the night somewhere near depending on the weather.
July 3, 2023: We will cruise back into Chatham Strait heading north. After fishing and perhaps some whale watching we proceed up the west coast of Chichagof Island, certainly one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world and into Tenakee Inlet. After setting the pots for Dungeness crab, we will moor at the community dock. We will walk in this quaint boardwalk village and then hike with our naturalist to a nearby river where the spawning salmon may attract more Brown bears to view.
July 4, 2023: Cruising out of Tenakee Inlet and north in Chatham Strait we will watch for orcas, humpbacks, and perhaps do a little more fishing. We will anchor somewhere near Juneau.
July 5, 2023: We cruise back 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!
July 6, 2023: 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 Juneau International Airport (JNU), Juneau, Alaska anytime on June 28, 2023. Flights out can be made anytime on July 6, 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 $500 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 Lisa LaPointe
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Beer and wine
- Travel to 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.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $500 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 November 1, 2022.
- The non-refundable balance is due not later than March 1, 2023.
- 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 trip to Alaska did not disappoint, stunning wildlife, scenery, and great people. The weather could not have been better! We saw humpback whales bubblenet feeding, breaching, and more tail flukes than you can imagine. We saw orcas (Killer Whales) and we saw them breach and spyhop. We visited the Dawes Glacier and saw the icebergs floating down the Endicott Channel. The Northern Song was a beautiful yacht and we had a chef that fed us three wonderful meals everyday. The captain and his staff were exceptional. Muench Workshops hit the ball out of the park with this trip. ”
“You guys always put your heart and soul into these trips, and it shows—can't wait for more adventures :). ”