This is the one-holiday title that promises a lot – the native wildlife of Alaska, i.e. Bears, Eagles & Whales, plus Glaciers. But this trip delivered so much more! Based in Juneau, the aim was to find the Coastal Brown Bears in a specific wilderness area, & to track down the hump-backed whales migrating south before Winter. We also knew that there would be Bald Eagles almost everywhere, & we hoped that we might get sightings of resident or transient pods of orca. But the wildlife of Alaska is much more abundant.
For the first day, the focus was upon the Coastal Brown Bears. NaturesLens chartered a floatplane to take us from Juneau to Admiralty Island. The flight itself was a buzz, well it was for an aviation enthusiast like me, a DHC-2 Beaver, a piece of Canadian aviation heritage, designed in the late 1940s & built to do the bush-flying job. Not a lot of refinement but rock-solid.
A short 30-minute flight saw us wading ashore at Admiralty Island. This a designated wilderness area & it was what it said on the tin. No facilities other than a choice of rocks to sit on & a bear-proof container for our food.
After an orientation briefing from the Ranger, we walked a short distance to the bear viewing point, & not long after that, the bear-fest began.
The rest of the week, we alternated venues. Three days with the emphasis on sea mammals & other wildllife of Alaska, & two days visiting the fjord & glaciers of Tracy Arm.
Having started with the thrill of being up close with brown bears, the next day broke the bank! During our first morning with our expert Captain, we were utterly spoiled; the humpbacks put on a great display of pectoral fin waving, chin-slapping, tail-fluking and, of course, breaching.
The Mendenhall Glacier terminates very close to Juneau & is a big tourist draw. With Nugget Falls alongside, there’s plenty of opportunity for the landscape photographer. Additionally, in the lake on the glacier approach road, we were lucky enough to spot a beaver, & a pair of black bear cubs playing.
Further, as an access port of call for cruise ships, there’s no shortage of shopping experiences, but you need to be somewhat discriminating to find quality, locally made, arts & crafts. For the less cerebral, there’s the Alaskan Brewery & the chance to examine critically, & solely in the interests of science, the variety of local brews!
The voyage to Tracy Arm takes about 3 hours, during which one can take in the magnificent Alaskan scenery. The passage follows waterways threading between thickly forested mountainsides, sweeping steeply right down to the sea, post-glacial inlets, & isolated islets. Wildlife is equally not far away & it was on one of these journeys that a pod of orca visited us. They played around the boat for a good 10 minutes before heading off.
PHOTOGRAPH THE BEARS, EAGLES, WHALES & GLACIERS OF ALASKA YOURSELF
To photograph the Bears, Eagles, Whales & Glaciers of Alaska yourself, join Ian, in Juneau during 2021 for a trip lasting 7 nights. This photography holiday is ideal for capturing images of orca, humpback whales, bald eagles & brown bears plus amazing landscapes & glacier-scapes!
All the details of the Bears, Eagles, Whales & Glaciers of Alaska photography holiday are available on the dedicated event page.