Alaska is probably the one place I’ve never heard a single negative thing about. It’s a place that seems to be on everyone’s bucket list. And no one does it better than AdventureSmith Explorations. Their “think outside the boat” motto and unique selection of small ship expedition cruises and wilderness adventures all over the world are heralded as among the best in industry, and Alaska’s Wild Coast is just one of their many offerings.
And I do mean adventure. One look at my itinerary and the recommended packing list sent me scurrying to my nearest REI. No girlie stuff on this cruise! I’m excited about all the escapades I’m about to undertake.
For starters, I’m one of only eight passengers on AdventureSmith’s über-custom, maiden voyage of the Wild Coast. The historic yacht Westward is a small, intimate ship, renovated in 2006, exploring the most remote wilderness areas for up-close wildlife encounters and enriching cultural experiences.
The 86 foot Westward was launched in 1924 as the flagship of the Alaska Coast Hunting and Cruising Co. and pioneered hunting, fishing, and adventure travel in the remote regions of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. Her list of distinguished guests include Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, George Eastman, E.F. Hutton and John Wayne.
We’ll be doing a lot of hiking and kayak in remote and protected bays. Take a look at just some of the adventures we’ll be experiencing…
At sunrise, scan for bears on Chaik Bay.
Anchor at the Tlingit village of Angoon where we will be met by a village elder who will lead us on a hike to the village graveyard.
Cross Chatham Strait and to Chichagof Island and launch kayaks on Basket Bay.
Hiking to Baranof Lake, and then a post-hike soak in the Baranof hot spring pools to sooth our tired feet.
Kayaking among the labyrinth of islets and reefs of the wild and remote Krestov Cove.
Visit the Alaska Whale Foundation to take a look at their research on local humpback whales.
Whale watching, looking particularly for the cooperative feeding technique known as “bubble netting.” Actually, I’m personally looking to see one of their super-cool tails!
Take a 3-mile hike starting Tenakee Inlet to a bridge over a salmon stream to watch bears feast on salmon.
At Pavof Harbor we’ll get up early to view brown bears using the “fish ladder” as their own personal buffet line.
Explore the serrated shoreline of Brother’s Bay
Cruise to Le Conte glacier, the southernmost saltwater calving glacier in North America.
And then there’s the food onboard, which claims to be “a priority and an almost sacred.” Eating scrumptious seafood, while gazing at the stunning panorama, in the comradery of our small group and crew… well, that sounds just about perfect, doesn’t it?
The Alaska Wild Coast adventure promises to be the adventure of a lifetime… join me on this journey!
PS: I did manage to smuggle a very small pouch of cosmetics into my luggage, you know, just in case. And a magenta mani/pedi. But that’s all… no dresses, no heel. Seriously.