Experience Alaska's premier attractions, glaciers and wildlife by land and sea during this visit to Mendenhall Glacier, and a whale-watching tour on Auke Bay.
Depart the pier for the narrated drive to the Mendenhall Glacier. This monumental river of glistening ice towers is 1 1/2 miles in height, hundreds of feet thick and the only glacier accessible by road in Southeast Alaska. Upon arrival, you will visit the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Here, you will find exhibits, interactive videos, and panoramic views and photo opportunities of the glacier. U.S. Forest Service staff members will be on-hand to familiarize you with this unforgettable attraction. Time permitting, you can stroll the glacier-view path or take a short walk to view salmon in a nearby stream.
Next, you will proceed for a scenic drive through the Mendenhall Valley, past Auke Lake and on to Auke Bay. Upon arrival, you will embark a waterjet-powered catamaran that has been specially-designed for wildlife viewing, then set out to explore Stephen's Passage. You will relax in the warm, comfortable and spacious main cabin as you pass by pristine marine wilderness surrounded by snow-capped peaks and glaciers. This area is world-renowned as a favored summer feeding ground for humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, porpoise, seals, bald eagles, and more.
Upon sighting the whales, your captain will gently maneuver the vessel for optimal viewing and photographic opportunities. Since the whales are often close enough to hear them breathe, be sure to bring a warm jacket to wear on the topside observation deck. If conditions allow, an underwater hydrophone will be deployed for an opportunity to experience their solemn song. Throughout the cruise, your onboard naturalist will explain the behavior and habitat of the humpback whale. Your crew will also point out wildlife, and provide assistance throughout the tour. Binoculars, souvenir route maps, complimentary snacks and beverages will be provided.
Following your tour, you will return to Auke Bay, then reboard your coach for the return drive to the pier.
Please note: The operators of this excursion guarantee that you will be able to view at least one whale, or receive $100 cash ($50 refund per child) as you disembark the vessel (do not anticipate a refund, as whales have been sighted on every tour conducted in the past 11 years). Guests are advised to wear a warm, rainproof jacket with a hat and gloves, and bring a camera from the ship.