Glaciers, whales and the last frontier
Millions of people visit southeast Alaska for its grandeur and frontier history. But a fraction of these people will actually visit Alaska’s wilderness.
On this Alaska adventure, get close to wild Alaska’s tidewater glaciers, humpback whales and enter the ancient rainforests. This small ship cruise, sailing aboard the classic schooner Maple Leaf, is for the adventurous who seek the road less travelled.
News: Maple Leaf Adventures is proud to have just been awarded one of the very few high-season permits for Pack Creek bear viewing on our trips.
Southeast Alaska breathes majesty with every breath. It is a pristine wilderness of fjords, islands, rivers, and tidewater glaciers.
Touch, Taste and Smell the Landscape
On board a Maple Leaf Adventures small ship cruise, your exploration of this overpowering wilderness differs significantly from the typical cruise ship experience.
You will be part of a small, intimate group of only eight people who wish to experience the grandeur of Alaska by becoming a part of it, not by steaming past it at twenty knots.
You will explore remote islands and witness the silence of the grand Alaskan rain forests. You will see, hear, smell and feel the true wilderness, and learn about it from our experienced naturalist and crew.
Glaciers, Icebergs, Fjords
Cruising through sheer-sided glacial fjords, you will behold the powerful forces of nature at work as we experience intimately the tidewater glaciers of Alaska.
Picking our way past giant icebergs in unimaginable shades of blue and through floating pack ice, we will make our way to the face of the glacier itself.
From zodiacs or kayaks we will hear the great thunderous cracking as building-sized chunks of ice calve into the water. We’ll likely see seals and their newborn pups snoozing on the icebergs around us.
Islands and Passages with Abundant Wildlife
On your small ship cruise aboard the sailing ship Maple Leaf, humpback whales the size of school buses rise from the ocean beside you. You’ll be close enough to hear their breathing, to feel the spray as it drifts across the deck. With our naturalist at hand, you'll learn about these gentle giants as they feed and dive just feet away from you.
Our crew know the best places to find wildlife. Curious groups of sea lions at haul-outs; rafts of sea otters. On some trips, you’ll visit a seabird island that is home to thousands of colourful puffins.
Bears, Forests and Beaches
In quiet anchorages, you’ll explore the rich estuaries where land meets sea. Here, we may see brown bears and black bears feeding on sedges, roots, crabs or salmon - and if we’re lucky, we’ll dine on fresh-caught crab and prawns ourselves.
Maple Leaf Adventures is one of the very few companies that are allowed to take guests to the Pack Creek bear viewing area at Admiralty Island. This special, protected area is a great place to view brown bears.
In ancient temperate rainforests we’ll learn from our naturalist of the intricate relationship between forest and sea. We’ll also walk beaches of all kinds to experience Alaska’s wilderness from ground level.
Alaska’s Frontier Towns and Hot Springs
On your Alaska sail cruise, you’ll visit Alaskan towns and villages. They are populated by a few individuals who live in determined isolation, their spirit a legacy of the pioneers who first explored this last frontier.
You’ll visit the islands of Baronof, Kruzof, and Chichagof, whose names echo the Russian period of Alaska’s history. Explore historic Sitka (the former Russian capital) as well as Ketchikan (steeped in Gold Rush history) and, on some trips, Petersberg (with its strong Norwegian heritage). The trip includes a customized visit to Sitka, with historical tour, visits with raptors, meals and a stay in this fantastic Alaskan town, where Tlingit, Russian and American history converge.
On most trips we also visit a natural hot spring that bubbles up beside a roaring river. Here the tiny community of Baranof boasts a store and bath houses to complement the natural rock pools.
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Our trips in Alaska are authorized with a special use permit from the US Forest Service. Maple Leaf Adventures is an equal opportunity provider.