Alaska/British Columbia Trips 2014/2015

These Alaska and British Columbia trips come with a warning: These trips are addictive. The proof is in the fact that well over half of the guests are either returning – some for over 40 trips – or have come because of enthusiastic recommendations from friends. We have welcomed guests from around the world, including Alaska itself.

Southeast Alaska/B.C. is best seen and visited by boat or float plane, and the smaller the boat or plane (within reason) the better the experience. Miles of tree lined deep green fiords combined with ice, dramatic basalt and granitic rock and all the animals that live here make for a tremendous sense of awe and exhilaration. Come and join us for the adventure!

Fabulous Inside Passage

Port Townsend to Ketchikan
June 9 - June 18, 2015       Ronn Patterson

Inside Passage AlaskaThe excitement begins immediately as we twist and turn around and between islands and narrow passes along side Vancouver Island—protecting you from the ocean—and the high, ice-covered peaks and fiords of the mainland. The space in between is the Inside Passage—an island studded wilderness and a boating adventurer's dream. After our passage through the Gulf Islands, Nanaimo and the Straits of Georgia, we must time our passage through the famous Seymour Narrows, just north of Campbell River as we can pass through here only at slack water. Next come Johnstone Straits and the legendary home of the northern community of resident orcas and the home also to a renaissance of Native culture. Crossing Queen Charlotte Sound at the north end of Vancouver Island brings us to a remote part of Coastal British Columbia and its treasures. Nine days after we start our adventure the trip ends in Ketchikan, just across the Dixon Entrance.

Valid passport required for this trip.

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Native Culture/Natural History

Ketchikan to Juneau
June 21 - June 29, 2015       Ronn Patterson

Chief Shakes Island Wrangell AlaskaThe journey from Ketchikan to Juneau is as spectacular as the scenery, inhabitants, and wildlife in SE Alaska. The approximately 150 miles (as the raven flies) of watery wilderness is punctuated by coastal strands where there might be foraging black or brown (grizzly) bears, glaciers reaching to the tops of the mountains, and all around you the temperate rainforest of the Tongass National Forest. Humpback whales, orcas, harbor seals, Steller sea lions and many, many seabirds and fish species call this place home. With Ronn Patterson as captain and John Kipping as naturalist, they'll endeavor to put you in the places of maximum interest and opportunities.

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Around Admiralty Island

Hoonah to Juneau
July 21 - July 30, 2015       Betty Sederquist & Ronn Patterson

AdmiraltyThis voyage of exploration around Admiralty Island (the 7th largest island in the US) provides a wonderful opportunity to visit wilderness (almost a million acres of it) and experience a lot of what Southeast Alaska has to offer. Ice, bears, whales, waterfalls are all part of the picture as are most of the other wildlife that inhabits this region. The Tlingit town of Angoon is on the agenda, and several hours can be spent looking at painted house fronts and other evidence of native art.

Pack Creek is probably the best known of the bear reserves in the area and we will be spending a day there. With the trip ending in Gustavus at the entrance to Glacier Bay National Park, time with the whales that are usually near the entrance to Glacier Bay is a must do. Come with us and see what you think!

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Glacier Bay I

Juneau to Gustavus
July 2 - July 10, 2015       Mark Kelley & Ronn Patterson

Gloomy KnobThis Glacier Bay adventure has it all – and possibly a little more. Glacier Bay National Park itself has the pinnacle of scenic splendor plus an amazing ice kingdom. An abundance of wildlife exists also - grizzly and black bears, mountain goats, marmots, eagles, Black-legged kitty wake colonies with thousands of birds, eagles, Tufted and Horned Puffins, humpback whales, killer whales and more. This cruise explores the backwaters and less visited portions of Glacier Bay as well as the "standard" must see portions. In addition, you visit and explore several wildlife rich areas - especially some of the best whale waters - outside the park. Best of all, you get to explore and play among the scenery - new and old forests, acres of imposing glacial ice, mountains, meadows of flowers – all in the shadow of grandfather grizzly.

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Glacier Bay II

Hoonah to Gustavus
July 13 - July 19, 2015       Brenda Tharp, Jed Manwaring & Ronn Patterson

Eagle on IceThese Glacier Bay adventures have it all – and possibly a little more. Glacier Bay National Park itself has the pinnacle of scenic splendor plus an amazing ice kingdom. An abundance of wildlife exists also - grizzly and black bears, mountain goats, marmots, eagles, Black-legged kitty wake colonies with thousands of birds, eagles, Tufted and Horned Puffins, humpback whales, killer whales and more. This cruise explores the backwaters and less visited portions of Glacier Bay as well as the "standard" must see portions. In addition, you visit and explore several wildlife rich areas - especially some of the best whale waters - outside the park. Best of all, you get to explore and play among the scenery - new and old forests, acres of imposing glacial ice, mountains, meadows of flowers – all in the shadow of grandfather grizzly.

"...an imposing array of jagged spires and pyramids, and flat-topped towers and battlements, of many shades of blue, from pale, shimmering, limpid tones in the crevasses and hollows, to the most startling, chilling, almost shrieking vitriol blue on the plain mural spaces from which bergs had just been discharged." John Muir

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Whales, Bears, Glaciers I

Juneau to Wrangell
August 2 - August 10, 2015       Roger Devore & Ronn Patterson

Mountain GoatsFlying in to Juneau (the Alaska state capital) gives time to explore this most northern of our state capitals (and the only one you can't drive to) so arriving one or two days early lets you visit different aspects of this former mining town.

This trip across Southeast Alaska ends in the small frontier town of Wrangell. Cruise ships don't stop here so it retains more of the flavor of small town Alaska: fishing, mining, lumbering all backed by a strong Native influence which have shaped the area. Some nice museums, native art, and "you never know what you'll find" experiences grace your visit here. Leaving time to explore the town is worth it.

As the adventure unfolds there will be terrific scenery (snowcapped mountains and ice), opportunities to venture ashore in very remote areas, kayaking, fishing, and of course, photography. Two of the best bear viewing areas in Southeast (Pack and Anan Creeks) are on the agenda and usually orcas, seabirds, bears on the shore and other surprises wait around the next bend. Our itineraries are flexible and we look for opportunities to be amazed.

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Whales, Bears, Glaciers II

Wrangell to Juneau
August 12 - August 20, 2015       Ronn Patterson

Bears Along the ShoreThe reverse of the earlier trip, the same general itinerary applies. Beautiful SE Alaska with its magnificent scenery, outstanding wildlife, and surprising adventures is the order of the day. This trip starts the morning of Aug 12 with a jetboat trip up the Stikine River with the group boarding Delphinus in the afternoon after lunch. Then off for the start of the remote adventures!

Arriving in Wrangell one to two days early lets you explore this frontier town as well as visiting the museum with its wonderful Native art, beach walking at low tide to view the petroglyphs in the exposed rocks and whatever else comes to mind. If you have the time, staying in Juneau at the end of the trip gives you a chance to visit the state capital and explore this area.

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Whales, Bears, Glaciers III

Juneau to Wrangell
August 23 - August 31, 2015       Ronn Patterson

Glacier CalvingSee the description for WBG I although no two trips are identical. The three "Ws" (weather, wildlife, wishes-of the group) determine how the trip proceeds. But that description still applies and Juneau and Wrangell are both worth exploring on either end of the trip.

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Spirit Bear

Ketchikan to Port McNeill
September 6 - September 15, 2014       Ronn Patterson

Ketchikan to Port McNeill
September 7 - September 16, 2015       Gordon & Cathy Illg & Ronn Patterson

Spirit BearBeginning in Ketchikan, this trip enters into very remote British Columbia. It's a land of mists and mountains and, apart from Prince Rupert, only scattered human populations. Bears and other wildlife outnumber the people! The "Spirit Bear" –a white phase of the black bear– is most visible on Princess Royal Island where we'll be guided by natives to, potentially, the best bear viewing locations. They also can be visible from the beach, as were these two cubs from last year. The scenery and narrow passages through this area emphasize the glaciers that cut these channels during the last Ice Age. For overall grandeur, this cruise can't be beat!

Valid passport required for this trip.

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Orcas, Orcas, Orcas

Port McNeil to Friday Harbor
September 17 - September 25, 2014       Ronn Patterson

Port McNeil to Friday Harbor
September 18 - September 26, 2015       Ronn Patterson

Orca AlaskaMore orcas inhabit this region than exist in the rest of British Columbia and Southeast Alaska combined! This cruise spends time with resident orcas at two communities as well as the transient orcas in between. The northern resident community is near Johnstone Strait, and the southern resident community is near Friday Harbor, Washington. This region, the top of Vancouver Island to Friday Harbor, is the heart of a strong native culture with well–developed art, religion and social structure.

The setting is one of unbelievable beauty – deep green bays rimmed by forests and mountains, punctuated by the black and white of the orca whale (actually the largest member of the dolphin family). We will spend as much time as possible with the orcas, visit bird rookeries and go ashore for brief hikes and beach combing. We will also make special visits to wonderful native museums and village sites.

Valid passport required for this trip.

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Alaska/British Columbia

Dolphin Charters operates under permit from the Tongass National Forest.

NOTE: All itineraries and schedules are subject to change based on weather conditions and the captain's discretion.

List of Trips