2015 Special Photo Tour
If you're looking for the ultimate opportunity to photograph Alaska's brown bears, you simply must choose this exclusive adventure. This is Alaska's Coastal Grizzlies Tour with a special photography focus.
Images of Alaska’s enormous brown bears are among the most iconic wildlife photos on Earth. There's no more exciting travel photography experience in Alaska than the chance to capture incredible close-ups of the largest coastal grizzlies on the planet – our primary mission on this special bear-focused itinerary. Here in the remote reaches of Katmai National Park, far from standard cruise ship and tour bus routes, a select few travellers have the chance to spend days in the bears' midst, with unhurried hours to safely capture close-up images of them against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks and saltwater inlets.
Day 1: Arrive Kodiak, Alaska
For those who choose to arrive early, a representative will accompany you to explore Kodiak’s native and Russian heritage. Destinations may include the National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, St. Paul Harbor, Baranov Museum, Alutiiq Museum, Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Cathedral and Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park, where guns were readied to defend against an invasion during World War II. Meet your fellow travellers this evening at an informal orientation dinner.
Day 2: Kodiak Island
This morning we have a photo workshop with one of Kodiak's most respected local photographers. After, we explore Kodiak’s coastal waters and rocky shorelines on a private boat trip. We journey to Kodiak’s protected inner island, past tidal pools and offshore kittiwake rookeries, amid sea lions, otters, puffins, bald eagles and oftentimes whales.
Kodiak is remote, not often visited by travellers to Alaska, and our sense of a unique encounter with nature is palpable as we glide through the rockbound coves. We will enjoy a picnic lunch ashore and spend some time on the coastal trail lined with wildflowers and Sitka spruce trees. This evening we will have a gourmet home-cooked dinner aboard the boat.
Day 3: Kodiak / Hallo Bay
Early this morning we take a floatplane (weather-contingent: we may depart earlier or later in the trip if conditions require) from Kodiak to Kukak Bay, to meet our ship. The plane pulls up right alongside, and we disembark to board the vessel that will be our floating home for the next several days. We cruise slowly along the shore toward Hallo Bay, where we commonly find coastal grizzlies – known as brown bears – foraging for food. As we are mobile, we can cruise to wherever the bears are, following them from bay to bay.
Days 4 - 7: Coastal Katmai
While we’ve all seen footage in nature documentaries of Alaskan brown bears in the wild, nothing prepares us for the drama of an actual encounter with these magnificent beasts, just yards away. They are North America’s largest land predators, and an adult male can weigh 900 lbs. As we cruise just off the coast, bears often dot the shoreline. We go ashore by skiff for an even closer view, exploring the beaches on foot.
It’s not uncommon to find massive grizzlies in great numbers; our previous trips have seen as many as 30 to 40 of them at once. And far from dozing lethargically, these bears put on quite a show in their efforts to fill up on enough protein rich food to prepare them for a long winter in hibernation. They fight to capture salmon in their jaws, swiping out at a slippery fish with talons as long as a man’s fingers. They dig for clams in the sand and browse on sedge grass. Depending on the time of our visit, we may even see bears mating or cubs gallivanting on the shore.
On our other trips we watch grizzlies from viewing platforms or vehicles. Not here. In coastal Katmai we are on foot, carefully wandering the area in our small group under the cautious guidance of our Expedition Leader. In addition, it is not uncommon for our groups often see wolves, and observe their interesting interaction with the bears. As a result, this trip offers a wildlife encounter that will thrill you beyond expectation.
After a morning with the bears on Day 7, we plan to return to Kodiak by floatplane. We depart the ship at approximately 1:00 pm on Day 7 and arrive back in Kodiak about an hour later (all depending on weather).
Day 8: Kodiak / Home
Return home today from Kodiak. We recommend that travellers do not book an early-morning flight out in case inclement weather prevents us from flying back to Kodiak on the evening of Day 7 as planned.
Price: £5,814* GBP / $8,895 USD
Single Supp: $350 (Kodiak only. Singles on the boat are not available due to space limitations.)
Deposit: $500 (nonrefundable)
Dates & Pricing Notes: Prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy and are given in British Pounds (GBP) and US Dollars (USD) for 2015 (*Please note that the Pound Sterling figures may fluctuate due to the current rate of exchange). Dates for 2016 will be similar to 2015 dates and will be allocated to guests on a first-come-first-served basis. 2016 fees may change slightly. Guests who reserve their space prior to final pricing confirmation will receive the lowest rate within the range offered