Get closer to giant grizzly bears, in a wilder setting, than anywhere else on earth
Coastal cruising on our private ship allows unparalleled personal access for bear watching
View bears foraging on the beach as we walk on shore in the careful company of our Expedition Leader
Grizzlies: Kodiak to Katmai
In a flash of liquid silver, a salmon leaps from a foaming cascade. An Alaskan brown bear captures it in its jaws in midair. The water boils as several bears, the largest grizzlies in the world, perch on its banks to gorge on the river’s bounty during this annual summer feast. And where the river tumbles into the sea, bears are here, too, foraging for clams and loping along the beach.
Here in Katmai National Park in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, we have a rare encounter with Ursus arctos in all its wild majesty.
For those who choose to arrive early, a representative will be available to facilitate transfers 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 travelers this evening at an informal orientation dinner.
Day 2: Kodiak Island
Today 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 travelers 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 - 6: 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 proteinrich 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.
On Day 6 we plan to return to Kodiak by floatplane.
Day 7: 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 6 as planned.
Please note: Our Photo Departures will spend one additional day on the boat, returning to Kodiak on Day 7 and home on Day 8.
Dates and Costs
Jun 29 - Jul 6
Jul 8 - 14
Jul 16 - 23
Jul 25 - 31
Aug 2 - 8
Aug 10 - 16
Jun 29 - Jul 6
Jul 8 - 14
Jul 16 - 23
Jul 25 - 31
Aug 2 - 8
Aug 10 - 16
Special Photo Departures. These trips will have an extra day on the boat.
$6,895 ($7,695 for Photo Trip)
Single Supp.: $350
Please note: Single supplement is for accommodations in Kodiak only. Singles on the boat are not available due to space limitations.
Prices are per person based on double occupancy and are given in US Dollars.
2013 dates and fees may change slightly.
Location of Adventure
Group Size Limit
Approximately 6 Travellers
A very important feature of our Alaskan grizzly bear tours is the limited group size as nature expeditions are best experienced with smaller groups of travellers.
Return flights from Kodiak to Kukak Bay, accommodations, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on the final day, safe drinking water, services of Expedition Leader, boat crew and local staff, airport transfers on Day 1 and final day, hip waders for shore excursions, permits and entrance fees, all taxes.
Waders: We will provide waders for travelers to use for the shore excursions. If you wear an especially large or small shoe size, or if you sometimes have trouble fitting boots over your calves, please let us know prior to your trip.
Travel to and from start and end point of trip, alcoholic beverages, all gratuities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes, optional travel insurance.
This trip does not require a high degree of physical fitness, but travelers must be able to walk 2 miles in shallow water, over rough terrain, and through mud wearing hip waders (which can be a bit awkward and uncomfortable).
For safety reasons, it is not possible to divide the group or to stay on one place while the rest of the group moves. We ask that travellers be of sound health and able to maintain a positive attitude in a wild setting.
This trip involves watching grizzlies on foot in unprotected open areas. While bears are unpredictable and sighting them can never be guaranteed, our groups have never missed seeing them. The unpredictability of bears can also lead to dangerous situations. They are wild animals, and we ask travelers to heed the rules set by our staff and to understand that this trip can, potentially, present harmful situations. We ask that all travellers take their own safety into consideration when signing onto this (and any) adventure. On this trip we experience bears from a rare and fascinating perspective, at eye level! Very few people in the world have an opportunity to see these powerful and beautiful creatures so intimately, and we are proud to be among the select few able to do so.
Getting There & Getting Home
Arrive in Kodiak in time for a 7pm dinner orientation on Day 1. Our guide will facilitate visits to some of Kodiak's local attractions for those passengers arriving before 1:30pm.
We recommend arriving a day early as weather in Alaska can cause flight delays. We are scheduled to arrive back in Kodiak on Day 6 (Day 7 for Photo Tour). You are free to depart from Kodiak anytime on Day 7 (Day 8 for Photo Tour), but we strongly recommended choosing a flight in the afternoon in the unlikely event poor weather prevents us from returning to Kodiak by float plane as scheduled on the itinerary.
Should travellers be required to remain in Kodiak longer than anticipated due to inclement weather, either after the trip or during the trip, they will be responsible for their own expenses.