Whales and Bears

Old Apr 3, 15, 4:52 pm
  #1  
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Whales and Bears

I want to see bears, my friend wants to see the whales.
Any suggestions to where to go in Alaska and the best time of year for both of those things?

She had come up found a nine day Cruise, that will NOT work for me. I am not fond of Cruises, certainly not nine days on a boat.

Thanks for any help.
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Old Apr 3, 15, 6:15 pm
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I'm assuming you guys going sometime in the summer? You will need to get access to a car or truck.

For both bears and whales, the Kenai Peninsula is your answer.

Hope you like a little hiking. I've hiked to the Russian River Falls and have seen a few bears at the falls. The falls are considered a "poor man's Brooks Falls" as far as bear viewing goes.
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...sianriverfalls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTg584D707o


For whales, your best bet is a whale watching day cruise. I've seen humpbacks out of Seward and while halibut fishing out of Homer.
http://www.kenaifjords.com/day-cruises/
I've been on Kenai Fjord's day cruise: National Park Tour with Fox Island. We saw a few whales, visited the Aialik Glacier, ate dinner at Fox island.

Good luck.
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Old Apr 4, 15, 9:37 am
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Thank you for the information!
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Old Apr 5, 15, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by 4thplz View Post
Thank you for the information!
You're welcome and good luck! Post photos.


Just one note, the Kenai Fjords day cruise isn't too bad at all, as I reread your comment about not being fond of cruises. As far as seasickness goes, about 90% of the travel is in protected bays. You leave Seward, which is in Resurrection Bay, and we visited a glacier in Aialik Bay. There was a quick run between the bays in open ocean, but it was fairly calm. We ended up seeing humpbacks at the entrance to Resurrection Bay, but whales might be anywhere, including inside the bay.

Also, while driving down the Seward Highway (to get to the Kenai Peninsula,) just outside of Anchorage, you'll see Turnagain Arm to your right. There is a turnoff to the right called Beluga Point(sp?) where you can see Beluga whales, if you're lucky (and if they happen to be present.) There are actually several turnoffs near here. You'll need a bit of luck, as Beluga whales aren't that big, and they're whitish in color, so they're a little hard to spot. Also, be careful, as it's one of the more dangerous highways because it is a scenic highway. Many people have crashed and died, presumably while distracted looking around while driving on an undivided two lane road.

"For most of the highway, there are only two lanes, and you have rocks and animals to deal with and they can come into your path at any time. There are Dall sheep on the ridges of the hill by the highway near Beluga Point, bald eagles flying overhead, beluga whales swimming in Turnagain Arm, bear and moose can appear at anytime; onlookers routinely pull over to the side of the rode to take photos and drivers are easily distracted by the plethora of activity along the roadside. "
Excerpt taken from: http://www.turnagaintimes.com/curren...way-crash.html
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Old Apr 5, 15, 4:30 pm
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fti
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Note that the Kenai Fjirds trips are billed as marine wildlife cruises. Many of the trips don't see whales. Just an FYI. But definitely take a 6 hour or longet tour.

Another great place to see bears is Denali NP. Taking a bus trip into the park to Eielson or Wonder Laje greatly increases your chances of seei g them. Multiple trips into the park also increases your chances of seeing them closer to the bus.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 4:45 pm
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I'm just the opposite... I did the National Park cruise about 2 years ago and found that 6 hours was too long to be on the boat. I wouldn't go that long again. But that's just personal preference and everyone is different.
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Old Apr 10, 15, 4:51 pm
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I am taking notes! Thanks for the information! Very helpful.
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Old Apr 11, 15, 7:27 am
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If you go for less than 6 hours on a boat tour from Seward, you don't leave the bay. That means your chances of seeing whales greatly diminishes. You definitely can see whales in the bay, but I have seen them much more often on the 6 hour or longer tours.

I find the time on the 6 or even 9 hour boat tours goes so fast. But then I am excited about all that you see on those tours. That is one reason why Major Marine with their buffet doesn't excite me. I bring snacks with me and eat when I want, not when they tell me to. I am outside on deck looking for whales and other wildlife for much of the trip. But as was said, everyone is different.
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Old Apr 24, 15, 3:24 pm
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
If you go for less than 6 hours on a boat tour from Seward, you don't leave the bay. That means your chances of seeing whales greatly diminishes. You definitely can see whales in the bay, but I have seen them much more often on the 6 hour or longer tours.

I find the time on the 6 or even 9 hour boat tours goes so fast. But then I am excited about all that you see on those tours. That is one reason why Major Marine with their buffet doesn't excite me. I bring snacks with me and eat when I want, not when they tell me to. I am outside on deck looking for whales and other wildlife for much of the trip. But as was said, everyone is different.
I was just coming in here to ask about these tours. You seem to know your stuff, so maybe you could give me some advice. I will be in AK in August and want to take a boat cruise and see the fjords and some wildlife. The Major Marine 4 hours evening cruise fits best into my schedule, but I really want to Kenai Fjords tours 6 hour national park cruise. I would have to shift some things around to do it, but I'm thinking it's worth it. I'm an avid photographer with a big giant zoom lens or two that will be joining me. Am I right in my idea that the 6 hour tour will show me a lot more of the iconic fjords? There is a huge price difference and the schedule thing, so I just want to be sure I'm not going out of my way to get a similar experience.
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Old Apr 24, 15, 6:40 pm
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I go to Seward every year (for the past fifteen years) and take at least three boat trips every time I visit Seward. The national park cruise, that takes a minimum of six hours, travels to one active glacier and spends twenty to thirty minutes in front of the glacier to observe calving. Since the boat travels out of the bay and spends more time travelling, you may see more wildlife. I have seen humpback whales, orcas, Stellar sea lions, Dall porpoises, and other marine mammals on these trips.

I also enjoy the wildlife cruises that remain within Resurection Bay because they focus on wildlfe, travel slower, and spend more time with animals. You will NOT see tidewater glaciers that calve into the ocean. You will see puffins, Stellar sea lions, sea otters, and bald eagles. You have a good possibility to see Dall porpoises, humpback whales, and even orcas. I have also seen mountain goats, bear, and even a porcupine. Nothing is guaranteed. If you do see humpback whales, you will probably see dorsal fins and flukes. I have seen breaches (I saw my first breach in Alaska four years ago and have seen at least one every year since then) but the whales were fairly far away from the boat. If you really want to see breaching humpbacks, go to Maui or Monterey Bay. Humpbacks are feeding in Alaska and spend most of their time below the surface. To see orcas and Dall porpoises, you have to be in the right place at the right time. The sea lions and sea birds tend to congregate in specific areas, so they are easy to see.

The longer cruises that go to the glaciers do spend a brief time in rougher water, so if you are prone to sea sickness, you could get queasy. The wildlife cruise is in calmer water.
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Old Apr 25, 15, 3:08 pm
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Thanks for the helpful information!
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Old Apr 29, 15, 4:33 pm
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There are plenty of cruises of less than 9 days. The beauty of a cruise is you can go back to your cabin and have a nap, or read a book, or work on your computer, or ...

When we did an Alaska cruise 10 years ago in June, I was walking on the Promenade Deck one evening after dinner and not far away I spotted a Beluga Whale. He swam nearby for a while and then was gone. We spotted bears along the way, although we had to use our binoculars. And the sound a glacier makes when calving is just amazing in person. This was one of my favorite cruises.

Here are some with fewer days, just in case you reconsider:
http://cruises.united.com/results.do...CruiseId=false
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Old May 5, 15, 8:40 pm
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Originally Posted by MissJ View Post
I was just coming in here to ask about these tours. You seem to know your stuff, so maybe you could give me some advice. I will be in AK in August and want to take a boat cruise and see the fjords and some wildlife. The Major Marine 4 hours evening cruise fits best into my schedule, but I really want to Kenai Fjords tours 6 hour national park cruise. I would have to shift some things around to do it, but I'm thinking it's worth it. I'm an avid photographer with a big giant zoom lens or two that will be joining me. Am I right in my idea that the 6 hour tour will show me a lot more of the iconic fjords? There is a huge price difference and the schedule thing, so I just want to be sure I'm not going out of my way to get a similar experience.
Just saw your post today.

I am also an avid photographer. The 6 hour or longer tours are definitely worth it for photographers. You might want to contact Alaska Saltwater Lodge for their prices and schedules. I have never taken them, but have heard only great things about them. Smaller boats and can possibly cater the schedule a bit to the needs/desires/interests of those on the boat. Otherwise I have taken both Kenai Fjords and Major Marine and they have been excellent.

It is true you are in the open ocean for part of the trip on the 6 hour or longer tours. So if you get seasick easily be sure to bring medication (or take it before you get on the boat!). But for me, the tradeoff is well worth it.
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Old May 13, 15, 12:50 pm
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Thanks! I looked up The Alaska Saltwater Lodge and their tours look amazing, but don't fit into the timing of this trip. I wouldn't be able to make it to Seward in time for their early-morning departure.

Definitely doing the longer tour after the feedback in here.


Thanks!
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Old Aug 12, 15, 12:11 pm
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Looking forward to my cruise next weekend!

I booked the 6 hour Kenai Fjords tour. I can't seem to find this info on the website, but does anyone happen to know if they sell food and drinks on the ship other than the catered lunch?
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