Absolute Alaska! 

04 - 16 August 2020

 

  • 3 Centre Alaska Widlife Photography Safari

  • All of Alaska's summer wildlife highlights including bears, whales, sea otters, sea lions, horned puffins, glaciers

  • Individual Photography & Videography Tuition from award-winning BBC presenter, photographer, film maker and travel writer Trai Anfield

Availability:  2 places left for 2020

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This trip has been our most requested over the last year, so how could we resist?!

  

You've asked us for a true wilderness experience, taking in some of the world's most majestic scenery that's home to bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx and moose;  skies hosting hawks, eagles and owls;  waters shared by sea otter, walrus, whales, charismatic seabirds and majestic glaciers.   Add in the experience of seeing these wonderful animals on foot, as well as by boat and vehicle, and it's truly an irresistible adventure - and one that partners of photographers will really appreciate too!  

 

Trai Anfield

Tour Director & Tutor

Alaska: North America’s Last Wild Frontier

Wildlife still exists here in an abundance and diversity not seen elsewhere on the continent since the arrival of the white settlers.  Alaska encompasses an incredible diversity of habitat from temperate rainforest and taiga forest, to alpine and arctic tundra, and this diversity is reflected in its terrestrial wildlife, which includes the largest Brown Bears on the continent (if not the planet), as well as its inland/alpine cousin the Grizzly Bear, the resourceful Black Bear, Wolves, Wolverines, Red & Arctic Foxes, Lynx, Moose, Caribou, and Mountain Goats.  Surrounded on 3 sides by the Pacific Ocean and Bering, Chukchi & Beaufort Seas, Alaska's coastal waters are also incredibly rich and are home to Sea Otters, Seals, Sea Lions, Walrus, Minke Whales, and Orcas. They also play host to visiting giants including Fin, Bowhead & Humpback Whales, as well as charismatic birds such as the Horned Puffin.

 

 

Our Alaska Highlights

 

  • 3 centre safari - photograph many individual bears in a wide range of habitats

  • Close up photography on foot, by boat and in vehicle

  • Opportunities to photograph other iconic Alaskan wildlife including sea otter, eagles, whales

  • Daily photography briefings and tutorials with Trai Anfield 

  • Daily (subject to weather conditions) bear and other wildlife photography accompanied by tutor Trai Anfield

  • Optimum access to wildlife and landscapes

  • Accommodation in authentic rustic wilderness lodges in prime bear viewing country 

The Kenai Peninsula, which lies immediately to the south of Anchorage, boasts some of Alaska's most impressive rivers, mountains, icefields, and coastline.  It also offers convenient access to some of Alaska's most pristine marine habitats and many of the iconic fjords and glaciers that immediately spring to mind when you think of Alaska.  

 

Katmai National Park, at the base of the Alaska Peninsula, is home to the largest protected population of Brown Bears in the world, and for the past 2 decades it has been the subject of a hugely successful and innovative approach to organised bear viewing where small groups of bear watchers (maximum 6 people) encounter the bears on foot in the company of an expert guide.  This has produced a unique situation whereby something akin to a mutually observed, inter-species truce exists between humans and bears.  

 

Accessible by floatplane or wheeled bushplane, the Katmai Coast is every aspiring bear watcher's dream ticket where giant Coastal Brown Bears can be observed catching salmon where river meets ocean in summer. Nowhere else on the planet will you see more and bigger bears, up close and personal, than you will in Katmai where the bear viewing experience is all about being on the ground with these magnificent animals, with very few people around. 

Katmai Wilderness Lodge (KWL)

No other lodge in our North American portfolio receives as much amazing feedback as KWL and for sure that is because of the wonderful atmosphere created by the hosts, Angela and Perry; the full on days of bear viewing – with packed lunches taken in the field. It is also the only permanent tourist structure allowed inside Katmai National Park and provides access by small boat/skiff, to some amazing brown bear habitat -  you also get out and walk to locations where bears are feeding.

Kodiak Island is a legendary bear destination: genetically isolated for at least 10,000 years Kodiak's Brown Bears have evolved into the largest subspecies of the Great Northern Bear found anywhere on the planet.  Much coveted by trophy hunters for more than two centuries, the Kodiak bears are still understandably more wary of humans than their mainland cousins, but the chance to come face to face with this near mythical creature is a powerful draw.

The port of Seward in the southeast of the Peninsula is the gateway to legendary Kenai Fjords National Park. In addition to a staggering collection of glaciers, these two areas of outstanding natural beauty are home to Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Humpback Whales, and an incredible array of seabirds including Horned & Tufted Puffins. On dry land you may encounter Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, and Moose.​

 

Full Itinerary

 

July 30:  On arrival at Anchorage airport you will take the free shuttle bus to the ‘Comfort Suites Hotel’ for your overnight accommodation.

July 31:  When appropriate take a flight from Anchorage to Kodiak.  On arrival take the free shuttle to the ‘Best Western Kodiak’ - we will try for an early check-in- for your overnight accommodation.

Aug 1:  About 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time of your fly-in bear viewing tour, you will be collected from your hotel by Kingfisher Aviation who will transfer you to the nearby Floatplane facility where you will check-in.  Weather permitting you will then be flown by floatplane to Frazer Lake in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge where giant Kodiak bears gather to feed on spawning salmon (a location in Katmai National Park on the adjacent mainland may be substituted if the salmon run has already ended on Kodiak). All viewing will be conducted on foot in the company of an experienced guide. On returning to Kodiak you will be dropped off at the Best Western Kodiak. The tour lasts about half a day in total.

Aug 2:  Around 10:30AM you will be collected from your hotel by an Andrew Airways mini-bus which will transfer you to the nearby Trident Basin Floatplane Facility.  At 11:30AM (weather permitting) you will be transferred by floatplane to Katmai Wilderness Lodge.  After settling into your cabin and enjoying lunch you will embark on your afternoon bear viewing excursion. A covered skiff will be used to access the various bays in the area where Coastal Brown Bears gather the graze on estuarine sedge grasses; or catch salmon as they enter the spawning streams.  Depending on tides and terrain, viewing will be conducted from the skiff, or the group will put ashore and view bears on foot.  Dinner and overnight accommodation back at the lodge.

Aug 3-5:  Three full days of morning and afternoon bear viewing sessions. There will be opportunities to view marine wildlife including Sea Otters, Seals, Horned Puffins, and any Whales that may be in the area. All meals and overnight accommodation at the lodge.

Aug 6:  Morning bear viewing session followed by an early lunch and a midday floatplane transfer back to Kodiak which may offer opportunities to view Fin Whales from the air. On returning to Kodiak you will be dropped off at the airport to connect with flightAA 40 to Anchorage, departs 16:56 and arrives at 17:53. On arrival a minibus will take you to the ‘Arctic Fox Inn’ for your overnight accommodation.

Aug 7:  Free day for your own activities in Anchorage.  We recommend renting a bicycle and cycling the 10 mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail from downtown Anchorage, which offers the possibility to see Beluga Whales in Cook Inlet if the tide is in, and encounter moose and other wildlife along the trail.  An alternative is to take a leisurely walk from your B&B to the Anchorage Museum and explore the wonderful ‘The First peoples of Alaska’ exhibition– which is on permanent display in this eye catching modern building.

Aug 8:  A fun day of travel starts with a very early start and short minibus bus ride down to Anchorage station to catch the ‘Coastal Classic Train’, which departs at 06:45 and arrives into Seward at 11:05. You will be met on arrival and transferred to the ‘Harbor 360 hotel’ (Harborview rooms). Your rooms may not be available on arrival, but your luggage can be stored. The main Seward harbour is just 200 metres away and it is possible to see Sea Otters from the walkways as they follow the fishing boats. Enjoy a gentle afternoon exploring Seward and photographing any resident marine wildlife.

Aug 9:  After an early breakfast you will walk 200 metres down to the harbour dock and board your private boat charter for a glacier and wildlife cruise. The trip will last around 8 hours and can be tailored to our wildlife aims; subject to seasonality and what is being seen at that time. We would hope to see Humpbacks, Orcas, Sea Otters and Horned Puffins. Lunch, snacks, bottled water, soft drinks, coffee, hot tea, and hot cocoa included. Overnight again at the Harbor 360.

Aug 10:  You will enjoy a second days private cruise – always a good idea with Alaska’s notorious weather – before being transferred back to the station to catch the return train to Anchorage, which departs 18:00 and arrives at 22:15. On arrival you will be met and transferred to the ‘Comfort Suites Hotel’ for your overnight accommodation.

Aug 11:  When appropriate you will take the free shuttle bus back to the airport to connect with your onward international flight.

Our Destinations

2020 Departures and Costs

 

DATES:   04 - 16 AUGUST 2020 

RATES:  £7295 PER PERSON 

Based on six people sharing 3 double/twin rooms throughout.  Limited single room supplement available at £950

 

INCLUDES: floatplane transfers between Kodiak and Katmai Wilderness Lodge, a fly-in bear viewing tour to Fraser Lake, return rail tickets to Seward from Anchorage*, two private small boat safaris in Seward, all photographic tuition, accommodation, activities, and meals as described.  

 

EXCLUDES: **international flights to Kodiak via Anchorage; optional extra kayaking & cycling activities; gratuities, personal insurances.

*Adventure Class travel - recommended upgrade available to GoldStar Class return  - £120pp

**Allow approximately £1200 per person for flights from the UK - we are happy to assist with booking flights and quote on request.

Please note - accommodation in this area is limited and always sells out 100%.  Early booking is therefore essential to secure your place! 

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Wildlife Trails was established in Cumbria in 1999 and is an independent travel agency specialising in responsible eco-tourism and tailor-made wildlife encounters.

Their experts have the wealth of knowledge, based on first-hand travel experience, necessary to craft this complex, multi-centre itinerary which will give us the ultimate Alaska wildlife photography experience.

Photo Credits On This Page: Trai Anfield, Allan Blanchard, Skeeze, Katmai Wilderness Lodge