Alaska - Spring in Prince William Sound

Tour Code: USA08

A 14-day wildlife holiday to Alaska, including a 7-night cruise around Prince William Sound on board the 12-berth MV Discovery, timed to coincide with the northbound migration of thousands of waders, divers and waterfowl.

14 days from £8895(inc flights) Land Only Price: £8095 SRS: £0


The sheltered waters of Alaska’s Prince William Sound are home to families of Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller's Sea Lions and playful pods of Dall Porpoises. Over 4,500 Sea Otters call the Sound home, whilst on land live Grizzly and Black Bears, Mountain Goats and Moose. In early May, huge numbers of migrating waders and waterbirds stop off here to refuel, many timing their arrival with the sudden glut of food created by the annual spawning of the herring. White-billed Divers are fairly common, Pacific Divers are numerous and large flocks of mixed scoter and Long-tailed Ducks fill the bays. Flocks of Surfbirds pick herring roe from the rocky shoreline alongside Wandering Tattlers, whilst nearly the entire world population of around three and a half million Western Sandpipers stop over to feed on the vast mudflats of the Copper River Delta! These transient migrants join, albeit briefly, an equally exciting range of breeding birds including Tufted and Horned Puffins, Kittlitz's Murrelet, Varied Thrush, White-crowned Sparrow and the rare Red-faced Cormorant ... all backed by some of the most spectacular scenery in the Americas! This unique 14-day holiday will be split into two parts. Firstly, we stay in the small coastal community of Cordova to enjoy the huge concentrations of waders that flock to the Copper River Delta in early May. We then board the MV Discovery, a comfortable 12-berth motor vessel, for a 7-night wildlife and scenery cruise around Prince William Sound.

 

Food

All included in the price except for lunches and dinners in Anchorage.

Accommodation

For this holiday we use a comfortable hotel in Anchorage for the first and last night and the Orca Adventure Lodge in Cordova. Both hotels offer rooms with private facilities. We then board the MV Discovery for a 7-night cruise. Further details of the cabins and facilities offerred by the the MV Discovery can be found in our detailed tour itinerary.

MV Discovery

MV Discovery

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Anchorage

Day 2/4 Cordova

Day 5/11 Prince William Sound cruise

Day 12 Anchorage

Day 13 Depart Anchorage

Day 14 Arrive London

A 14-day wildlife holiday to Alaska’s Prince William Sound including a 7-night cruise aboard the 10-berth MV Discovery in search of Sea Otters, Orcas, Humpback Whales, migrating birds and spectacular scenery.

Please join us in May for an unforgettable wildlife cruise around Alaska's Prince William Sound. This unique holiday will take you through one of Alaska's most beautiful landscapes ... a vast wilderness of rainforest-clad islands, tidal estuaries, towering glaciers and tranquil fjords, backed by the snow-capped mountains of the Chugach Range. The sheltered waters of Prince William Sound are home to families of Orcas, Humpback Whales and playful pods of Dall Porpoises. Over 4,500 Sea Otters call the Sound home, whilst on land live Grizzly and Black Bears, Mountain Goats and Moose. In early May, huge numbers of migrating waders and waterbirds stop off here to refuel, many timing their arrival with the sudden glut of food created by the annual spawning of the herring. Large rafts of mixed scoter and Long-tailed Ducks fill the bays, whilst Surfbirds, Black Oystercatcher and the rare Rock Sandpiper pick herring roe from the rocky shoreline. Nearby, the vast mudflats of the Copper River Delta attract nearly the entire world population of around three and a half million Western Sandpipers each spring which stop for a few days in early May on their way north to breed. These transient migrants join, albeit briefly, an equally exciting range of breeding birds including Harlequin Duck, Tufted Puffin, Marbled and Kittlitz's Murrelets and Varied Thrushes ... all backed by some of the most spectacular scenery in the Americas!
 
We start our holiday with a flight to Anchorage where we spend one night before taking the short flight to the small community of Cordova, located in the south-eastern corner of the Sound near the mouth of the Copper River. We will be based here for three nights, whilst we enjoy the birds and other wildlife of Alaska’s coastal forests and wetlands in particular focusing on the huge flocks of Western Sandpipers and other waders that gather here in the spring. Our programme for these days will be dictated by the tides. During low tide when the waders are spread out over the mudflats we will explore the patchwork of marshes, ponds and forests along the Copper River Highway in search of Bufflehead, Trumpeter Swan, Hermit Thrush and Rufous Hummingbird, plus the occasional Moose. Then, a couple of hours before high tide, we will position ourselves at one of the wader bottlenecks that dot the coastline where the birds are concentrated by the rising tide. If the tides, weather and waders all conspire in our favour, then the spectacle of tens of thousands of sandpipers wheeling over the saltmarsh – the flocks cut by the occasional Peregrine or Merlin – should be breathtaking!
 
Next we board the MV Discovery for our 7-night cruise around Prince William Sound. Guided by our captain, Dean Rand, an experienced mariner with unsurpassed knowledge of the Sound, we will explore the intricate maze of waterways, inlets and fjords in search of the region’s wildlife and scenic highlights. On clear days the calm waters act as a mirror, reflecting the forested mountains perfectly, whilst the bright sunshine illuminates precipitous rock-faces and the spray from the numerous waterfalls that cascade down their sides. If the cloud lowers then our surroundings will take on a more ethereal beauty, with lines of mist curling around the hillsides; the silence only broken by the eerie call of a Great Northern Diver or the shrill cry of a passing Bald Eagle. 
 
Although the exact route of the cruise will depend on a variety of local factors we are likely to first explore the mouth of the Prince William Sound before heading north-east into the glacial fjords that line its mountainous northern shore. The outer reaches of the Sound are a particularly good area to look for Orca, Humpback Whale and numerous seabirds such Tufted and Horned Puffins, Pigeon Guillemot and perhaps Aleutian Tern. We will also visit a couple of the nearby seabird colonies which offers the chance to enjoy Tufted Puffins on the cliffs.
 
The endearing Sea Otter will be our near constant companion throughout the voyage and both Grizzly and Black Bears are likely, along with Mountain Goat and Steller’s Sea Lion. Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe are common as are Pacific and Great Northern Divers; all in breeding plumage. White-billed Divers are also frequently seen in early May, along with migrating flocks of Red-necked Phalaropes and numerous sea-ducks. In the northern fjords, some of which are backed by spectacular glaciers – such as the Meares and Surprise Glaciers – we will look for the rare Kittlitz’s Murrelet who, unlike their commoner Marbled cousins, choose to nest in the glacial moraines rather than the forests.
 
We end our cruise in the town of Whittier where we must leave the MV Discovery and transfer back to Anchorage for a final night in Alaska before flying home.

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DeparturesAvailableCost

Fri 4th May 2018 - Thu 17th May 2018

3

£8895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £8095 More info

Room sharing options: Male sharing is available More info

Visiting: United States

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