Sea kayaking and whale watching adventure
Join us for this easy but exciting kayaking and camping adventure at Point Adolphus, where underwater land formations and strong tidal currents create Alaska’s most active whale feeding area. You’ll start with a scenic cruise aboard a charter boat from Gustavus to our wilderness camp at Point Adolphus, then, after a thorough kayak lesson, test your paddling skills in the calm waters.
Days are spent kayaking and watching for orcas, sea lions, eagles, sea birds, and humpback whales (we’re one of the few companies to offer the opportunity to see whales up close!), hiking the beaches, or exploring the old-growth rainforest of Chichagof Island. At night, enjoy scrumptious sit-down dinners, then fall asleep under the canopy of the Tongass National Forest while listening to the blows of whales just offshore. A charter boat returns you to Gustavus, wrapping an incredible journey with the original Alaska Discovery company.
Note: This trip is run with use under permit by the US Forest Service and the Tongass National Forest. Mountain Travel Sobek, including its subsidiary Alaska Discovery, is an equal opportunity employer.
Easy to moderate sea kayaking, beach walks, and short hikes (no previous kayaking experience required)
- Paddle the shores of Chichagof Island, with its incredible opportunities for up-close marine mammal viewing (we're one of the few companies offering kayaking with the whales)
- Enjoy scenic roundtrip boat charters to and from Point Adolphus (with more chances to spot orcas and humpback whales!)
- Bird watching includes bald eagles, loons, and marbled murrelets
- Hikes to lush rainforests and tide pools containing abundant sea life
Duration: 3 days Start Location: Gustavus End Location: GustavusDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Point Adolphus
NOTE: You will need to arrive in Gustavus on the day prior to day one.
On day one you will meet your guides and other guests at the Alaska Discovery warehouse. You’ll then have an orientation to the trip area, learn about bear-country camping techniques, and be issued rain gear, rubber boots, and water proof bags for you to pack your personal items (extra luggage may be stored in Gustavus). If you have any packing questions, your guides will be happy to assist you.
After the meeting, we drive to the Gustavus dock and board our charter boat for the scenic cruise across Icy Strait to Point Adolphus on the north shore of Chichagof Island in the Tongass National Forest. This is an excellent time to begin looking for humpback whales. After off-loading our gear onto shore we’ll enjoy lunch, then set up camp for the next two evenings. We’ll camp both nights near Point Adolphus, sometimes within earshot of whales breathing offshore. You’ll set up your own tent (after a demonstration from the guide), and the guides will prepare all meals, but everyone is welcome to share in the tasks of wilderness living. After an introductory paddling orientation, we’ll go for an afternoon paddle. Our two-person kayaks are stable and easy to use: a foot-controlled rudder system allows the stern paddler to steer the boat in any direction, and each twosome will soon feel like old hands at this skill.
Day 2 : Chichagof Island
Kayaking the productive waters along Chichagof is one of the best ways to see and experience Alaska’s Inside Passage. We paddle along the scenic shores, watching for wildlife and exploring the area, including beachcombing along the shore or hiking in the island’s rich forests. The area is noted for its humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters, and seals, and we may also see bald eagles, loons, marbled murrelets, and other birds that are rare in many parts of the world. We’ll travel four to five miles a day in the kayaks. The pace will be leisurely, but there may be more challenging times when we will encounter winds or ocean currents.
Day 3 : Gustavus
After a hearty breakfast, we pack up camp and have the opportunity for a last paddle. After lunch, we meet the charter boat for a final cruise across Icy Strait, arriving back in Gustavus by the mid-afternoon. Once back, we can drop you off at your lodging (cost on your own), or at the Gustavus airport. We time our arrival in plenty of time for you to catch the late afternoon/evening Alaska Airlines flight departing daily from Gustavus to Juneau, or you may use a local air taxi to fly to Juneau or elsewhere in Southeast Alaska. The flight from Gustavus to Juneau is about a half hour, and lands at Juneau’s main airport where you can connect with your homeward-bound flight.
DATES: Best time to go: June - August Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Wade Panzich, Alaska Discovery Kayak and River Guide: Wade has lived in Alaska for 7 years, 4 of these working for Alaska Discovery. During the fall, Wade travels the globe searching for the perfect wave. Winters are spent teaching snowboarding in Alaska. Spring and summer finds Wade kayaking and rafting beautiful southeast AK. He has also spent time on the water in the western U.S., Central and South America. All seasons he is an avid backpacker and an aspiring mountain man. Wade’s got some good stories to tell, from hitchhiking across the country to tropical subsistence living, a trip with him will never be dull.
Shelli Ogilvy, Alaska Discovery Kayak Guide: Shelli was born and raised in Alaska. She grew up in Gustavus with Glacier Bay as her backyard. She has been guiding for Alaska Discovery as a wilderness leader since 1997. She has a deep love for this place and ecosystem, finding peace and joy through sharing the experience of the wilderness. When not guiding, Shelli tries to find time to paint and work on her cabin. She currently spends her winters in New Mexico skiing and eating green chilies.
Tom Schwartz started guiding canoe, skiing and sea kayak trips in Southeast Alaska in 1997 with a non-profit organization for youth in Juneau. He joined the Alaska Discovery team in 2003 guiding trips to Berner's Bay, Pack Creek and Glacier Bay. His experience as a fine dining chef has inspired him to create excellent food in amazing places. Keep an eye out for a wilderness cookbook!
Keith Thompson, Alaska Discovery Kayak Guide: Originally from Pennsylvania, Keith left a job in medical research to pursue his love for travel and the outdoors. He's been involved in a rock and ice climbing business, worked as a bike guide, and traveled extensively throughout North and Central America, and Southeast Asia. In 1999, his travels led him to Alaska where he fell in love with his surroundings. Keith writes, "I found the pristine Alaskan wilderness an inspiration and guiding a way of sharing and learning about this special place." (Bonus: Keith is also a massage therapist.)
Jeff Sloss, Alaska Discovery Kayak, Canoe, & River Guide: Jeff has been a lead guide for Alaska Discovery for over 20 years. He has helped set the high standards of quality and commitment that makes us a great company. Whenever we think of exploring a new area we turn to Jeff to make it happen. In the winter, Jeff teaches skiing and snowboarding in Juneau, works on film projects, and helps raise his two daughters. Jeff is an active conservationist and has lobbied Congress to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Jeff carries a deep love for Alaska onto all of his trips. Jeff writes, "Among the high points of this career are experiencing some of the world's finest places, and meeting new people as well as enjoying the company of returning guests that share an appreciation of this Great Land."
Born and raised in coastal Alaska, Solan works as a kayak guide, a kayak ranger, a boat builder, and a marine mammal emergency responder. He received a degree in Philosophy which led him directly to a career working outdoors in the cold regions of the earth. As a kayak guide he divides his time between Antarctica and Alaska. A highlight of his career, Solan was the co-leader of one of the first commercially guided overnight sea kayak expeditions in Antarctica. In his spare time Solan is a collector of bones, books, and vinyl records. He co-directs a small film production company and is a tireless student of the banjo.