Inside Passage Catalyst Cruise


Inside Passage Catalyst Cruise



7 months ago


7 Days




USD 4,000.00 per person


Dec 31, 2019
Inside Passage Catalyst Cruise
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The Inside Passage Catalyst cruise offers a diverse experience of Southeast Alaska aboard the intimate 12-guest Pacific Catalyst II yacht. See everything from fishing towns to wilderness solitude and islands to glacial fjords. This small ship's goal is to provide the most remote wilderness experience possible, with up-close wildlife encounters while you enjoy the amenities of your wandering home. Navigate through ice-filled fjords, visit a tidewater glacier, searching the shores for brown bears and enjoy the peaceful silence as the Catalyst stops her engines so you can watch and listen to humpback whales. Kayak up a narrow inlet that John Muir called “an ocean filled Yosemite” and follow bear trails through rich estuarial meadows.

Bear viewing at the famous Pack Creek Zoological Reserve is a goal on every departure, with select high-season dates making this excursion especially exciting. Listen for wolves, wind through icebergs, paddle beside 5,000 foot granite faces, go in search of moose, hike a glacial moraine and more. Alaska's glacial wilderness supports a diversity of wildlife as varied as the landscape. On water, there is the probability of sighting humpback whales, orcas, porpoises and stellar sea lions as well as numerous seabirds. On terra firma, look for black bears, brown bears and mountain goats.

While there is a general planned itinerary, each trip differs depending upon the time of the tidal currents, the weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities and the wishes of the guest on board. The Catalyst averages three to four hours of travel per day, allowing plenty of opportunity for exploring by foot and by kayak. The routes and anchorages are chosen to provide the best available opportunities to experience the rich and diverse environment of this temperate rainforest.

This trip was featured in National Geographic Magazine's Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime. If you want to experience remote Alaska with an intimate crew, the Inside Passage Catalyst is your small ship cruise!


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Rates vary by season and cabin starting at $4000 per person. Please see website for full details on rates.


Day 1: Embark Juneau, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska, United States
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Passengers are welcome to come on board at 12:00pm, stow your gear and get familiar with the vessel. The ship will be underway by 12:30pm, headed south down Gastineau Channel and out into Stephens Passage. After a full lunch, the crew will introduce themselves and share their roles aboard Catalyst. After cruising south for several hours, turn east and enter Endicott Arm, probably seeing the first icebergs as you cross the sometimes turbulent entrance bar into the inlet. Spend your first night anchored along the shore, not far inside the inlet. Listening for wolves howling as the long northern twilight fades from orange to purple to black, turn in, excited about the adventure ahead.


MEALS: lunch and dinner

Day 2: Dawes Glacier & Ford's Terror
Endicott Arm Fjord, Alaska, United States
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Underway in the early morning, awaken to the heartbeat rhythm of the Washington Diesel engine as the ship dodges icebergs and winds into the fjord. It is 27 miles up the Arm to the face of Dawes Glacier, where you will linger a while to witness the calving and booming of the icebergs and view harbor seals and their pups. Then make way to seldom-visited Ford’s Terror, called by John Muir “a flooded Yosemite Valley.” At Ford’s Terror, walk in Muir’s footsteps, exploring by foot and by kayak. Surrounded by 5,000 foot granite faces with mist hanging on their ridges and your vessel suspended in crystal-clear water, suspended in time… kayak through the tidal rapids (at slack water of course) and paddle into the majestic inner fjord.


MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3: Endicott Arm & Pack Creek Reserve Or Other Bear Viewing
Inside Passage, Alaska, United States
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In the morning hike the highlands of Ford’s Terror's unique glacial caused ecosystem of alpine, bog and forest and view the raging tidal rapids from above. Head out of Endicott Arm watching for bear, moose, wolves and whales. Tides permitting, stop to hike a meadow and the woods along the way. Crossing Stephen’s Passage and rounding Point Hugh, enter Seymour Canal. This 25-mile-long inlet is home to the highest concentration of bald eagles in Southeast Alaska, and its rich waters support a large population of energetic Dall’s porpoise. Today's destination is the Pack Creek Zoological Reserve, a place where for over 60 years brown bears and humans have lived in close proximity, and the bears have had generations to become accustomed to the presence of people. This is by far the best brown bear viewing opportunity in Southeast Alaska; see the Rates & Dates tab for departures marked for Pack Creek's prime high season. Arriving in the afternoon, go ashore until the rangers go off duty in the early evening. If the salmon are not running at Pack Creek, the Pacific Catalyst will venture into other locales where bear viewing should be prime.


MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4: Frederick Sound
Frederick Sound, Alaska, United States
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Head back to Stephens Passage and into Frederick Sound. Cruise toward Admiralty Island, keeping a sharp lookout for whales along the route. This is prime salmon spawning habitat, along with the brown bears that come down to the rivers this time of year to feed on them. Take an estuary paddle, allowing the tide to take you into bear territory. At low tide walk into their home, and learn about their amazing contribution to the forests of Southeast Alaska.


MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5: The Brothers Islands
Frederick Sound, Alaska, United States
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In the morning, the Catalyst is bound for The Brothers, a group of small islands positioned in the middle of Frederick Sound. Along the way, be alert for humpback or orca whale sightings. This is one of the prime summer feeding grounds for the migratory humpback and it is a rare transit to not encounter a few of these whales. The captain may shut down the engine and just drift, watching the whales feeding or breaching and listening to their songs with the hydrophone. Drop anchor in an idyllic anchorage where the sounds of breathing whales, stellar sea lions hauled out close by or the screech of an eagle comes drifting across the evening calm. Kayak around the islands and explore the open understory of the rainforest.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Catalyst MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6: Thomas Bay & Baird Glacier
Thomas Bay, Alaska, United States
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Tides being right, explore the tidal pools and then head out to view the Steller sea lion haul out. Watching for humpback whales, head south down the sound for Thomas Bay and an anchorage in Scenery Cove. From here skiff up the glacial outflow river and hike on the extensive glacial moraine that lies at the foot of Baird Glacier. Tonight is your last evening together as a group; celebrate with a slideshow of the week’s highlights.


MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7: Disembark Petersburg
Petersburg, Alaska, United States
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A few hours’ travel brings the ship to Petersburg, where it will be tied up at the dock at about 10:00am, early enough to catch the morning flight to Juneau and on to Seattle, or to get settled into your room in town so that you can explore this Scandinavian fishing village in more detail.


MEALS: breakfast


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  • Accommodations; excursions; entrance fees; leadership; crew; all meals indicated in itinerary; beer and wine aboard ship; local guides and permits, unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary.


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Itinerary Notes: Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the captain's discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

In addition to the main 7-day Inside Passage Catalyst itinerary listed above, a reverse itinerary runs northbound from Petersburg to Juneau. There are also 8- and 10-day options that explore Glacier Bay National Park, with the 8-day itinerary spending three fewer days exploring the park. See Rates & Dates tab for more information.

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